Resistance 2

Resistance 2 has the unfortunate burden of being many people's most anticipated game for 2008. It has been pitched as PS3's answer to Gears of War 2 (though PS3 really doesn't have much to prove in the games department these days) and hyped continually by Sony themselves, who were clearly pinning their hopes on this being a massive Christmas hit. The end result is a game that takes the low-budget setting of the original Resistance, injects colour, vibrance, new features and things so big that shaking a stick at them would make you look like a fly with a big splinter, and somehow manages to make it worse than the original.

Resistance 2

Starting with the story mode, a single-player campaign that will likely take around 10 hours to complete, the usual elements are there (various difficulty settings, intel to collect and lots of Chimera to shoot), but it's already the start of numerous problems. The first, and most insulting thing that Resistance 2 does is make itself Call of Duty 5: Fall of Man. It's abundantly clear that the developers have played Call of Duty 4, heard a great deal of positive feedback and, rather than sticking to their guns (well, okay, they've stuck to their guns, more on that later, but they've changed their ideas), they've extracted several features from Call of Duty 4 and incorporated them into Resistance.

There are several reasons that this is a problem. Firstly, it'd be pretty boring if all games were the same but, that aside, the main criticism I have is that they seem to have plucked out the more annoying features. Instead of a nice healthbar, there is simply that annoying red screen of "ooh err, I think I might be hurt". Now, it's true that you don't have a healthbar in real life, but you're going to have a much better idea of what's going on than simply a faint red sense appearing around your eyes. This poor feature makes it very hard to judge when you can risk taking another shot, and forces you to stick to cover and wait until your health recovers. It's a boring change and one that severely hampers the rapid gameplay that made Resistance so good.

Still, that criticism aside, the story that you are immersed in is actually pretty spectacular. If you thought the Titans and Goliaths were big in the original, wait until you see some of the huge monstrosities that feature in this game. There are a huge number of different things to shoot and, happily, a few extra people shooting with you. Hale is no longer on his own (or accompanied only by the last few survivors of the British resistance). Instead, Hale is part of a team, featuring many soldiers that suffer his similar Chimeran characteristics (regenerating health, for example), that are fighting the last resistance against the Chimera in the United States. The potential here for incredible story telling is mind-boggling, but instead, a run-of-the-mill plot is churned out, allowing you to plod along with the various characters getting gradually more and more bored.

Resistance 2

The story may be helped by extra voicework, but the fact that Hale now speaks so often seems a total reversal of his personality in the original and feels entirely out of place. We're now subjected to the usual soldier banter and simple tactics that are featured in every other FPS game on the planet. Ever. Sadly, the problems don't stop there. If you're planning on thinking outside the box a little and trying new routes, don't expect to go far. There's a lot less intel to collect and, if you walk away from the prescribed path, you can soon expect to wander into some water and get instantly eaten by the Furies, an aquatic variant of the Chimeran species, designed only to provide a barrier between you and freedom. It was cute in Ratchet and Clank, but in this environment it simply screams LINEAR!

To complete an all-round backstep in campaign creation, there are several glitches in the game, including cars that blow up and then get confused about what sound effect they should be making, instead emitting the same crash sound for about five minutes (long after you've walked off, you can still hear the effect as if it were too feet away). There are numerous other flaws, often featuring the main character disappear through a gap and floating through space as the level spirals away. In truth, they're avoidable if you stick to the linear path set for you by Insomniac, but if you go even within a meter of the edge, expect to see something strange.

The mystery is, then, why is Resistance 2 still so good? To be honest, the annoyances in the story make it less impressive than the original and, due to the amount of hype, it's easy to feel let down, but it's still a solid game with excellent shooting mechanics (some brilliant weapons return, including the Bullseye, Fareye, Auger and hedgehog grenades, and are complemented by some new weapons that have evolved during the course of the Chimeran war, including a few that are clearly borrowed from the Ratchet and Clank universe), a reasonable challenge, plenty of interesting and varied enemies and an intersting story. It has all the boxes ticked (except maybe testing for bugs), and is deserving of a reasonable score. However, the thing that pulls the game properly from the floor is the online play.

Resistance 2

The competitive modes in Resistance 2 are largely a re-hash of the originals, but with Call of Duty 4 inspiration (of course). This makes them slightly disappointing. For example, where the original Resistance suffered from the fact that, on many occasions, an experienced player would meet a relative "noob", leading to total carnage that may discourage the newer player completely (particularly when the slightly more sad and desperate veterans would resort to spawn killing and other dirty tactics to pad their statistics), Resistance 2 makes this all worse by copying Call of Duty 4 and introducing a perk system. The more you play, the more you get better, naturally, but now you also get better armour, ammo, weapons and other upgrades that will make the game truly unfriendly to new players. However, this major obstacle aside, there is a lot of potential in the competitive mode, thanks to a decent selection of modes and solid mechanices from the solo game. The real saviour of Resistance 2 though, is the cooperative mode.

Cooperative play has been given a great deal of attention by Insomniac and it's a great new addition. As with all things in Resistance 2, there is a downside: the solo campaign is literally that, with no ability to even play split-screen cooperative (like in the original), but this aside, the cooperative play is very good, thanks to the introduction of a series of side stories, featuring teams of players taking on missions against the Chimera. You select from one of three classes (soldier, medic or special ops) and play in teams of up to eight, fighting through waves of Chimera as you seek out enemy secrets, installations and other intel critical to the salvation of mankind. The balance of the three classes is impressive: a soldier is powerful and strong, but will require medical attention and ammunition (supplied by special ops players); a medic benefits by healing others, but will need the protection of heavy soldiers and special ops; and special ops players benefit from supplying ammunition to others, but need the protection a soldier offers and the first aid available from the medic.

Resistance 2

Spending time completing everything in the cooperative mode (for example, achieving the maximum rank in a particular class, which unlocks one of the many trophies available in Resistance 2), completing the solo campaign and achieving the various targets in the competitive mode could take a significant amount of time and, if you give the game a chance, it's worth it. The bugs and glitches are annoying and the strong influence of Call of Duty 4 is particularly annoying, especially for those of us that preferred the original Resistance to COD4, but they are mostly overshadowed by moments of excellence in Resistance 2. As a result, I recommend the game, but it is not the instant classic many of us had hoped it would be.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Sony

Developer:

Insomniac Games

Players:

1-2

Online:

2-60

Release:

2008-11-28

Trophies:

39

Review summary

Gameplay:

Great multiplayer, but a step back in the solo game

Graphics:

Beautiful, but filled with glitches

Sound:

Very atmospheric, but Hale has a voice

Lastability:

Literally tonnes to do in multiplayer

8.7

Supernova

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