It's been a while since I've played the Resistance 2 single-player, but after I the relatively disappointing Killzone 2 left me with nothing new to play, I turned to an old (er) favourite, in Resistance 2.
To date, the game has sold over 3 Million copies, and it's easy to see why. The visuals may not be pace setting, in fact, there no where near the best to grace the PS3, but every other aspect of the game is spot on.
Ill start my review with the Single-player experience. Unless you've played the original, Fall of Man, you probably won't have a clue what's going on in. Resistance 2 does little to explain prior happenings in the series, but does go a fair way in introducing a solid enough storyline for itself.
Unless you don't know, the Chimera is the protagonists in the Resistance series. They originated in Russia, and spread throughout Europe in the first game, infecting or destroying Human civilization along the way. Now, they've spread deep into the America's, where the Human race begins its last stand for survival.
You play as Nathan Hale, a British man who helped battle the Chimera in Europe. My memory of the game is a bit hazy, but the game starts with Hale entering a V-TOL and being sedated, with no explanation given as to why (You'll probably be able to guess if you've played Fall of Man). When he wakes up, he is with Major Richard Blake of SRPA, and is forced to escape from, and then destroy a truly massive Chimeran 'Goliath'. Next you will encounter the Daedalus, who manages to escape. You just know you'll meet him at some point further on.
For most of the campaign, you and your comrades will be forced to react to Chimeran onslaught after Chimeran onslaught. But they Grim's are by far the most fun of the enemies. They are basically zombies, but lay waiting for you in cocoon style objects. Without warning, if you get to near, they will pop out and attack you. The first time this happened to me, it scared the crap out of me, and you never quite get used to it.
Throughout the campaign, you are treated to some amazing spectacles. The stand out for me is the full blown aerial assault that the Chimeran's set upon San Francisco. Their ships just ooze superiority, but don't look entirely practical to me.
Later on, it starts to get serious. Two of your closer teammates get killed, and you yourself are stabbed in the stomach by Daedelus, and pass out. When you finally wake up, it's six weeks later, and America is in ruins. 80 Million are dead, 3 Million are left. To make matters worse, after going to long without taking an inhibitor, you have now contracted the Chimeran virus, and have 19 hours to live. He decides to spend his remaining hours recovering a nuclear warhead to blow up Daedelus' ship. To cut a long story short, you plant the Bomb, but have to get your way out, where you encounter Daedelus, and are forced to kill him. Upon killing him, Hale makes contact with Daedelus, and is suddenly overwhelmed by its strong Psychokinetic abilities.
Now it gets cool. You've only got a short while left to life, but hey, now you have inFamous style powers which let you blast things with your hands. After blasting your way out, you meet up with Capelli, who finds you engulfed by the virus. At this point Hale repeats Daedelus' ominous mutterings, "It is beautiful, this is just the beginning." Capelli solemnly replies, "Forgive me sir, it was an honor.", and regretfully shoots Hale who he had just grown to respect in the head.
If you thought that sounds good enough, the multiplayer is on another level. With 8-player online Co-Op, and up to 60 player Competitive action, there is something for everyone.
Co-Op has been done brilliantly, and it even helps explain the background, and the bits you may have picked up on already in greater detail, in the form of Intel, which you acquire for successfully completing a round. There are about 10 maps, each with a wide array of missions, all amazing fun. The 3 kits you can choose from, Soldier, Medic and Spec Ops, are pretty balanced, but Medic will let you get the highest score most often, and I found to be the most fun.
Competitive also has many different modes and maps. There are the standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, but also interesting takes on Skirmish, Core Control, and the recently released Meltdown, which is a variation of a Fall of Man game mode. Personally, the best option is to play unranked Team Deathmatch. Having 60 players on a server, and a kill-limit of 1000 gives you plenty of time to find form, or get the upper hand on someone who had it over you at the start. The level of difficulty you get on these servers can be a bit leisurely, but I found it to be much more fun. It is however a good idea to play ranked for at least a while, as this gets you stuff like extra berserks, new skins etc.
A few other things I forgot to mention earlier that make the game just that much better, are the easy to use clan system, and the ability to host your own servers. Any player can create his/her clan, and set about inviting whoever they wish. As a clan leader, you get good control over your clan. Hosting is also a breeze to do, and there is some satisfaction to be gained in having your very own server. You have just about complete control over the server (up until you begin playing). Co-Op servers are all user hosted, while the Competitive servers will only be non-ranked, as Sony are the only ranked hosts.
Overall, I don't think Insomniac could do much to improve this game. The graphics could be a bit sharper, some of the voice work is a bit lame (but for the most part excellent), and there could have been some weapon customization for online (as it stands, there are heaps of weapons to choose, but it would be nice to be able to mix and match strong points).
I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series, and hopefully another one after that as well. So long as they can continue to add new features to the series, and fix the minor flaws in number 2, they could easily make the best shooter ever. AS it stands, Resistance 2, for me, just misses out on that title, but the massive soft spot I have for Crysis and the Battlefield series delegates it to an impressive 3rd (behind Crysis and Battlefield: 2142 [which I will a 'reflection review' of in the near future])
So, as both of those games are currently PC only, I believe that makes Resistance 2 the best shooter to grace any Sony home console to date.