Insomniac thinks big as Resistance 2 returns exclusively on the Playstation 3. Big, might be understatement as Resistance 2 supports an uncanny amount of players online along with towering enemies that stand over a hundred feet tall. I think the better word for Resistance 2 would be MASSIVE. Resistance 2 is simply massive.
Nathan Hale takes another run at defeating the Chrimera Invasion in humankinds last stance against the alien menace. Shifting gears from Europe, the war has invaded the shores of the United States. Hale must also battle the Chrimera virus that has made itself at home merging with his own genetic structure. It’s now or nothing as Nathan must take down the raging Chrimera before he turns into the very thing he is trying to destroy. Resistance 2 marks the return of the Playstation 3’s premier shooter.
Resistance 2 is old school... blasphemous!
Resistance 2 wants to be the trend setting epic masterpiece shooter of the year. This is immediate shouted out as you start you campaign looking at a giant sized robot that could easily topple any building. The wide open battlefield vistas are amazing and the action has you poised for some fast and furious gunplay. This all looks good displayed on a large HD display, but that doesn't mean Resistance 2 hits an automatic home run. Resistance 2 has a small problem and that is it feels like you’re are being led through the story like a child. Resistance 2 has a linear style that has more in common with an old school shooter than any of the updated tweaks that have been happening in the industry of late. Depending on your love for the old school my words might be blasphemous, however Resistance 2 is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
During my game I totally understood the mood and direction Insomniac was going with the Chimera pulling out all the stops in a war that seems to the hopeless state, unless, by some miracle the human race (insert Nathan Hale) can stop the war machine before the world is nothing more than an infected wasteland. The problem isn't the story because its good enough to be a nail-biting narrative to push a game; Resistance 2 doesn’t seem too believable. The connection between the world, the weapons, the monsters, and the humans all seem a little too prepared and fake. Escorting people, or working with a team seems like an exercise to see the NPCs routes and not to work with them through a situation. Plus when you can kill a giant tentacle sea monster (Kraken) and not a little fish (Furies) it shatters aura of realism Insomniac is trying to portray. Compared to the first Resistance, Resistance 2 has lost some of its alluring mojo.
Size Doesn't Matter?
The original concept of Resistance was unique for the time. The creative “ratchet-esq” weapons thrown into a FPS along with a cool new plot line and setting of Europe in a middle of war with an alien race. Science meets science fiction as the technology of the two separate species made for an interesting home in the battlefield. This is a brilliant concept and should have been pure gaming gold. Resistance 2 has all those same elements, but it seems a little out of place. Like the war advanced too fast become impersonal and oversized for its own good. I say bring on the large battlefields, but make them mean something. Give us something to fight and let us act on our own. Somehow this doesn't happen and Insomniac treats the gamer like they are in preschool.
This is the duality Resistance 2 lives in. It wants to be something that it can’t be. One source of the problem is the dated gameplay mechanic that we have seen a hundred times before. Take the fancy weapons out of Resistance and what do you have? Not a hell of a lot. I almost done want to say it, but in a way I was reminded of Spark Unlimited Turning Point meets Serious Sam. A great concept merged with some excellent ideas that never seemed to come to life due to its horrible gameplay routines and subpar production. Resistance 2 is more of game than Turning Point, however I think they have more in common than anyone would like to see. I love the PS3 and Insomniac as much as the next Fanboy, but Resistance 2 leaves me feeling let down and defeated.
A Firecracker is waiting to explode
Instead of turning this review into some sort of negative rant about Resistance 2, I will turn you attention to some of the positives. Even though I’m not a big fan of the stale direction of the campaign mode, a firecracker is waiting to explode. This firecracker is the online side of Resistance 2. Like the monster-sized Chrimera the sixty player online mode and eight player co-op has a lot of value. Loaded full of bang-bang powder you will be able to log online and get rolling within seconds. I have heard about some gamers having problems hooking up for online match, however in our experiences here at Extreme Gamer everything has been peaches and cream.
The co-operative mode supplied in Resistance 2 feels more in touch than the NPCs that hold your hand in the campaign mode. Online in co-op you can take 8 of your friends and see Resistance 2 from another perspective. The co-op focuses on the Specters which is a group separate from Nathan Hale’s Sentinels in the campaign. The Specters have their own objectives and side plot that shows that Insomniac has put a lot of thought into the world of Resistance and the events that are shaping the ongoing war.
In the co-op space you can choose between three classes that all have distinct properties. Don’t worry too much about picking the right class in the beginning because you can switch it up during the game. The classes start with the Soldier who packs more health than the other characters and is used to most of the infiltrating actions. Next is the Special Ops who bonus abilities are in their marksmanship to take out enemies from a distance and to deploy ammunition for your team mates. Coming in last, but not least is the Medics. The medics vampishly can take health from the enemy and use it to heal your team and even more important is the ability to resuscitate fallen team mates in battle. Using a versatile team is the way Insomniac developed the co-op to work. If you want to jump into a game check and see what part of the puzzle is missing and contribute. Its obvious Insomniac wanted to go above expectations with the development an in-depth co-op mode. Although, it is a little strange that they excluded any cooperative gameplay from the standard campaign and chose to do a stand alone section of the plot in this manner.
Did you just say 60?
The multiplayer doesn’t stop with the co-op missions as Resistance 2 has a full on “normal” multiplayer competitive mode. All the time-honoured multiplayer modes are supported along with Resistance 2’s vision of epic. Beyond the standard Deathmatch (Solo/Team) and Core Control (CTF) the Skirmish mode is a huge objective based game that can support up-to 60 players. Yes, 60 players online. The way insomniac handled this large group of players is by splitting up the players into teams that have objectives to accomplish which feels similar to the co-op mode. Each team can have five members with a limit of six squads to handle an objective, and as the time ticks away in the game the players are conducted towards a central area where the madness is unleashed. Unleashed in the large battles creates the most electrifying moments you will have in in Resistance 2, and thanks to the optimization of the graphics the frame-rate doesn’t budge. Combining the online 8 player co-op with the potential of 60 player skirmish matches makes Resistance 2 one the year’s most valuable multiplayer games that every shooter fan should investigate.
Performance is not a problem
The graphics can hold a steady frame-rate which is showcased in the multiplayer mode. The frame-rate is the high spot of the graphic performance which is no small feat. The rest of the graphical production in Resistance 2 seems to slide downhill starting on the top with the great scale created in the game with relation to the open world snip its you get to view and the huge enemies you’ll fight against. Resistance 2 has its moments, but they are always over to fast, or loose their impact quickly. Seeing a massive create coming at you only to be easily defeated and abnormally blow up isn’t too exciting. The slide hits when you start too look the finer details of the game which make the graphics look dated with a lot of low resolution textures and lack of detail. Resistance 2 can be bland which is amplified indoors with dull corridors and flat objects in the game space. There are also a few small clipping issues that I haven’t seen in a game since the original Half-Life. It’s understandable that not everything could be heavily developed, however the off-and-on performance of the graphics leaves you wishing for more.
Resistance 2 fights against its ultimately failing single player campaign to remain a viable purchase for gamers looking for a quality shooter. Resistance 2's fantastic frag-fantastic online modes, extra co-op mode really help pull the generic oversized story out of the gutter. It seems like Insomniac is overcompensating for something... you don’t need huge monsters to make a game feel epic, or larger than life. Sure, Resistance 2 can be a little shallow, but it has enough memorable moments to make it worth a look. If you’re not looking to go online, I say rent this one first and see what Nathan Hale can do for your trigger finger. On the other side, if Warhawk and Socom don’t have you hooked online and you want a fast paced online shooter with a lot of old school flavour, Resistance 2 is one the top of the charts.