Resistance 2 is the next entry of the Resistance franchise, which started in 2006 with Resistance: Fall of Man. It was one of the only "recognisable" exclusive games that the PS3 had back then, and it was widely liked. Personally, I thought the game was a bit of a disappointment. I finally bought after seeing loads of hype on the internet and reading stellar reviews. But this is a review about Resistance 2, not the first. So, does it improve on the sequel?
We'll start with Insomniac's four Cs: Campaign, Cooperative, Competitive and Community, and then I'll go into technical issues.
The campaign picks up right where the first game left off. Nathan Hale, the main character, is walking through a snow storm after destroying the London Tower which defeated the Chimera in Europe. He is picked up by the Sentinels, who are a group of soldiers that have also been infected by the virus but are slightly immune to it like Hale. In the opening cutscene you can already see that the graphics have had a major overhaul, but more on that in a second. In Iceland, your base is being attacked by the Chimera. This is where you catch a glimpse of the big enemies that Insomniac have been talking about; the Goliath. It is a brilliant first set-up piece, and it boded well for the rest of the campaign. After that mission, you skip ahead two years, and your story really begins to start. The campaign is fairly linear, with no branching paths that could influence the story. This leads me to my first complaint. In the first game, you were mainly trudging through dark corridors, that eventually lead to the whole of the game feeling the same. They have done well to increase the variety in Resistance 2. But my complaint is this: the actions that you have to do in the campaign are never fully explained, there are no insights into Hale's thoughts. In the campagin, once you complete an objective, another one is ordered into Hale's earpiece, with no explanation as to why you're doing it, or how it links to the past objective. The overall narrative could've done with an omniscient narrator like the first game. The environments are all nicely rendered, with a good mixture between cities, lush forests and Chimeran, alien type structures. Unlike in the first game, where you only really seemed to fight Hybrids, the enemies are more mixed up in Resistance 2, with you fighting more Titans, a new enemy called the Ravager, and now an inclusion of drones. Now my second complaint: the AI of your enemies is annoying. I'm not saying it's bad, it's actually good, just VERY annoying. Let me give you an example: You and your allies walk into a battlefield, and Chimera rush out. Then every single bullet, by every single enemy, is trained on you and you only, even if your allies are shooting them from point blank. Other then that, the Chimera try and flank where possible, and if you hide in cover, try and charge at you. There are more enemies on screen as you progress through the game, and as you progress, you really start to appreciate the scale of the game. It normally has 40+ enemies on screen at once. It is quite remarkable. The only thing missing is the cohesiveness of the story. You can only fully understand it if you collect all the Intel, which isn't to everyone's liking, meaning a lot of people will miss out on the true depth of the narrative. And the ending, without giving too much away, will make react with a "Why?" or "Awesome!" depending on what personality you have.
Cooperative: The much talked about cooperative. When you enter the lobby, you have a choice of three classes: Spec Ops, Soldier and Medic. Spec Ops are the only source of ammo for the group, while the soldiers are the tanks with shields and mini-turrets. The medics heal people. The coop was a pleasant surprise to me, it actually works and everything seems to gel together. When playing coop, you earn "Grey Tech" which can be used to outfit your class with armour or weapon upgrades, provided they have reached the required level. There is a level cap of 30 for each class. The cooperative campaign runs alongside the single-player campaign, but it is equally hard to follow. My only gripe is that sometimes it just feels like "Run here, shoot that." without any real reason for your actions. And the maps get repetitive too. This is the best coop that has been put together by ANY game in my opinion, and Insomniac have done a terrific job in putting this together. This would probably be Resistance 2's main selling point.
Competitive: Competitive has all the usual modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, which takes the form of "Core Control". There is also a unique mode called Skirmish. Deathmatch supports up to 20 players and Team Deathmatch supports up to 60 players and pretty are self-explanatory. Skirmish supports up to 60 players and, like most of the other modes, places you and your other team mates into squads of 5. You also have an enemy squad. While this holds true in most game modes, in Skirmish, you are constantly pitted against your rival squad. Skirmish is a mode where your objectives change on the fly, depending on the current situation on the battlefield. For example, if your squad has been ordered to assemble at a certain point, but your rival squad decides to try and capture a beacon, your squad's objective will change to defending the beacon. Objectives consist of Capturing/Defending a Beacon, Killing/Protecting the Priority Target or Assembling at a Beacon. It is quite an impressive feat, couple with this that there is no lag, and it becomes extraordinary. Core Control consists of catching the opponents Power Core and bringing it back to your base, but if your opponent also has your Power Core, you cannot capture it. It can lead to some pretty intense stalemates. While carrying the Core, you cannot fire a weapon. The competitive modes are pulled off reasonably well, and it's obvious that they were the main focus. Although in Team Deathmatch, it can get overly chaotic and there won't be a second where you don't hear an explosion of some sort, and the matches can sometimes finish in under three minutes. Your character levels up with XP, which you get for everything you do, even just hitting your opponent with a bullet. There is a level cap of 30, and it takes the same time to reach that, as it does to hit level 30 on all the coop classes. It seems that the rewards for levelling up could've been improved though, with some being lack-luster. There is also an overall rank, which takes the XP from campaign, coop and competitive to form a rank. There are 60 of these ranks. Although, they don't give you any extra benefits and are just a meaningless add on to be seen in the competitive lobby, and don't really reflect skill. You could get all your XP in coop, and none in competitive, and still get to rank 60.
Community: In Resistance 2, your profile tracks everything from the amount of XP you get, to your accuracy and Kill/Death ratio in overall and for individual weapons. It is a pretty comprehensive round up of your stats and is very detailed. You can also join a clan, and go on the Resistance 2 site (still in Beta) and look at your stats in more detail, and also go on the forum and discuss the game/issues etc. My only gripe is that the stats are pretty messed up. I've got around 1.5 million XP overall, and yet the stats (on the site, my stats in the game are correct) on the site show that I have 3 million XP in Team Deathmatch.
General Stuff: Graphics have had a complete overhaul with objects and people looking better. Textures aren't that great, but something had to give for the sheer scale of the game, and up close they look a picture was just plastered on. There are some breath-taking scenes to behold in the game, like in the beginning where you see Chicago under siege. It is probably one of the most beautiful scenes I have seen in a game. Online, there are numerous connection issues, with the match-making system sometimes just ceasing to work and being disconnected from games for no apparent reason. Insomniac are working on a patch at this moment in time. There is also a problem with corrupted data, with numerous people reporting this issue, including me, but I hadn't divulged to much time into at the time fortunately.
All in all Resistance 2 is a must have game for any PS3 owner and is a complete improvement in every way over the first game, apart from the story itself. You should be proud to have this game.