As Sony’s great shooter hope for 2008 Resistance 2 (R2) has some high expectations weighing on its shoulders and the fact that it is coming from one of the top developers doesn’t leave much room for failure. In terms of value for money R2 is going to be hard to beat this year, it features a full length single player campaign along with separate co-op missions (with their own little story) and a beefy adversarial multiplayer system. So there is plenty of content to be had for your money. But is it fun?
As with any first person shooter R2 includes the following; bald marines, an alien race trying to exterminate humanity, and guns. It is a formula as old as the genre itself. There are a few deviations from the conventional along the way, but by and large anyone that plays games will not be surprised with the story that they are being told. There is a very brief explanation of the back story before being set free to try and save mankind.
The Chimera that you fought in Resistance have spread operations from Europe to the US and have brought along their large cousins. The range of enemies is far greater this time around with some that are actually really fun to take down, to be specific the zombie like “Grims” that drop like flies but come in huge numbers and fast. There are various larger Chimera that you fight that range from approximately 10 feet to about 20 feet but none felt as enjoyable to battle as the unarmed melee happy Grims. The Chimera as a whole seem smarter and use different attack techniques that vary from stand back and shoot to full out charge mode, a charging Ravager is a pretty intimidating opponent if you are only packing a Bullseye for your weapon.
Other than the reoccurring enemies there are also a few boss battles that range from tedious to bearable. Non of the boss battles felt inspired, it was more a case of “Hey, that’s a really big enemy and this is how I can kill it”. Despite having an epic scale they really don’t engage in any way other than making you carry out the required procedure to kill them.
Visually the game looks great, it is on par with the best looking games of this current generation of console titles, but when you factor in the scale of some of the battlefields and environments it becomes even more impressive. Enemies are nicely detailed and the forest level is actually breathtaking, the frame rate is always constant even in the biggest battles and I didn’t notice any texture pop in at all. Loading screens were minimal and during game play almost non existent, I only noticed one small pause in game play where a few frames were missed. Explosions that aren’t scripted seem lacking in look and sound, I would have liked them to look more like what you see in the canned animations and cut-scenes. The depth of view in some levels is deceptively large, even in interior environments I was constantly surprised at how far Insomniac had gone in detailing such large spaces when it would have been so easy for them to make another corridor shooter.
As I mentioned in regards to the explosions, I felt that the sound was lacking in impact and drama. There just wasn’t anything compelling about it, this might be in relation to the types of weapons being used but the result was that I felt disconnected from Hale and didn’t sense a feeling of power in the weapons. The exception to this is the sniper rifle and the mini gun with both had a nice sound and weight to their impact, the carbine rifle was also acceptable. The seemingly disconnected sound of Hale’s footsteps and the strangely quiet Chimera with their slightly floating animations make it seem like at times the game is happening with or without you. The final sequence of play is quite a rush though and is a delightful change of pace in spite of the fact that it is a time run.
The variation of weapons was a little strange, the pistol was a blast to use with its powerful first impact and secondary ability of exploding the round after impact, the mini gun was also effective in mowing down the masses, the double barrel shotgun and sniper rifle seemed to be the weapons of choice. The Chimeran weapons for some reason didn’t sit well with me, the Auger and Bullseye just felt too inaccurate to be effective, the Auger did have it’s use, but ammo was sparse and the whole reason for its usefulness was that you don’t have to be fighting your enemies or even have them in sight. Taking you out of the action to kill the enemies just doesn’t compel a player to enjoy the battle.
Some people are going to get an absolute kick out of the entire experience, and while there is no doubt in my mind that it is a solid purchase, I can’t help but feel that there just weren’t enough moments where I found myself noticeably enjoying the experience. There were moments of brilliance but a lot of time in between filled with forgettable encounters. Resistance 2 is such a polished game that I almost feel a little bad that I didn’t get into as much as I thought that I would. The multiplayer is really what seals the deal, it has a clan system and with the server based network in place there is little to no lag when you want to play. So if you have your PS3 connected to the PSN then the value you will get out of this is truly awesome, if not then it might be about time to sort that out.