I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 2008 only had 2 FPS's that managed to deliver, Crysis Warhead
(which was basically an expansion) and Far Cry 2. Neither of which are some big console exclusive aimed
at taking down the other's juggernaut title. No, last year, in '08, MS and Sony fell flat on their faces with their
forays into the realm of triple A shooters.
Gears 2 was last years big shooter from MS, riding on the coattails of the first game, it was touted as
"bigger, better and more badass". While most would argue the story mode lived up to that, the multiplayer
was found to be "buggy, buggy and more buggy". While the foundations for the gameplay are solid and fun,
massive and numerous bugs literally destroy the chance the game has at having a fair and fun online
experience. Not many people like waiting 20 minutes in a lobby just to fight against invisible opponents who
can chainsaw with any weapon either.
Then enters Sony's offering, Resistance 2. While the first was lauded as solid and fun, it was nothing too
spectacular. But the second promised so much more. Previews showed giant bosses and epic locales, they
talked about updated multiplayer and an inventive new co-op mode, but the press couldn't get enough of the
leviathan, the city destroying colossus. The "Cloverfield monster" of Resistance 2. Now, with the game out,
the competitive multiplayer has proven to be a fun, fast paced and balanced experience. Co-op has become
a huge selling point as well, with it being the favorite part of the package for most people. Leveling up a class
and taking on hordes of AI with 7 other friends is a blast.
But, how could we forget the story mode? The continuing tale of Nathan Hale and his struggles against the
Chimeran virus spreading across the world. All of the epic bosses, new, AMERICAN locations! It all sounded
so nice, but the more you play it, the more realize they barely paid any goddamn attention to it.
All of the proceeding text in no way describes the Chicago level, which was actually a solid romp. No, this
describes the rest of the godforsaken story mode which I hope holds a place in hell as the biggest letdown
from a triple AAA title of this generation.
The single key factor to the story modes demise, from what I can surmise, is laziness. I've thought this since
Insomniac started making "next-gen" games, but I always blew it off and figured it was just them getting a
grip on the PS3 before really jumping into the whole next-gen swing of things. You know, before getting into
their groove. Resistance 2 however, shines a bright light onto the very PS2-era game design that I've noticed
Insomniac struggle with destroying.
They're very good at seeming like they understand. All of the features you'd expect in a modern console
shooter are there and then some. But there's something off putting about the design and all of it is embodied
to extreme degree's in the games story mode.
I'll make a list. First off, every enemy goes straight for your ass. Doesn't matter if you have a squad of 15
dudes right in front of you, the enemy will sprint right through them and unload a thousand bullets point blank
into your jugular. Speaking of teammates, I'm half sure they're all autistic kids standing on each others
shoulders, wearing army suits. Because they stumble around during battle, shooting 4 bullets a minute, and
letting just about anything hostile pass right by them without a care in the world. Just those 2 things alone,
completely ruin the game already. The AI is terrible. Unrealistic, and overly simplistic, it looks and feels as if no
time was put into how they react.
Now, if you have AI, and you have character models attached to that AI, well you need a level to put them in,
right? Of course! Now, this is where Insomniac either lost complete focus, or is showing off their strengths in
making a PS2 game on a next-gen console. This game is 90% copy/paste corridors. Now and then they let
you outside, because that's just the kinda guy he is, and you get to go "Whoa! That looks so cool!" and stare
at all of those massive ships in the distance. But you're stuck behind this chain link fence. And the fence
leads you to a corridor.
In that corridor, lie your enemies. This is where it's a coin toss. You'll either have to fight a swarm of enemies
upon enemies, with extremely limited ammo, all by yourself. Or they'll give you a ton of space (just a big
corridor, don't get excited) and throw 2 enemies at you. The haphazard approach to the design of the
situations is almost mindnumbing. It's impossible to tell what they were thinking when they threw it together,
but it's ridiculous. It feels off-balance and lazy. It's a very strictly room to room affair, with a random selection
of scripted enemies running at you whenever you turn a corner.
If I had a better video capturing device, I would record this perfect area that shows the incompetence of the
design perfectly. Imagine a square, and then one of the lines on the square is twice as long. Now those are
hallways. Nathan walks through a doorway and unleashes 8-10 regular Chimera's with guns, and then 2
behemoth motherfuckers, all the while your teammates are duking it out on a bridge. This square is now
called Rape Central. You were sent there to be raped 20 times over until you get lucky and manage to
actually wipe out this group in this tiny fucking corridor, with no help (teammates are on a bridge, they're
busy!) and limited ammo (ammo pick-up's in this game are always extremely obvious indicators of oncoming
fights, but sometimes it's hard to tell when they don't fucking give you any ammo) you're basically forced to
When designing an area, you think they'd keep in mind what weapons you have, what types of enemies they
throw at you, and the setup of the area you're fighting. But they don't. Most battles are either two sides
exchanging glowing hot energy rounds, or you by yourself in a tiny string of boring, unimaginative corridors
with no intention of being an interesting battleground.
Couple that with the AI blind to your teammates, and teammates that are blind, and you have a massively
frustrating experience that feels like something rushed out for the PS2.
It's flat, unimaginative, lazy, and in a lot of parts, just plain broken. And to me, it's stunning that something this
horrendously designed ever got the okay for a companies AAA title.
Author's note: Barely worth reading (I need to work on my writing more, this is the beginning of that for
me.) but I really had to rant that out.