I am going to come right out and say it, I never finished Resistance: Fall of Man. I liked it well enough I guess, The story seemed interesting enough and at the time I got it, there really wasn’t all that much else to play on the PS3 but I got bored with it somewhere around half-way through and then got distracted by games that did the genre better, like Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. It came as somewhat of a surprise to me that I was interested in playing Resistance 2.
However Insomniac, one of my favorite developers, seemed to have really upgraded everything that I had complaints about in Resistance: Fall of Man so I caved and bought it. This time though I didn’t even get the chance to get bored with the game as I purchased it but let it sit on my shelf so I could spend time with some other high profile games, like Mirror’s Edge, Gears 2, Call of Duty: World at War, Prince of Persia, etc… Eventually, enough became enough and I forced myself to sit down and play the game.
What I found was a mixture of some really good gameplay, some refinements and additions to the formula over the previous title, and a weaker overall narrative, which I took exceptionally hard. When I play games by myself, I generally prefer to have a strong narrative, something with some reach and tied together well through intermittent cutscenes. I felt the strongest point for Resistance: Fall of Man was its story, that’s unfortunately not the case with Resistance 2. The story is still interesting but the way its told is very hacked together, and lets just say the ending to the game, while dramatic and fittingly appropriate, was a pure letdown.
This all brings on the question of how on earth did I finish Resistance 2 but not Resistance: Fall of Man? Well, let me get this out of the way first; as far as playing first person shooters on a console goes the Dual Shock does not offer me the control I seek. That being said, Insomniac has taken their formula from the first game and refined it to as near perfection as the Dual Shock controller will allow. The gameplay is fun and fast. It all controls very well and while I wouldn’t put it up in the same category as Call of Duty or Halo gameplay wise, it is very near and certainly an upgrade.
The game offers a mode for every type of player, from the single player campaign to a separate co-op mode to the now requisite standard multiplayer modes. As I said earlier, the single player campaign is a little bit hacked together and can feel very disjointed as you jump around from location to location. The levels themselves are all very well designed though and while it never strays to far from the standard mission types of the first person shooter genre, Insomniac has done a great job of integrating their experience making platformers into the levels so they all feel very different.
I also must give some credit to thee atmosphere some of the levels create. Creating tension in a game is not an easy thing to do but Resistance 2 had me clutching my controller on more than one occasion as I navigated through dark areas with limited ammo. It may be uber cliche but there is little that is more tense than dark areas and zombie like creatures attempting to kill you.
While the general game does a good job of creating some tension, especially at some key points in the game, I felt it failed at doing it when it should have been at its best. Specifically the boss battles. Resistance 2 is loaded with boss battles. Boss battles, if they are going to be in a game, should generate a feeling of awe, excitement and a general feeling of “HOW THE FUCK AM I GOING TO BEAT THAT THING?” Sadly there was not single moment of the latter in Resistance 2. Insomniac’s development of platforming games is a detriment here. Sure the bosses inspired awe and maybe even an initial spark of excitement (Freaking A! I’m going to take on a giant squid) but after you easily take down the first boss and the second is along the same lines you realize that the battles themselves are all highly staged and can be beaten with a rinse and repeat approach. The final boss in particular is extra boring and upon finishing him off I kept saying to myself, that can’t be it.
Co-op on the other hand offers a completely different type of experience and can’t really be rinsed and repeated to get through the levels. To successfully play co-op you will need to work with your teammates as each class offers something that is needed to the team as a whole. Depending upon which class is picked the experience of playing co-op can be drastically different. I found it best to play with people I knew though as playing with strangers, as in any game, can lead to some unfortunate gameplay incidents. I questioned, on more than one occasion, if people truly understood the meaning of co-op while playing.
The competitive multiplayer is all pretty standard stuff, except that it can be played on a bigger scale. If you played any of Resistance: Fall of Man’s multiplayer then you know it was fast and extremely frantic gameplay wise. Ratchet that up by a multiplier of four and you’ll get a pretty good understanding of the chaos of Resistance 2’s multiplayer. It is a lot of fun and the new leveling system is a blast, although it is not anywhere near as good as what is in Call of Duty. Resistance: Fall of Man generated quite an online community and Resistance 2 is better and more polished in every way so I envision the community will stay quite strong.
As a package Resistance 2 offers a lot and fans of the series and Nathan Hale (from the game not America’s first spy) will be pleased, at least until the ending. Overall I was left impressed but a little saddened that Insomniac developed the multiplayer modes (competitive and co-op) so thoroughly yet skimped a little bit when developing the single player narrative.
4 out of 5