Despite the success of the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2, Sony never really had a shooter that they could call their own. Killzone was supposed to fill that void but it could never live up to its potential. It was PlayStation 3 launch title Resistance: Fall of Man that gave Sony its first big in-house ‘Triple A’ shooter. Resistance was set in an alternate 1950’s timeline where World War II never happened and humanity faced a far greater threat against a force known as the Chimera. Resistance was a solid launch title that went on to sell 3 million copies worldwide.
Two years later, developers Insomniac are back with their latest and much more ambitious offering – Resistance 2. Featuring a single player campaign spanning across the United States, an eight-player co-operative campaign with its own separate story and a 60-player online multiplayer, Resistance 2 is all set to deliver the definitive shooter experience for PS3 owners this holiday season.
The game begins exactly where Fall of Man ended, as Sergeant Nathan Hale wanders across the snowy field after destroying the Chimeran towers in London. He gets picked up a black-ops squad who later come to be known as the Sentinels. The Sentinels are a group of soldiers who, like Hale, are infected with the Chimeran virus, but somehow are not completely affected by it. Hale and the rest of the Sentinels arrive at their base in Iceland, which is under Chimeran attack. Unable to save the base, Hale and the rest of the squad are forced to abandon their base and flee to the US. Two years pass and Hale, now a lieutenant, is part of the Sentinels and leads their Echo squad.
On May 15, 1953, the Chimera launch a full scale attack on the United States. As Hale and his team make their way up to the surface from their secret underground base, you get the first glimpse of the scale Insomniac are aiming for with Resistance 2. You’ll witness the Chimeran invasion of the United States along the San Francisco Bay and be completely awestruck by the sheer magnitude of the scene. It truly is an incredible moment and it’s just the first of many such jaw dropping scenes you’ll encounter throughout Resistance 2’s single player campaign. From the lush jungles of Orick to the research facility in the Bryce canyon, every area you visit in Resistance 2 is diverse and captures the essence of 1950’s United States under an alien invasion perfectly.
The story in Resistance 2 is told completely through Hale’s perspective; the lack of a narrator does hurt the game, but since the story focuses of Hale himself, it never really becomes an issue. Apart from the usual cutscenes, Insomniac have chosen a very unique way of telling the story. Bits of the story are told to you via the communications headsets that Hale and his team wear. It’s your typical ‘save the world from the alien invasion’ story and despite a cliffhanger ending that is sure to stir up a lot of debate among fans, it manages to keep you entertained throughout, thanks to the feverish pace at which it unfolds (a huge step up from Fall of Man).
One of the complaints from the first game was that it lacked variety as far as enemies go. In Resistance 2, insomniac introduce a number of new Chimeran enemies, including a cloaked Chimera that can kill you in a single blow called the Chameleon, the brainless grims that simply charge at you, an elite group of Chimera known as the Ravagers and the various sentry drones. You also have huge bosses like the Leviathan, the Goliath, the Kraken etc. The enemy AI more than makes up for its lack of intelligence with sheer numbers. The boss fights, on other hand, are extremely disappointing.
Like all insomniac games, you’ll run into to a large arsenal of weapons. The new magnum that you get early on is quiet possibly the single best handgun ever to appear in a game. Not only do they pack a punch, but you also have the ability to detonate the bullets fired to cause increased damage to nearby enemies. Other weapons include a rail gun called the wraith that comes with a mobile shield, and a weapon called the splicer that fires saw blades. Most of the older weapons also make a return, including the fan favorites – the bullseye and the auger.
The game itself plays like the old Resistance, albeit a bit slower. The unique health replenishing system from Fall of Man has been replaced by regenerating health. The weapon selection wheel also makes way for a two weapon system. The battle set pieces in Resistance 2 are humongous; at times there are literally dozens of enemies and friendly NPCs fighting it out. Other pulse pounding moments include the ones involving the grims or the spinners as they mindlessly charge at you. On the flip side, the game is extremely linear and the story is never really fleshed out beyond Hale, which makes it feel very disjointed. It’s also a bit shorter than the first game with the campaign taking around 10 hours to complete on your first playthrough.
While the single player campaign never reaches the dizzying heights of a Half-Life title, the multiplayer modes are in a league of their own. Multiplayer modes comes in two flavours – co-op and competitive. The online competitive mode now features as many as 60 players in a single match. The game does a great job by dividing the players into squads of 5 each, resulting in battles that make you feel just a small part in a larger war. As the match nears its end, the game will makes sure all 60 players converge towards the centre of the map resulting in some intense battles. You get the usual deathmatch, team deathmatch and core control (capture the flag) modes. There’s also a skirmish mode where different objectives are given to your team, be it capturing a node or assassinating someone in the opposing team.
Completing the package is the class-based cooperative mode. Borrowing heavily from current-day MMOs, the 8-player co-op is unlike anything you have ever played before. As you and your squad move from one area of the map to another, the game will throw objectives that’ll change with each subsequent playthrough. Even the difficulty and the number of enemies are all scaled according to the number of players playing it. You get to play as either a soldier, a spec-ops or a medic. Each class has its pros and cons and finding the right balance is necessary in completing these maps. The scale of the single player campaign is also carried forward here. Not only does it throw a large number of enemies at you (around 100 at times), but most of the bosses from the single player also make an appearance.
Holding all three modes together is the XP system. No matter what mode you play, if you’re shooting someone in Resistance 2, you’re collecting XP points. The points are used to level up your characters and unlock cool extras like a new gun or a piece of armour. You also unlock a higher difficulty and an arcade mode once you complete the single player campaign. There are also 40 trophies to collect.
Graphically, Resistance 2 is pretty inconsistent. The polycount on both human and Chimeran models has increased and the textures are also much sharper this time around. It also sports much better lighting than Resistance: Fall of Man. But it lacks some of the spit and polish you would associate with a third generation Insomniac game. Thankfully, what Resistance 2 lacks in detail, it more than makes up in scale. Even with dozens of enemies on screen, the framerate remains rock steady. Sound on the other hand is very impressive. The main theme is excellent but sadly it’s never used outside of the menus and a few cutscenes. As expected, the voice acting is excellent and the Chimeran troops sound as vicious as ever.
Resistance 2 is everything you would expect from a sequel. The epic single player and the varied multiplayer modes offer one of the most complete gaming packages available. While the single player may disappoint a few people, the multiplayer, with its wealth of options, will make sure you play this game for a long time. It’s an incredible shooter and is right up there with some of the PS3’s finest games. Don’t resist; Buy this.
(+) Unmatched scale
(+) Inventive weapons
(+) Excellent multiplayer, co-op is a blast
(-) Extremely linear
(-) Story is never fleshed out
(-) underwhelming boss battles
(-) lackluster graphics
IndianVideoGamer Verdict: 8/10 (Buy)