Yet another entry from the school project. I don't know how many more academic transferences I'll be able to do in the future, but hopefully there will be some down the line. I hope this one is up to par with my last one; something about it just didn't feel right when I wrote it.
What can be said about Insomniacís first title, Resistance: Fall of Man is that it was a solid release title with an intriguing story and some innovative weapons, but looked and felt like a last-gen title for the most part. Despite its slight flaws, Resistance was the game that got most PS3 owners to buy their systems on day one. Since their announcement less than a year ago, Insomniac has really made it their mission to improve upon that base with Resistance 2. With talks of an improved story, campaign, co-op and multiplayer modes, does Resistance 2 weigh in as the superior installment in the science fiction series?
To find the answer, letís start at the gameís story. Set in the early 1950s, Resistance 2 takes place directly after the events of the first, Sergeant Nathan Hale having destroyed a massive Chimeran stronghold in London. As he trudges through a snow-covered region, Hale is taken in by a group called The Sentinels. The group monitored Haleís action throughout his campaign in Europe because of his immunity to the Chimeran virus. After the introduction of Daedalus, a horribly deformed Chimeran/human hybrid, the main story continues two years later. Hale is now back in the United States with a squad of Sentinels, and heís ready to defend the U.S. from further attacks by Chimeran forces. The story proceeds fluently with each chapter as Hale makes his way around the U.S. to counteract Daedalusí efforts to destroy what remains of the human race. One device that is used well in the gameís narrative is the voice of Henry Stillman of Radio USA, Philadelphia. The player can hear several broadcasts from him throughout the game that tell the side of the American citizen during this invasion. It puts the whole thing into a different perspective as it moves away from the super soldier that must fight and starts focusing on the man who is trying to run from the Chimeran invasion. What I like about Resistance 2ís plot is that it gives the player a good idea of what is going on until it presents another question. This keeps the mystery of the Chimera but still lets the player establish his own theories on whatís going on. The game gives you Intel to work off of, much like the first game, that allows you to fill in some of the blanks as you go. There is a good aspect and a bad aspect of the gameís ending. The good aspect is that the story blatantly opens up for yet another sequel and makes you feel that the conflict at hand is bigger than you thought. The bad aspect is that the ending itself is highly disappointing in that itís quite quick and not incredibly suspenseful.
Haleís squad members are given backgrounds and personality to them, but only one of those members is really the focal point in development. Itís a little disappointing and some of the characters still seem tacked on, but it is a nice change from the seemingly one-faced army that was in the first game. The squad is actually given speaking parts that really matter to the advancement of the story. Daedalus is a very significant character because he as presented as the main antagonist Ė something that Resistance did not have in the form of an individual. Resistance 2ís plot is a much more intriguing and comprehensive experience with more personable characters contained within it, though it still is a bit simple at its core.
The graphics are good and certainly better than that of the first installment; although theyíre also certainly not the best Iíve seen in a game. Humans look human and animations are pretty fluid. The Chimera look very intimidating and the bosses have a good level of detail. Itís better that they do have such detail, because several of the bosses in Resistance 2 are quite enormous. Itís amazing what theyíve done with some of the Chimera because it really gives a contrast between 1950s America and the advanced technologies mixed with beast-like qualities that the Chimera have. What I think Insomniac does best is in the horizons of the game. Youíll be controlling Hale after a battle and youíll see the ongoing struggle occurring off in the distance. There are huge Chimeran battleships and fighters looming over cities, firing cannons into the middle of a flaming metropolis. It really shows the scale of the of the war going on between these two races, no matter how one-sided it may seem.
The sounds of the game are nice to the point where they serve their purposes. The various weapons have their own authentic sounds. Human weapons sound gritty and explosive while Chimeran weapons sound streamlined and laser-like. Voice acting is good and is utilized very frequently throughout the game. The high point is in the Chimeran roars and grunts. They sound aggressive and extraterrestrial, just as they should. The musical score is also pretty enjoyable because of its Hollywood-esque orchestral style. Everything together builds every mood in the game well enough to make the player feel like a part of it.
The single player campaign is linear, but it brings what would normally be a part of the background into the foreground. Ever wanted to be in a no holds bar skirmish against a massive Chimeran force? Insomniac has managed to put a ridiculous amount of enemies on screen amount without any trace of slowdowns. This polish in performance really helps keep you focused in your current battle, and believe me when I tell you, you will need that focus. Resistance 2ís AI is no pushover. You will likely lose a firefight numerous times until you get it right. The game requires that you make correct use of cover and other strategies in order to win. In addition, some enemies are very hard to take down, and youíll really only be able to defeat them if you have the right weapon.
Every weapon now has a secondary function, the most notable of those weapons being the magnum. It fires glycerin rounds that you can set to detonate on command. Insomniac has been known to create the most innovative weapons in a first-person shooter, and theyíve done it again. Some old favorites like the Bullseye and the Auger make a return, but new additions like the Marksman (Resistance 2ís version of Haloís Battle Rifle) and the V7 Splicer bring a whole new level to combat. The tactical uses for weapons are numerous, especially in the gameís cooperative campaign.
The cooperative campaign is a standalone campaign that gives a bit of a side story to Haleís endeavors. Players have three classes to choose from: Soldier, Spec Ops, and Medic. Soldier is used for frontline combat and protecting other members of the team, Spec Ops is for longer distance confrontation and for supplying ammo to others, and Medic is, of course, expected to heal team members while draining enemies. Itís not an extensive class system, but it balances well for a co-op setting and really makes the experience that much more fun. The story goes on for quite a while since it has 50 briefings to go along with it, so parties with friends could go on for quite a while. Working together is essential to complete your objectives in this mode, as each class relies on the other.
Competitive multiplayer is a slightly different story. You will find the standard game modes like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag (or core control as itís called) to whet your appetite for traditional FPS action. One mode is set apart from the rest and that mode is Skirmish. Skirmish can pit up to 60 players at one time in completing various objectives in divided squads. The game starts in smaller battles, but as the match progresses the squads begin to converge on a central objective. Itís a very different way of going about multiplayer gameplay and it works very well. As matches progress, players earn experience based on their actions. This experience is put towards a level or rank that unlocks clothing and weapons for use by your character. Experience also charges a meter during a match that, when filled, allows your character to use a berserk. Berserks give your character or team an edge over the competition in some way. This again puts an emphasis on strategy and teamwork in what can be a very hectic match. Resistance 2ís competitive aspect is executed quite well in that it refines elements of the FPS in its multiplayer, which wasnít exactly Resistance: Fall of Manís strong point.
Resistance 2 is a great addition to its series and the PS3 library. Insomniac has kept their word in providing a stronger, bigger, refined, and overall better experience than their first attempt. If you are a PS3 owner and/or are a fan of the original Resistance, then I canít recommend this game enough. It has a solid story, a couple of entertaining campaigns, and a multiplayer aspect that should last long enough in the wait for the imminent third installment. If youíre itching to play a fast and furious shooter with a grim narrative, get Resistance 2.
Resistance 2 gets a: