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coolbeans

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User Review : Resistance 2

Ups
  • Another lengthy campaign
  • Huge scale
  • Rare 8 player cooperative mode
Downs
  • Conflicting changes to the core gameplay
  • Bad story
  • Some audio anomalies

Couldn't Resist the Call to be Like Every Other Shooter on the Market

Upon the PS3's release, Insomniac's Resistance: Fall of Man was the heavily advertised game for early PS3 adopters to purchase. From the release of the 360 blockbuster FPS Halo to the Call of Duty franchise now selling like gangbusters, one can understand the impact this has made to the structure of how an FPS should be made, Resistance 2 is not immune to this effect. With that in mind, does this restructured formula make Resistance 2 a better game?

Immediately taking place after the epilogue in the first game, R2 (Resistance 2) has you taking the reins of Nathan Hale again as he initially absconds to Iceland, and then later the US. Keeping under the veil that he's KIA to the U.S. Army, Hale is enlisted in SRPA, a militaristic division that homes soldiers of Hale's kind. With his changed physiology of having the Chimeran virus strain, Hale is joined with the ranks of Sentinels. Like Hale, the squad of Sentinels are infected with the Chimeran virus, but are able to stay human thanks to the help of inhibiters. These inhibitors are created by the Russian scientist, Dr. Malikov, who also plays a key role in some of the events that transpire throughout the game-and the game's history. Traveling through Iceland and certain parts of the US, Hale and his squad are ordered with protecting American soil while finding a way to destroy the new "hive-mind" leader for the Chimera.

Resistance 2's story falls more in line with what you'd expect from a shooter. There are no narrated black-and-white stills like Fall of Man had; however, there's a greater emphasis on telling the story through the means of rendered & in-game cutscenes, letters laid out throughout the levels, and audio chatter coming from either your HQ or simple radios fleshing out the backstory. Although it does have its moments of being done to great effect, R2's story slips up in regards to when it should present the story to you. Pivotal plot points will be given to you throughout certain battles, so I personally recommend turning on subtitles and anticipating these moments. Even though all of the nonessential pieces of the story do elevate the fictional lore to greater heights than that of the first Resistance, this is an story that is much less interesting than Fall of Man. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by a stoically spoken main character throughout most of the campaign who's only development is propeled by bad decisions; to make matters worse, loose ends that are never tied up and forced reasons for why certain events are taking place all add up to a story that's a bit ham-handed. Overall, it certainly has a few cracks in the foundation that only does what it's supposed to do: get you from X to Y, while setting up some cool setpiece moments.

In regards to gaming's progression, another facet to consider would be the progression in a videogame's audio and visual design {since Fall of Man's release} has risen exponentially. Even with the sudden rise in 2008 games with amazing visual fidelity, Resistance 2 is able to hold its own when bringing size into account. The Chimeran art design is dissappointly more of the same and some of the fine details may fall short compared to Fall of Man's down-to-earth approach; however, the sheer scale of some of the emenies faced in Resistance 2 is impressive. For every level that looks stunning (such as San Fransisco), there's 2 levels that fall into feeling like bland corridors with an even blander style than the Chimeran's gothic inspiration in Fall of Man. I will admit that my jaw hit the floor upon seeing the sheer size of the Leviathan, but was left wishing for more in aspects that correlate to the level design.

Resistance 2's sound design also falls to the wayside in comparison to the plethora of other orchastrated games of it's year. While going after more military tones, R2's soundtrack comes off as being a bit more mundane than that of it's predecessor. One of the reasons for this would possibly be tied into the lack of black-and-white stills, which helped convey a better tone to the plot. The gun sounds throughout Resistance 2 are certainly of high qualtiy, but fail to deliver a more robust variety. Rather than having the balanced amount of human and chimeran weapons, Resistance 2 goes towards a heavier approach in human weapons that in turn harm its stance on being called a sci-fi shooter. Sound design also shows it wasn't completely ironed out by having these odd sound clips that are heard when transitioning to a cutscene. Resistance 2 can certainly sell the notion of having that surround sound effect, but it's fairly easy to notice the lack of tone or variety.

The weapon wheel, health bar, and slower paced formula are completely exspunged in Resistance 2. Yes, the three core aspects venerated by me and many others is substituted with 2 weapons at a time, regenerating health, and the new status quo formula cemented predominantly by the Halo and Call of Duty series. Although these formulas are proven to work, it harms the identity of this sequel from a player's standpoint. Regardless of how many more enemies are on the screen at one time, there was still a way to create the classic formula while providing a faster pace. Even with the divisive decisions to remove certain features, the gameplay does work. You have the usual set-up of traveling through different enviroments, taking out enemies by means that are usually prepared for you (rocket launcher laying in the right spot for you to take out a robot, for example), and encouraging you to use certain weapons for upcoming setpieces. Ultimately, Resistance 2 is the consequence of what happens when a sequel meanders off course to something expected, rather than building upon the solid foundation from it's previous iteration.

Resistance 2 also delivered a healthy amount of gameplay changes to certain aspects that are considered secondary nature to a shooter. The Chimera have been improved across the spectrums of AI and variety. Although they still hold to the ideal of looking like transformed humans, which makes sense given the context of the story, the variations are noticeable thanks to different tactics and means to defeat them. For the sake of providing an exampel, there's a new enemy alteration named the Chameleon is invisible to the naked eye until it's about to attack. Given that this sequel to the series has deviated so much, it shouldn't come as a suprise to see the pacing feel uneven. Gone are any vehicle missions that are replaced by boss battles and light platforming elements. Even though the vehicular missions showed many of the weaknesses in Fall of Man's campaign, it's still an aspect that disrupted the monotonous feeling of holding a gun. The platforming mechanic of jumping onto objects to avoid Chimeran-occupied waters was a nice addition, albeit feeling a bit forced. In conclusion, Resistance 2's overall gameplay does work, but deviates so far from the original foundation that it feels (pardon the pun) alien.

Where Resistance 2 falters in the gameplay aspects, it makes up for it with great value IF you have an internet connection. The most rewarding feature in R2 is the new 8 player online co-op. After finding 8 players through various means, you're greeted with the options of choosing between three different classes: Soldier, Medic, and Spec-Ops. These classes divide the responsibility between your three choices: with the soldier carrying the big guns and dishing out most of the damage, the medic healing everyone, and spec ops supporting the soldier in combat and dispensing replenishible boxes of ammo. With your class choice comes the need to level up in order to purchase new equipment that can make your character faster at a certain action, such as reloading. Since this is a genuinely new feature to fps', it's fair to compare Resistance 2's co-op to something like World of Warcraft: your levels (or instances) require you to plow through hundreds of minions and a few 1-star/2-star bosses in order to complete your set objectives. The only small quibble I would have with the co-op is that there are no loot drops in the missions, just the purchased equipment you get in the menu. With that in mind, the fault I find with this mode is so minute in comparison to the addictive, fresh nature of the co-op-that also has it's own storyline that runs parellel to the main game. This is quite simply a work of genius in making a pseudo-MMO/FPS hybrid that feels unique.

As with the heavy modification to the Co-op, R2's competitive MP also gets a big addition to the number of foes in one match. Jumping up from the already impressive 40 players in Fall of Man to 60 players, Resistance 2 boasts a healthy number of competitors on huge maps. Another deviation tied into the multiplayer is the implementation of choosing your main weapon in a loadout, rather than the older, arcade style of finding certain weapons laid throughout the map. Even though this does encourage you to focus on which weapon is the most beneficial to you, falling away from a formula that was established and respected by the community to fall in line with almost every other fps harms the overall integrity of the game. Most of the modes you've come to expect in Resistance: Fall of Man are here, with the exception to the Skirmish mode. In Skirmish mode, players are tasked with holding or attacking established beacons that change throughout the match. R2's competitive MP builds upon certain foundations while introducing a few divisive additions. Most of the changes to the competitive mp are left up to the personal preference of the gamer; however, playing with the maximum sixty players can make the match feel too clustered for its own good.

Resistance 2 is the case of being a good game, but a disheartening sequel. Getting rid of some core aspects that made it feel unique in today's fps enviroment are thrown away for the sake of being a familiar military shooter. Despite the lengthy campaign, huge scale, and sheer size of the online options, Resistance 2 is one of those games I'll give a very reserved recommendation to both fans of the series and FPS fans in general. If you have an internet connection, go ahead and purchase for the awesome online cooperative mode; other than that, Resistance 2 just falls into mediocrity for being like the surplus of COD clones.

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Score
8.0
Graphics
Monsters that take up the whole screen and huge amounts of enemies at one time show Resistance 2 doesn't hold back on scale. Artstyle and design holds it back from being a best graphics nomination ('08) in my personal opinion.
6.0
Sound
There's certainly an emphasis on being louder; although, there's seemingly no emphasis on being more diverse or authentic. As stated before, I encountered audio glitches whenever the game would tranisition from gameplay to cutscene.
5.0
Gameplay
The problem in R2's gameplay isn't on whether or not it feels complete, but rather on whether or not you could distinguish this game from any other military shooter, were it not for the title screen or enemy characteristics.
6.0
Fun Factor
Since I was one of those seasoned shooter fans that venerated Fall of Man's distinct pace, my fun factor does fall back on my complaints with the gameplay. It may dissuade me from coming back to SP & the competitive MP, but I'll stick with co-op for a few seasons.
9.0
Online
Despite a few inconsequential faults with the online modes, even the most seasoned FPS veterans deserve to try out the online aspects of Resistance 2. Personally, I think Resistance 2's co-op deserves to hold as much influence in shooters as Gears of War 2's Horde Mode.
Overall
6.2
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coolbeans2587d ago

Hope everyone enjoyed the review. I'm certainly sorry to give such a scathing review if you're one of those that enjoyed R2's changes. As you can see from my FoM reivew, I felt that the slower pace and ability to just radically change shooting tactics on fly, thanks to the weapon wheel, was a great idea. If you have any questions, feel free to post in comment section or PM me.

You should expect my Resistance 3 review soon :).

cpayne932586d ago

I actually enjoyed R2 and would have given it an 8.5 personally. It does have its faults, lacke of vehicles and the weapon wheel, but I would still say it is a worthwile game too play.

coolbeans2586d ago

I can agree with the "worthwhile game" part to a certain extent. I personally feel that the weapon wheel was also part of it's identity, rather than just being a feature. It still has some great pro's, but a few heavier cons than Fall of Man had.

smashcrashbash2585d ago

Why does everyone hate R2 this much? It wasn't that bad a game. People act like it was some terrible monstrosity when it was a very functional and engaging game. Why?

dinkeldinkse2585d ago

I think RFOM was a better game (the lack of weapon wheel, the underwhelming boss battles, and Halo-esque changes in gameplay and artstyle are my main reasons), but Resistance 2 is not a turd.

I personally would give it a 7.5 (a 7.5 to me is an 8.5 to most people, a 9.2 to me is a 10 for most people).

coolbeans2584d ago

I'd like to point out that I don't insinuate that Resistance 2 isn't a functional game, it just the deviation makes it feel unrecognizable, were it not for the title and Chimera. The reason I would call R2's gameplay mediocre is because it's parallel to too many other shooters around '08, while having those similar mechancis feel less polished in comparison.

SilentNegotiator2585d ago

I could play Resistance 2's co-op mode all day, but other than that, I didn't care much for R2.