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December 21, 2008
Resistance 2 - PS3 Review
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Nathan Hale is back in Resistance 2.
It's been just over two years since the PS3 released in Japan, and about 21 months since the console hit shelves here in Australia, and we've seen a lot of titles come and go. But one title that stuck around for a bit longer than most was the launch release Resistance: Fall of Man by critically acclaimed Insomniac Games (responsible for the original Spyro games, Ratchet and Clank series, and more). Resistance offered an un-heard of 40-player online console multiplayer, a great single-player campaign and a new foundation for what has become one of the flagship studios for Sony's newest console. So it is no surprise that Resistance 2, the long-awaited sequel, has caused a stir on its release a few weeks ago. But is it really all its hyped up to be? Well, we've taken the time to give it a thorough playthrough so that we can bring you our verdict. So without further adieu, here it is.

Set immediately after the ending cut-scene of the first game, Resistance 2 kicks off with Nathan Hale undergoing a few tests and such and, as a result, being drafted into the Sentinels; a group of soldiers who have all been exposed to controlled amounts of the Chimeran virus, and as a result gained abilities that elevate them above the average soldier on the battlefield. Hale and his new squad set off for Iceland for a brief while to assist with the battle against the Chimeran hordes, before setting foot on American soil, which is where the majority of the game plays out.

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Sneaking around the Chimera.
From very early on, the story seems to take back seat a bit, with it really only resistance2ping up to provide objectives rather than to add depth to the gameplay experience. Unlike the first game, where the plot was really the driving force for the game's progression, this time around it's a much more traditional shooter affair, with the main goal in each area to survive and onslaught of enemies, kill them all, move to the next area, rinse and repeat as necessary. It's a proven formula that works well, but it is a bit unfortunate that the story loses focus here in this title, as the original Resistance had a nice fresh feel to it in that regard.

As for the gameplay itself, well, there have been quite a lot of changes from the first title. Beginning with the campaign mode; the game has a much more casual feel to it. It is much easier than the first title, and has a similar pick-up-and-play feel to it as games such as Halo and Haze. Carrying only two weapons at once, a more simple Ďsurvive and move on' mechanic, lack of any real puzzles, etc. These are all fairly prevalent qualities in Resistance 2, and while it may sound disappointing, it will more than likely captivate many more gamers than it would have if it was a truer sequel. In some ways, Resistance 2 feels much more like a game inspired by the Resistance series as opposed to a fully-fledged sequel. Sure, it has the same basic controls as far as what button does what, it has the same weapons, it has the same enemies (though they themselves have undergone some changes as well grown in number and variety), but it just doesn't have the same 'old-school shooter' feel to it. Whether this is a good or bad thing is going to change largely from person to person, depending on what your tastes are like with shooters.

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Resistance 2 - from the players viewpoint.
Multiplayer is split up into two categories. First off, there is the 8-player co-op mode. Now this isn't your standard co-operative affair. Instead of simply replaying the campaign with friends, you will actually find yourself playing parallel story missions to the main plot. Not only this, but Hale is not the character of choice. Instead, you play a mere normal soldier, who does not have the aid of the Chimeran virus flowing through his veins. Each player gets to choose one of three classes (soldier, medic or special ops) at the beginning of the game and all three will be needed to survive through the missions. Just like the main campaign, the primary focus here is to simply wipe out all enemies in each area; though other objectives will resistance2 up, you will almost always need to kill all enemies to complete them.

And finally, we have the mode that arguably makes or breaks first-person shooters these days; the competitive multiplayer. Thrown in with the normal modes, deathmatch, team deathmatch, a capture the flag variant (called core control) and the like, these modes support up to 60 players and in all our games we did not experience even the smallest evidence of lag. Each mode plays as you would expect it to, but perhaps the most interesting one is a unique mode called Skirmish.

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Now that's one hell of an enemy in Resistance 2!
In Skirmish players join teams of up to 30 that are separated into smaller squads. Each squad has a designated rival squad on the other team who will be competing for the same objectives, whilst team-mates on other squads will be fighting other rival squads. It adds some order to the chaos, but thankfully, towards the end of the match all teams are funnelled together in the middle of the map for a bit of fast-paced chaos. Skirmish does work reasonably, but once again, for the most part objectives simply feel like a kill-all-enemies-and-move-on affair as per the rest of the game. Of course, this time your enemies are the opposing team and they respawn, which adds a twist to it a bit.

For the most part, all the modes of Resistance 2 play well and provide a decent amount of enjoyment. They aren't perfect, and there is a very obvious influence from other games here more so than there was in the previous title. The competitive multiplayer borrows very heavily from Call of Duty, the story-telling mechanics and level design of the campaign are similar to Half-Life 2 and the overall gameplay mechanics of the game have taken a turn in the direction of more casual shooters such as Halo. All these changes make Resistance 2 seem a bit out of place with itself, but it will allow the game's fan base to grow more rapidly, providing a better community and multiplayer experience.

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Using the shields in Resistance 2.
Other than this, there are not a lot of flaws with Resistance 2. It's a bit too easy, even on Superhuman, bosses, whilst huge, go down without much difficulty, level progression feels very fabricated instead of organic as it should, and it really does just feel like much more than a grouping of battles against Chimeran hordes in parts, but it is a solid title that will interest most shooter fans.

Of course, with almost every shooter that has come out in the recent onslaught of titles that have been released, Resistance 2 looks great. Unlike most other shooters, however, there's not a strong element of realism here in the overall look. It certainly looks real...ish, but you can see the Ratchet and Clank engine running underneath with some of the effects (such as smoke). Some will complain about it, but it does lend a sense of unique character to the game that is void in some other shooters. Either way, it won't kill the immersion for most gamers. There are some low resolution textures that resistance2 up, but with the character models looking amazing and animation equally superb, a few mistakes here and there can be forgiven without much issue. Resistance 2 may not be the best looking shooter this year, but it's a pretty game that more than does the job.

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An early screen, the final game is just as good.
The same can be said for the music and effects of the game, which always seem to add the suitable depth and atmosphere to each of the games many levels and set-pieces. It's nothing amazingly memorable, but everything falls into place nicely and you can believe you are in the world as far as your ears are concerned.

Resistance 2 is a game that is going to do well. It's one of the biggest titles for the Playstation this year and will hopefully see massive sales over the holiday season. With its huge package of single player and both competitive and co-operation multiplayer modes, there's a lot to play and enjoy. With a huge multiplayer community already and the release of this sequel looking like an expansion of the community, Resistance 2 looks to set the PSN on fire. It's not the most loyal sequel we could have hoped for, but it's far from awful.

Review By: Mike Hutchesson

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GRAPHICSYou can see the Ratchet and Clank engine running, so things look a little cartoony at times, but overall it's a pretty game with awesome character models.
SOUNDSuitable music and effects add a lot of depth and feeling to the game.
GAMEPLAYIt's not very true to the first game in many ways, but its fun, and thatís what matters isnít it?
VALUEAbout 10 hours to the campaign, plus heaps of multiplayer fun to be had.
OVERALLIt's a good game that will sell heaps. Donít miss out on this, even if it could have been a bit truer to the first.

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