Review: Resistance 2 Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger!
In Resistance 2, the sequel continues where the first installment, Fall of Man, ended. Lt. Nathan Hale, stranded after an intense battle against the Chimera in London, wanders aimlessly through an English blizzard. When hope for rescue is almost lost, the buzzing of a helicopter swoops below the clouds and lands at his six. It's the Americans! The U.S. soldiers forcefully detain and sedate Hale, then fly to Iceland for testing and evaluation. Unbeknown to Hale, his mission soon continues.
Before the fight against the Chimera commences, a 1.20 version update is required. This download slows the advance toward the Chimera by only five minutes at 24mb. Thereafter, get ready to frag on!
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Initially, the quality of the graphics is questionable, due to the prevalence of dark rooms and destroyed scenery. However, the lackluster graphics play well to the disorientated Lieutenant's story-line. Once Hale reaches the outdoors, immediately the graphics begin to shine. The colors are vivid with improved details to the environment, weaponry, and Chimera enemies. Also, cutscenes from narrated camera shots to cinematic scenes were long overdue. We'll consider the lack of initial cinematography a newcomer's budget. One downside to the cinematic scenes is the difficulty to understand dialogue during background environmental noises like explosions. Perhaps these scenes are orchestrated in this fashion to mimic actual audible distractions of war.
San Francisco, Pre-Modern America
Despite the minor complaint about dialogue, all else "sounds" great. A traditional first-person shooter soundtrack remains intact with fewer scenes of silence and background noises. Reason being, battles have intensified. Sound effects receive an enhanced level of clarity from changing weapons, firefights, and Chameleons (Oh yeah! We'll get to them shortly) charging to Hale's onslaught. All these enhancements aid our hero's tactical awareness.
Thankfully, controls were revised and are now easier to comprehend compared to Fall of Man. If the first installment was troublesome, try again with this sequel's improved control scheme. Most notable revisions are firing triggers: R1 for Primary and R2 for Alternate while aiming with L1. Plus, Hale carries only two weapons at a time - eliminating weapon cycling through an extensive arsenal in the heat of battle. A new running feature was added along with a variant Sixxaxis function. Shaking the controller will melee attack vice shaking an enemy off Hale. It seems Chimera rather kill than snack. Adjusting to the revised controller layout is minor, its overall impact is for the better.
Bigger, badder Chimera!
As for the Chimera, they are now "harder, better, faster, and stronger." The Chimera have a thorough understanding about ground combat. These creatures are strategically placed throughout the battlefield, which cleverly reveal themselves at a moment's notice. Be warned, they have mastered the element of surprise and grown a pair of cojones by attacking fearlessly. Aggressors will run toward Hale attempting a melee attack or in efforts to surround and kill. No doubt after the London extermination, these once homo-sapiens are plenty pissed with Hale's name written all over it. Prepare to utilize a run-and-gun or duck-and-cover technique. Although, don't run too far! Chameleons are posted everywhere. These swift, invisible Chimeras are randomly posted throughout, usually in packs of two or three. They'll charge toward Hale and bitch slap him; mercilessly sending him to his immediate death. The only warning of their presence is a three second thunderous charge and roar. Our word of advice is not to hesitate and squeeze the trigger when you hear these recognizable signs. Assuming Hale is a Chimera hybrid, he has the ability to regenerate. No health bar system is used, only on-screen blood with the sound of heavy, faster heartbeats signaling Hale's impending death.
Regarding hardware, there's more alien technology to encounter compared to a cold-war after state in the first release. Weapons were upgraded with a few new introductions. One upgrade is the Auger. It highlights enemies in bright yellow, easily defining targets through walls and secondary fire deploys a wider shield. (Not to mention, the enemies shields are wider too!) A few new weapons are the Magnum and Marksman. The magnum revolver fires one bullet: one shot, one kill for lower-leveled Chimera. Pressing the Magnum's alternate trigger ignites the round as a bomb. Pretty sweet, huh? We think so. The Marksman is a semi-automatic rifle with a scope shield. This is our new favorite weapon. It's a hybrid between a semi-automatic and sniper rifle.
Storytelling changed from reliving Hale's past adventure from third-person to a real-time event in first-person. Logically, this perspective increases the mindset of action. There's more interaction with the environment as you trudge onward against the Chimera, such as entering homes, scaling wrecked rail cars, and exploring Chimeran ships. Speaking of exploring, classified documents or intel are easily discoverable. Intel provides further meanings to the story-line, but we wish it would provide further clues to destroying particular Chimeras or bosses. In an mindset of non-stop action in Resistance 2, pausing a firefight to read a 2-3 page intel document is not likely. Besides, hints are provided via pop-up windows along the way. We believe an improved usage for integrating intel documents would be appreciated or developers should have removed the idea altogether.
Unfortunately, we couldn't review the multiplayer aspect of the game. Being said, having the ability to co-op play online up-to 8 players is fantastic. Not to mention the massive multiplayer action allows up-to 60 competitive players. We can note Resistance 2 simplifies the process of inviting friends for online co-op play in the menu system. As we announced earlier, trophies are supported in Resistance 2.
Overall, Resistance 2 has improved from its infancy. The graphics are detailed and cinematic cutscenes are now provided. New battlefields are introduced through pre-modern America and Chimera environments with harder, better, faster, stronger Chimera to fight. Sound effects from a charging Chameleons improves Hale's tactical awareness where sight is invaluable. The story-line is livelier with a first-person perspective instead of third-person. The controls are thankfully revised and weapons are easier to manage. We recommend Resistance 2 as it's clearly an improvement from Fall of Man with no major gripes.
Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: 04 Nov 2008
Pros: Improved graphics, revised controls, and simplified weapons management
Cons: Intel feature not important and dialogue during cutscene difficult to decipher
PS3 Informer Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5