After playing Resistance 2 at length, I wondered if Insomniac suffered from the same issue that Bungie probably had with the Halo trilogy -- development time. Time is a funny thing. Take too much and fans are disappointed. If a developer takes too little, fans are disappointed. It's a thin line, indeed. The original Resistance title, Fall of Man, was a flagship title for the PlayStation 3, much like Halo: Combat Evolved was for the Xbox. Success and generally fabulous reviews do have one setback -- publishers always want more.
Zoom ahead several years and you notice that Bungie had to crank out a few more Halo titles to keep Microsoft happy. In a mere two years, Insomniac was able to put out Resistance 2.
Resistance 2 (PlayStation 3)
The story picks up right where Resistance: Fall of Man left off. Nathan Hale is shown bloody, broken and stumbling before being unceremoniously picked up by an American special operations team. At this point, the game flashes ahead several years, and we find Hale a vocal leader, fully in charge and capable of delivering some killing blows to the Chimera that are now invading the United States. Again, it’s up to Hale and a mix of scatter-brained allies to not only defend a country, but to put an end to the alien scourge permanently.
It is a traditional shooter’s storyline -- one that is becoming tired. To Insomniac’s credit, the timeframe of the 1950s and the mid-storyline intrigue shake up what could have been a spectacularly dull affair. In the same regard, there is much to be said about what Insomniac didn’t do -- namely, outlining anything about Hale past his eye color. Despite Hale’s uncharacteristic wailing of orders, the audience never gets a sense of his personal motivations or a true glimpse of emotion. The story, while quite clear in its purpose, never strays from the general theme. It becomes so broad past the introductory level that it becomes hard to follow why Hale is jumping from locale to locale to save the world.
But it isn’t without a handful of shortcomings that practically break the entire experience. The most glaring issue is that you will die entirely too much from asshole monsters with instant-kill weaponry or claws. Fighting off dozens of enemies simultaneously is a rough job to begin with, but having to contend with the boundary-defying Auger shooting through the walls you’re hiding behind or the new invisible Chimera that spontaneously appear to wreak havoc on your body have a tendency lead to quick deaths that you simply can’t avoid without being ridiculously careful. Furthering the frustration is the dangerously accurate Chimera that can also take more than a fair share of bullets to kill.
The big problem is that you are always put in situations that require some sort of leniency on the side of the game. Having dozens of crackshot Chimera on-screen and rushing towards you isn't fun. What is fun is actually succeeding, killing, and shredding these monsters -- it isn't having to look at your dead body every 15 seconds or restarting the checkpoint. Some sections of the game are pure trial and error to the point of extreme frustration.
When the game starts clicking and you pass several objectives without problems, it’s not only rare, but it is wonderful. There’s something to be said about the excellent atmosphere in some levels, but it’s quickly hindered by the above problems. Thankfully, nothing on Hale’s end really stops the momentum. Weapons are unique and very useable. All the guns from Fall of Man make a comeback, but they possess much tighter reticules and generally perform better -- especially the Chimeran assault rifle, the Bullseye.
Score: 7.5 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
Throughout the many competitive multiplayer matches of Leviathan: Warships I've played, I've shown a great deal of restraint. No matter how many vessels I lost, I refused to utter the words of defeat that so many ha...more
I like the Heroes of Might & Magic series, but it has never been perfect. It's a very niche set of games that aren't quite role-playing titles or full-fledged strategy games. They are almost their own weird hybrid ge...more
Call of Juarez is a series I've always wanted to enjoy. It's hard not to admire its attempts at clever storytelling, and the commitment to creating a wild west first-person shooter in an age where everything's about blasting ...more