Resistance 2 Review 09/03/2009


It is brilliant, but different from the first one.

First of all (encase you have no intention of reading my two cense) Resistance 2 is an absolute blinder. All PS3 owners should purchase and thank Sony that they have secured another exclusive franchise that makes you want to own a PS3. For those who want to know why, please let me explain. The first Resistance: Fall of Man was the first game I ever played on the PS3 and I really liked it. The story and depth where really interesting, the graphics where (at the time) spectacular and although it was a pretty standard FPS it had plenty of action, crazy guns and intrigue to keep me interested for months. I have, as a result, been long awaiting the sequel and Insomniac have not let me down, or any fan of the franchise either. However, it is not your typical bog standard first person shooter anymore as it has been tuned, tweaked and harnessed to become a very different game, so be warned. Although it is bigger and better, it is definitely not overly familiar territory for fans of the first game. The game starts off exactly where the first one left off (play it to find out the details. It’s worth it I assure you). Nathan Hale is taken back to America, after a brief struggle in Iceland, and 2 years later he is now a member of the “Sentinels”, a squad of super soldier commandos who share similar Chimeran infections to Hale and are almost as tough and fast as he is. The Chimera where believed to be defeated, however vast space ships, the size of cities, arrive on the shores of the United States and start attacking forcing Hale, the Sentinels and the US army in general into battle on their home soil. Although you are led to believe the Chimera are simply on a mission to take over planet Earth, assaulting Europe in the first game and now invading the US, but, as you find out, their plans are far more devious and secretive.


What’s good?

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The first thing you really notice is that Insomniac has worked wonders with the visuals and representation of this game. I know its cliche and shallow to go on about graphics as the best thing, but some of the scenes and battles in this game will absolutely stupefy you. They are incredible! In particular they have worked on the “big stuff”. You have to fight beasts and war ships larger than the biggest sky scrapers and they have not missed the slightest detail or imperfection on any of them. Every gun, every Chimeran enemy, every tree, everything is absolutely beautifully simulated, including character animations, explosions, bullets, like I said, everything. It is achingly good looking and easily one of the best looking games I have ever seen. No matter how vast the monster your fighting or how many troops are on the battlefield, firing an untold amount of firepower, it wont ever falter. This game has to be seen to take in all its visual brilliance.



The action and battles are epic in size and intensity. Although the first game was very much a fairly solo effort from Hale this time he has an army backing him up. The game does vary in its action, but some of the battles in this are so vast you have to ponder that Insomniac used witch craft and magic to cram so many friendly and enemy AI into one game. The battle in Chicago is a particular highlight with at least a good 50 troops per side going at it, with tanks and stalkers in the background, as well as U.S fighter jets making bombing runs overhead. It’s so intense with literally thousands of bullets flying in every direction and if you blink or sneeze you are dead. The battle fields are vast places with more enemies than you can handle individually. Every city and town shows how badly humanity has taken a battering and enemies’ spring from everywhere. The intensity does raise the bar of difficulty, and where the first one was fairly easy this sequel is going to test you and you are going to die a hell of a lot – be warned.



Insomniac’s mad weapons are back. If you loved the hugely unique and variable weaponry from the first game it’s just as good and better in ways here. Old favourites such as the Bulls eye, Carbine and Far eye are back but all have been revamped and upgraded to become more efficient killing machines. The Auger II for example, now allows you to see all enemies in bright green whether they are behind a wall or not. This of course is perfect as this particular weapon can shoot through anything. It’s such a simple yet brilliant touch. There are also new ones, such as a medium range sniper rifle (Marksmen) that fires off several shots at once and is excellent for close quarters sniping. The Bellock, which is basically a grenade launcher, the Splicer, which fires saw blades for lots of limb amputating fun and the pulse cannon, which fires a large concentrated beam of energy good for taking down the larger beasts. My favourite though is the manic mini gun (Wraith) which holds 300 rounds and is perfect for gunning down hoards of troops, possibly the most fun thing you can do in any game. The Bulls eye II is now available much earlier on and is often carried by regular Chimeran ground troops/hybrids. Plus all guns dropped by fallen chimera can be picked up and changed whenever you want so their use and frequency is fairly limitless. If you like fire power then you will love this game.



The Chimera are back and packing WAY more heat than ever. The previous Resistance game didn’t stray too far from standard troops/hybrids. There was the odd big lad to take down but it was generally gunning down the same Chimeran hybrid after another. Now they have new, bigger and more heavily armed troops. They also have robotic help as well, through the incredibly frustrating turrets and little hovering drones and attack droids (God I hate them!!!). The new Chameleon Chimeran hybrid is going to be a shock to the system when you first encounter it, as it is invisible (like the “Predator”), very fast and armed with long sharp knives on his fingers. You will need the fastest reactions with this guy, as all you here is the ground shake then a roar and your sliced in two. Another new enemy that stood out were the Grim’s. These guys are a result of the new Chimeran conversion process (they look like the zombies from the “I am Legend” film). They look very creepy and will swarm at you very quickly, in vast numbers and without warning. There is a scene in a cinema, for example, that is haunting to say the least. Again, many wits about you are needed. The real highlights are the big bosses of course which include the ridiculously large “Kraken”, which is about the size of a house, and the “Leviathan”, that is the size of a sky scraper, literally. They are awesome to behold and fight but are a bit of a let down, but more on that in a bit. The Chimera have upgraded a lot since the first game but luckily your not facing them alone this time. Hale now fights with the Sentinels, as I said, and you regularly take on the enemy with these guys by your side and they are more than capable of taking down many foes without your help. Most missions cannot be done without these guys, and unlike a lot of AI help in games these days, they genuinely help you.



The story/Resistance universe is now even more intriguing. Although there are downsides to the main campaign of the game (which I will get on too) it is quite an incredible story which has become a lot darker and creepier, with new plot twists that will boggle the mind. Anything you thought was explained about the Chimera is now obsolete as they are far more advanced and devious than you could have possibly hypothesized in the first game, and if you liked the intrigue of the first game, its ten fold here. It’s hard to talk about without giving stuff away, and I really don’t want to give anything way as its vital you know as little as possible. It is now also told from Nathan Hale’s perspective, rather than the external source from the first one, so you will get a handle of Hale’s opinion on things and you will feel more in touch with the character in which you play. Some aspects it loses as a result of this but I imagine a lot of fans will much prefer it this way. Either way it’s not a bad thing.


What’s bad?

The most disappointing thing I found was that manoeuvrability is too slow in this sequel. In the first game dodging and jinking was a very necessary part of combat, as it would be in any proper FPS, as you have to dodge incoming enemy fire. It’s either that or have a cover system, such as the one found in Killzone 2, which it does not have. But Hale is now really quite slow, which is definitely more realistic, but the game still plays like a proper FPS, like the first game, where dodging and jinking through enemy fire is still necessary. However, Hale has now lost all of such movement, so basic side to side movement is ridiculously slow. This makes taking cover and fighting a beast such as a Titan stupidly difficult. The titan fires large fireballs at you, and if they hit vaguely in your vicinity you are killed instantly. As Hale is now so slow this becomes an incredibly frustrating process and you are constantly running for cover or hiding behind things. As there is no cover system you sort of have to run out, fire, then scamper back behind something or continuously run and shoot. It just does not work particularly well and it really needs a cover system, or have more old school gameplay as in the first one. I know this is more like a real battle, but I don’t care. That doesn’t make it more fun. Insomniac is clearly trying to heighten the concept but it was simply not necessary and movement feels more like a burden, clumsy and slow, when compared with the first game. You will get used to it but it will feel weird initially.



You are now limited to just two weapons. Yes. That’s it – 2. Instead of having all the wonderful weaponry at your disposal as in the first game Hale can now only have two at any time. This basically brings you to having only one option of a standard rifle and a sniper rifle or shot gun. It annoys me that Insomniac is arguably the kings of weaponry, and they limit you to when and where you can use them. They also conveniently place a gun that you are going to need before you enter a particular battlefield. I find that condescending and I would rather have my pick of the weapons and figure it out for myself. You basically can’t hold on to a favourite gun and then get told when to use a particular weapon. Bad form Insomniac, we can figure these things out for ourselves.



The Chimera really really don’t like you. Despite the epic battles with many troops on both sides going at it, there are points where every single Chimeran enemy on the battlefield will stand up and aim straight for you. It doesn’t matter how many other soldiers are firing at them they will run straight at you and won’t be satisfied until your dead and to hell with the hundreds of other troops firing at them. It actually borders on the ridiculous at times as a horde of Chimera will run out of a building and go straight for you, despite many of your pals blasting the crap out of them. You can run away from them all the way back to the beginning of the stage and they will follow. Why did Insomniac put so much emphasis on Hale being the target? The sheer amount of troops on each side may make it too easy to sit back and let your mates take the fire, but they will never progress anywhere unless you make it do, so I can’t see much justification for it. It is very hard, very stupid and very annoying.



There are no vehicles in this one. I thought that driving the tank and jeep in the first game were the more fun aspects of the game, but there is nothing like it in Resistance 2. Neither the enemy nor your friends use them at all. The only vehicles you get in are in the cinematic cut scenes, which you can’t control. I’m curious as to why they left this one out, but maybe my love of the vehicle aspect of it is in a minority.



The large enemies are far too easy to kill. Despite the spectacular visual thrill of fighting some of the larger beasts they die so easily it’s almost disappointing. In particular the “Leviathan” that you fight in Chicago, the biggest and baddest of them all, goes down after a few well placed LARK rocket shots. Considering this big fella could easily squash you with a little finger your left with a very big feeling of anticlimax. If he goes down that easily why didn’t the air force just take it out with missiles? The final boss, a huge floating brain, is strangely the easiest enemy you fight in the game. It really doesn’t do much except feebly try and slap you with its tentacles and float around after you. It uses its telekinesis to take control of you and throw bits of metal at you as well, but both attacks are woefully crap and easy to avoid. I was not impressed.



The campaign is too short. On my first attempt it didn’t take me any longer than a day to complete and I died lots of times as well. You can go straight through it in around 9 hours, which sounds like a long time but it really isn’t if you think about it (Insomniac spent too much time on the online stuff if you ask me). I know it is supposed to leave you wanting more (which it does) and I know the online stuff is immense, but upon completion you are left feeling a little undernourished. You will definitely have several goes on each difficulty, and it does get more fun when you work out what to do and with what guns, but it does leave you feeling very hollow.



The story is left too wide open at the end. I like a game with a brilliant story line, I like plot twists, I like open endings and I even like not really fully understanding what’s just happened, as it adds to mystery and intrigue. This story however, is left so ridiculously wide open with so many unanswered questions and much confusion you don’t feel like you have achieved anything. Obviously I can’t wait until the third one now, but some sort of indicator or direction would have been nice. Prepare to be baffled is all I say.



This might be personal preference, but I didn’t like the story being told from Hales perspective. He’s a man of few words and there is now no inner monologue. You don’t know what he’s doing, planning or thinking until you do it or it happens, and despite the attempts to make you feel more attached, it actually feels more detached as you never really know what’s going on. It definitely misses the external source story telling from the first one, and the curious mystery surrounding Hale is completely lost.



The final “nit-pick” is there is no way in hell this game feels like it’s based in the 1950’s. I thought it was a brilliant atmospheric touch in the first one, but this feels far too modern and technologically advanced. Apart from the odd vehicle (tail finned Cadillac’s etc) or radio transmission the retro feel of the game has completely gone.


Conclusion:

If you have a PS3 you would be a fool not to pick this one up. It is like playing a big budget sci-fi movie. I highly recommend you play the first one before Resistance 2, as the story will make absolutely no sense whatsoever, but it is easily worth your cash. I don’t like some of the changes such as the weapon limiting, slow movement and daft enemy AI, but they have upgraded the franchise in other areas to make it a whole lot more. It is definitely not perfect, but the flaws I pointed out really are “nit-picking” as it is an outstanding all round package. From visuals that will take your breath away, to the intense and epic battles, to the new meaner Chimera, this is simply bigger and better. The main story will leave you with many unanswered questions by the end, which I’m not convinced by, however if you totally “get” the whole Resistance franchise and the Chimera story then you will be chewing through many finger nails until Resistance 3. If you have never heard of this game, trust me on this, you will be very impressed and it is definitely one of the best shooter/action games out on the PS3. CA.


Summary:


Is it user-friendly/easy to get into? – 9.0

Everything is logically presented and easy to use. Easy to simply pick and start blasting, whether online or doing a campaign.


Is the story any good? – 8.0

The story is dark, complex and intriguing, but you will be left unnourished by its many unanswered questions.


How does it look? – 9.5

There are a few small parts where detail is a bit rough, dripping water for example, but generally the visuals in this game will blow your mind! Some of the best I have ever seen.


How does it sound? – 9.5

Outstanding. Guns all sound good and all voices and dialogue are well produced, the radio transmissions in particular adding to the intensity. Atmospheric orchestral back ground music also adds to the whole experience.


Is it good to play? – 8.0

It’s intense, vast and action packed, if slightly linear. Bullets flying everywhere and explosions a plenty. Movement does feel very slow and cumbersome and it’s much harder than you may be expecting.


When will I get bored? – 8.0

The online appeal of this game is its saving grace for lasting appeal, with huge amounts of players per team battle, co-op team stories etc. The single player campaign is very short though.


OVERALL – 8.5

Review created by C. Armstrong.

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