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Old 12-09-2008, 03:32 AM   #1
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[PS3] - Resistance 2 Review

Title: Resistance 2
Platform: PS3
Platform Reviewed: PS3
Developer: Insomniac
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
MSRP: $59.99, £39.99, €59.99
Writer: Martin 'lost' Perry

Resistance 2

The PS3's other big first person shooter franchise returns with it's second game and that is perhaps it's biggest problem.

Resistance: Fall of Man was one of the few launch titles worth buying for Sony's latest console. Although opinion was somewhat divided the general consensus was that it was worth playing and, importantly for the fledgling console, gave the brand a valuable exclusive. After success with new Ratchet & Clank titles Insomniac has returned to the period piece with new gusto and a bigger focus on...big!

For those of you who don't remember the original Resistance was set in the UK around the time of the second world war. The idea: some bizarre creatures have taken Europe and you must defend Her Majesty's shores from this Chimera invasion. The concept was arguably it's strongest point with plenty of sights to see and plenty of originality at a time when the FPS was in a particularly stagnant period. Unfortunately this second title has lost a lot of the charm and ingenuity that divided opinions so strongly.

First things first, the series has inevitably moved to the US and plays out across a deluge of different cities and locations including Chicago, Louisiana and Idaho. With the first game you shuddered at the thought that alien creatures could rain down gun-fire from the Towers of London. It is, after all, a globally recognised landmark. That effect is lost completely if all you seem to be fighting for is a nameless diner. It's nothing to do with my geography skills either, these just aren't the prime spots in which to stage a call to arms. Whilst marketing for the game has put you in that familiar role of mankind's only savior it doesn't carry past the opening scene. There doesn't appear to be much humanity to save, it appears we have all relocated since army men and beasts made our towns into shooting galleries. All the levels in Resistance 2 are designed like the worst of Resistance: Fall of Man.


You may or may not be aware of a new development strategy over at Insomniac in which, for the larger part of development time, rough graphics are used in order to allow programmers to get on with their jobs quicker. Come the end the fancy stuff is put in and the game is ready to ship. Resistance 2 is a pretty strong counter argument to this strategy. If I spend 2 years making a square brick fit through a square hole the most I can ever do to that brick is round off it's edges. It's an artistic concession that has a very negative impact on the level design. Grand concepts make way to manageable corridors, ingenious invention concedes to easier options. This all forces Insomniac to try and compensate.

The designers appear to have misunderstood the value of scale. Throughout the game giant aircraft will float above your head and similarly huge constructs are explored throughout the game. Heck, even enemies have got bigger with new huge Titans to take down. It's simply not enough to make things big, you have to make the player feel overcome by the force they are opposing. Resistance 2 delivers technical marvels but with little style or substance. Bigger enemies need more bullets, bigger areas need more walking but bigger aircraft apparently need far less staff aboard. It's size for the sake of size and comes across as immature design.

Charm is further eradicated through the storytelling and character development. The first game in the series was narrated by a female character and the story of Nathan Hale told in the past-tense. This was a pretty fresh way to do things which hasn't made the cut this time around. Instead we have pre-rendered cutscenes filled with the usual machismo, helicopter flights and very little flair. Our protagonist was never the most interesting man in the first place and relied on the first games devices to support his character. I, quite literally, could not give less of a shit about the guy after playing through his story. Quite simply, there was never any attempt to make me.

However, that's enough about the dilution of a great concept. Resistance 2 does a lot of things very well and redeems itself enough to make it a worthwhile purchase or rental. The clever weapons make a return including the Bullseye, a gun that allows you to tag enemies so that bullets will curve around corners in order to hit their target. Gun fights are most enjoyable when you take it upon yourself to attack them with a bit of ingenuity. Stick to the standard assault rifle and things will be pretty dull but use the novelty add-ons to overcome the enemy and things take a step-up. It's a shame that Insomniac didn't see fit to try out a few more new ideas in this regard, they have a very strong history of interesting new ways to kill people.

Plenty of cover is provided but most of it tends to take the form of explosion prone cars. It's a weird motion to try and trick an enemy in blowing up something so you can use it as cover. This can result in cheap deaths but none as cheap as the new Chameleon enemies. Invisible berserker monsters that create areas of pure trial and error. They should have been cut in order to make way for more of the entertaining gun fights. Despite the games serious veneer the battles play out a lot like Serious Sam. Waves of enemies firing shiny projectiles at you whilst you desperately try to mow them down. This isn't a negative fact, just one you should accept quickly. Try and play this like those other big-name shooters and you'll soon be disappointed. There is very little strategy here but plenty of carnage.

It's an attitude that carries itself into the online part of the game. The much talked about 60 man battles play out much like you would expect them to. Loud, crass clusterfucks which invoke a stronger sense of danger and tension than the single-player game can muster. The usual modes are here and a thinly-veiled mission mode is called a co-operative campaign. It isn't – it's just a set of missions within what feel like normal multiplayer maps. Progression in this mode is stilted to, forcing you to replay before you can even pass to the second map. Your enjoyment of the multiplayer aspect of the game revolves around that same concession, Resistance 2 simply isn't the brightest tool on the shelf.

The visuals are pretty good. Whilst the scale of things doesn't add anything to gameplay it does make for a few interesting sights. Occasional inconsistencies in the quality of presentation can easily be blamed on the aforementioned design strategy and the game makes up for them with scenes like Louisiana. Here the swamp hums with life and, unlike a desert level, captures the feeling of an original location exceptionally well. One particular gripe, and I only mention it because it's quite so terrible, is a section set atop a missile defense style tower. From your spot in the sky you look down on a countryside that resembles a 1992 flight simulator. The Chimera are modeled a lot nicer than the humans but it's those cold eyes you'll stare into the most. Resistance 2 has the production values, they just seem a little slapdash in spots.

Audio, on the other hand, sucks. I had to fiddle around with the volume settings just to get things to sit in the right order. Dialog is mostly covered in a poorly fitting radio hiss and gunfire is overly subdued in order to allow dull music to add seemingly nothing to the scene. Once you have things set-up right it's just about passable but it all seems like an afterthought. The game needed a thundering orchestral score will equally ferocious effects but instead things feel limp. Insomniacs most recent full title, Ratchet and Clank Future, had outstanding audio and it seems strange that things would drop so hard.

All in all Resistance 2 is a worthwhile title that falls short of expectations and the standards of it's developer. The charm has gone and the impact of making it a period piece evaporates because of a new modern veneer. It has a bad case of “second-game-itis” with the story and locations all feeling like a stepping stone for the real American Resistance. However, take the game as a dumb shooter with a few neat weapon ideas and there's plenty of fun to be had. Insomniac should listen to critics less and believe in the strengths of the franchise. But then...I guess that makes this article is pretty redundant.
Score: 3 out of 5


The Good
  • Chaotic firefights deliver loud, smashy fun.
  • The cool weapons make a return with a few new additions.
  • Online play is silky smooth and very robust.

The Bad
  • Locations are bland and feel second-rate.
  • Co-operative campaign has been hyped a little too much.
  • Scale is a poor compensation for passionate, innovative design.

The Ugly
  • The charm has been completely sucked out of the series.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:08 AM   #2
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The charm has been completely sucked out of the series.
That is rather serious.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:44 AM   #3
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This review basically unsold me on the game. I think I will wait till the summer drought and just rent it then.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:55 AM   #4
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Resistance 2 gets a 3/5 on EA... go figure. I didn't think anyone from this site would rate it that high.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:15 AM   #5
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I actually liked the first one. However, a blah review and more importantly -- TOO MANY GAMES! Maybe later.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:40 AM   #6
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Actually I felt the 8 player, 3 class coop mode with level grind was pretty cool and bought it just for that.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:19 AM   #7
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I played a friend's copy for the first level and it interested me, but not enough to race out and pick it up. I will wait until the drougt hits.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:28 AM   #8
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i thought the game was awesome. very gripping, very fun, kept me hooked for the entire rental.....
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:10 AM   #9
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I really liked the game, definitely worth the $50 to me. All three modes are solid, and fun. (campaign, coop and competitive) Then again I liked serious sam, so blasting through tons of aliens is fun to me. I think the weakest mode is competitive since if you want to play ranked games you are very limited in game options and there is no auto balance. (Being worked on in a patch I believe). Opinions I guess. Still I wouldn't base whether you will buy a game on one review anyway.

Edit: (Especially when its Evilavatar reviewing a ps3 game)

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Old 12-09-2008, 10:11 AM   #10
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Resistance 1 had one of the better single player experiences, even better than any Halo game had in the singleplayer campaign, it managed to have a fun game without repeating level design and too many lame moments.

Resistance 2 though was way worse than any shitty halo outing they went with the idea of "lets throw EVERYTHING at you all at once" and it was very cheap most times and very lame.

The co-op has all the charm of Serious Sam, then again you can say that about alot of games these days like Left4dead. Simple is NOT better.
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:43 PM   #11
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Resistance 1 had one of the better single player experiences, even better than any Halo game had in the singleplayer campaign, it managed to have a fun game without repeating level design and too many lame moments.

Resistance 2 though was way worse than any shitty halo outing they went with the idea of "lets throw EVERYTHING at you all at once" and it was very cheap most times and very lame.
Thats funny, to me R1 felt nothing like Halo, but R2 did. Infact thats what was going through my head when playing it. "This is kind of like the Halo campaign but better". I liked Halo, I even liked its single player campaign.
I can't beleive people complain about the cameleons. If you have your sound on at all you can hear them coming a mile away. (Rumble too) You must have the reaction time of a 80 year old if you get killed by them more than once.

See when I read this ""lets throw EVERYTHING at you all at once" and it was very cheap most times" all I see in my head is "game is too hard, I like easy games where I don't die".
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:55 PM   #12
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Resistance 2 gets a 3/5 on EA... go figure. I didn't think anyone from this site would rate it that high.
Seems like a fair score.

Now, is this the one with the really short singleplayer?
Otherwise I may pick it up.
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Old 12-09-2008, 02:01 PM   #13
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Resistance 2 gets a 3/5 on EA... go figure. I didn't think anyone from this site would rate it that high.
I'm a bit of a Sony man at heart so there was really no negative bias to the review.

Indeed I tend to review most multiplatform titles on the console and gave a 5 to LBP.
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Old 12-09-2008, 02:16 PM   #14
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To each his own and all that but I will say that R2 has gotten much more playtime for me than Gears 2 did. In my opinion, Gears 2 was much more of the same than this one.
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:44 PM   #15
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Seems like a fair score.

Now, is this the one with the really short singleplayer?
Otherwise I may pick it up.
Of course it's fair... it's his opinion. I just find it odd when people take that as the only opinion that should count towards the game.

Looking at metacritic there are currently 64 review averaging 87%.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:07 PM   #16
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Of course it's fair... it's his opinion. I just find it odd when people take that as the only opinion that should count towards the game.

Looking at metacritic there are currently 64 review averaging 87%.

I don't get it.
This was clearly labeled as a review.
What does this have to do with metacritic?

You can write a review and post it to a site you are a mod for and it would be just as cool.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:30 PM   #17
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I don't get it.
This was clearly labeled as a review.
What does this have to do with metacritic?

You can write a review and post it to a site you are a mod for and it would be just as cool.
Perhaps I was unclear. I was referring to comments such as this one:

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Originally Posted by shpankey View Post
This review basically unsold me on the game. I think I will wait till the summer drought and just rent it then.
I have seen this on this site before where there is a review of the game here... one review, and people are ready to lose interest in the game.

I just find it odd that people would take just one opinion of a game, no matter how credible that person is, as their deciding factor for purchasing vs. renting. That is why I mentioned metacritic.

I hope that clears it up for you
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:04 PM   #18
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Did I just get called credible?

Sweet!
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:09 PM   #19
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I have seen this on this site before where there is a review of the game here... one review, and people are ready to lose interest in the game.


I hope that clears it up for you
Makes sense.
Some people, they just need any reason to not buy the game.
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:56 PM   #20
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Anyone else want to throw their hat in the ring on this one? I still have interest in it.
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