If you only had 19 hours to live, what would you do? Would you repent your sins? Spend quality time with your loved ones? Partake in a Caligula-esqe orgy? Well Nathan Hale already knows what he would do. He doesnít bother with all that existentialist nonsense. He just kills every alien that has the misfortune of being in front of him in Resistance 2.
After over running Russia and England the Chimera have set their sights on the red white and blue. But before this setup youíre reacquainted with Hale as he wanders around the snow covered fields of England. After being picked up by a mysterious aircraft heís forcibly injected with a sedative and goes unconscious. After waking up he finds out that his would be rescuers are a black ops team called S.R.P.A. (Special Research Projects Administration). After two years and a really bad situation at the SRPA base Hale becomes a member of The Sentinels, which are a team of soldiers immune to the Chimeran virus. But in order for their immunity to fully work they need inhibitor packs to help fight the virus. Over the course of R2 Nathan Hale pretty much just goes cold turkey on the inhibitors for the sake of the mission. The result of this is that within each passing level he becomes more and more like a Chimera. As this is going on Hale and his team also begin the hunt for a Chimeran of high intelligence called Daedalus. Heís pretty much a combination of the G-man from Half-Life and the Queen Alien. This is because of his constant cryptic messages and his penchant for ripping people in half.
Also throughout R2 you get a better sense of what the Chimeran virus is and how it was created. What I seem to like the most is how the Chimerans are portrayed. Outside of Daedalus they donít speak English, which is good because it lends it a better sci-fi appeal, they donít want to be reasoned with and they wonít break out into Shakespearean soliloquies about existence. They want the Earth, they want you dead and thatís all they care about. On top of this they tend to be nasty and ferocious in combat. While the narrative in R2 is more personalized than it was in R:FOM it seems to have a grander scope and more of a purpose. Instead of being told what happened itís actually happening right in front of you. Itís a tad hard to get attached to Nathan Hale because all he seems to do is be insubordinate and talk in a gruff voice. Granted itís nothing groundbreaking, but itís good enough to keep you compelled and entertained.
I wasnít blown away with the first Resistance, but I did like it. It was done well enough for a launch title, but it just didnít click. Granted the weapons were great, but the controls werenít precise enough for my liking. Eventually when I got accustomed to those I managed to find the lack of checkpoints within the campaign to be ridiculous. I swear that game gave you a checkpoint every half-hour. Luckily I can say that the developers at Insomniac Games found those quirks and fixed them. R2 runs smooth and controls beautifully. On top of that they improved the checkpoint system and now offers up a game that can be enjoyed by anybody looking for a solid first person shooter.
The only thing that Iím not too much a fan of is the omission of the weapon wheel from the first Resistance. There was something fun about having numerous options on how to take a certain situation. But I must admit that you didnít find a lot of ammo for the numerous weapons that you had at your disposal. With R2 the weapons management is now in the vein of Halo in that you can only carry two. Pretty much the rule of thumb is that if you see a weapon on the ground you should pick it up because thereís a good chance that youíre going to need it.
While this does take away from the imagination on how you take a scenario it at least makes sure that youíll be well acquainted with the weaponry and learn to master it within the context of the situation. And youíre going to need to learn this because the Chimera are more varied and far more aggressive than they were in its predecessor. There are Chimeraís as big as houses and dish out more damage than an M1 Abrams battle tank. And these are actually the medium sized ones, but the bigger ones come in the form of boss battles.
The one that was highly publicized was the sky-scrapper sized Leviathan that stomps through Chicago and swats helicopters out of the sky as if they were nothing but irritating gnats. For as big as they are they arenít too groundbreaking from a gameplay standpoint. You memorize their attack patterns and go in for the kill, but itís all in good fun at least and one of them actually looks like a monster from Ratchet And Clank: Tools of Destruction.
What the average player really isnít going to like is the amount of times youíre going to see the game over screen. You will be bombarded with wave after wave after wave of bloodthirsty monsters that want to take their pound of flesh straight out of your ass. These are the times when you need to plan when to take cover and when to attack and with what weapon. When you finally get with the flow and mow down each and every adversary in your path is when the game is highly rewarding. When you get cheated by a cheap death then youíre not too happy about it. As a word of warning avoid water; for as nice as it looks itís pretty much an instant death. There are these creatures that get introduced early on in the game that inhabit water. Once you go in the water they kill you. When you see them in the water it makes sense, but when you donít it comes off as really cheap. There are also invisible land based monsters called Chameleons that also kill you with one hit, but at least they have a tell so you can anticipate them. And that tell is ďif the screen shakes then prepare to shoot.Ē There is another thing that does this, but I shouldnít spoil everything.
While a lot of new weapons havenít been introduced they at least polished the reliable Bullseye and Carbine because thatís what youíre going to be packing a lot of the time. The Bullseye is a lot more accurate and packs a good amount of punch making it a great standby weapon. The Carbine is still weaker, but it makes up for it with the grenade launcher. While the new weapons may be few they are still entertaining. The most useful of the new weapons is the Marksman rifle, which fires a three round burst and is quit powerful for foes small and large. Nail anything with a headshot from this thing and it goes down. Another good addition is the Magnum pistol. It fires explosive ammo, but also packs a punch. If your foe dies from the first shot you can still kill the guy standing next to him with the same bullet. Its secondary function explodes the bullet lodged in something else, so itís great for setting up booby-traps or dealing extra damage.
While not pushing any boundaries R2 refines and for the most part polishes everything that made the franchise popular in the first place. While I couldíve lived without the extended waves and one hit deaths I still found myself thoroughly entertained and coming back for more.
For the most part the presentation in R2 is superb, but for everything that looks great youíll find something disappointing. For starters I wish doors and anything that wasnít a weapon or Chimera was better looking. This is because doors, boxes and some parts of the ground have a really low-resolution texture. Granted this was probably done to make sure that everything on screen (like the important shooting parts) flowed without a hitch. The frame rate is smooth and barely dips making the experience flow nicely.
While doors look horrendous weapons, enemies the environments look spectacular and have a nice level of detail. Gone are the browns and grays from the previous game. R2 uses a far more varied color palette and it shows in various levels. One level takes place in a Californian forest and the greens of the foliage just pop off the screen. Thereís a lot more detail to the Chimera and it makes it easier to tell which is which so you know how to deal with them. One of the nice things is that even though the bosses are large and detailed they donít affect engine performance. The same goes for the amount of enemies on screen. Youíll occasionally see almost a dozen combatants on screen shooting at each other with lasers flying everywhere, but rarely does the game stutter or freeze. Seeing as how this was the same engine that ran the stunning Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction it makes me wonder how much more can be done to it. Because if the next R&C looks better than this Iíll be a very surprised and happy person. I just hope they donít use low-resolution doors and crates of course.
The action itself sounds epic and frenetic. With people screaming, demanding ammo and gunfire all over the place. The voice acting is decent and it isnít cringe worthy, but there isnít much vocal variety. Everybody with the exception of the lone scientist sounds like some testosterone infused military grunt, and by ďgruntĒ Iím talking about how they speak. While it would be out of place for them to sound like Kenneth Brannagh it just gets redundant.
There are so many aspects to the multiplayer that a person could get lost in the options, but Iím going to stick with the deathmatch options. Deathmatch, especially Team Deathmatch can be highly chaotic. Once you get over the constant death and find the right weapon for your skill level you will find a highly frenetic experience. The experience of running through the level fragging folks is great and the only remote quibble that I can find with it is the re-spawning. Re-spawning in front of, next to, in back of or turning a corner only to have half of the opposing team spawn right in front of you is irritating and should be taken care of.
When it comes to finding a particular weapon youíre going to have to do some experimenting, which in my case was using everything until you can go a match where my kill count wasnít significantly lower than my death count. And I didnít find a weapon that I liked until I started using the Auger. Maybe itís the noob weapon for this game and everyone is good with it, but finding the right time to bust out the energy shield to block projectiles and spray people was rewarding and made me fall in love with the gun. As you shoot and kill enemies you gain experience, which allows you to level up and gain different options for customizing your character.
Other than deathmatch you can partake in Skirmish where several squads of five men are on the same battlefield trying to take an objective. Other then this there is an eight-person co-op mode, which is class based. There are three classes, which is soldier, medic and special-ops and you are able to level these up to level 30 for different rewards. It doesnít follow the story, but there are several different objectives that need to be tackled. Multiplayer for R2 is diverse enough for any type of gamer to find something for them to enjoy.
While R2 is not groundbreaking it proves to be a highly entertaining and refined experience with a bevy of play options. With ruthless enemies, interesting weapons and rewarding multiplayer.