You are Nathan Hale, an American soldier battling the Chimera, a legion of humans infected with the zombie virus in Sony’s Resistance 2.
I’ve always had my doubts about games that get given away for free, especially AAA-releases. But Sony have been backed into a corner thanks to the slow uptake of Blu-Ray and a lack of love, good games and utility for the PS3. They need people to buy the PS3, and they’re hedging their bets that throwing in a big game for free will make you do it.
Resistance 2 is one of those games and the sequel for the hit Resistance: Fall of Man. You’re playing Nathan Hale, an American soldier battling the Chimera, a legion of humans infected with the zombie virus. Hale got infected in the first game, but it was a blessing in disguise: he was able to turn the tide for humanity and save the day.
So how do the authorities show their gratitude? By capturing Hale and imprisoning him within the underground facility of a secret organisation for two years.
As it turns out, the United States set up this secret facility to – shock horror – test the Chimera virus on soldiers to create more Hale-like superheros. As the facility predictably gets attacked and starts to fall apart, you make your escape only to see the reality – it’s time to save the Earth, and all it’s ungrateful citizens, once more.
That’s about as much sense as the game will ever make, and even that much you have to discover for yourself. Resistance 2 doesn’t offer you the storyline, instead feeding you information through pieces of “intel” which you’ll have to find for yourself. The setting doesn’t make sense either. You’re apparently in an alternate reality around the ’50s, but the alien spaceships floating in the sky and the shoulder-mounted-thermonuclear-warhead cannon spoiled the illusion for me.
In fact, the whole single-player campaign is a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. While the combat system and firefights work well, the lack of creativity is not. If you’re not wading through a storm of bullets, you’re getting dragged along by the thin plot to intentionally frustrating set pieces designed to kill you. There’s no way to avoid them halfway through. You have to know what’s coming, or your dead – end of story. It’s lazy and an artificial way to lengthen gameplay.
Not all of the set pieces are suicide-inducing though. When you first step out of the underground bunker, only to see the scale of the invasion, you’ll be blown away. The gigantic natue of the Chimera attack fleet is staggering, and it’s a wonderful experience in a game. And given all of the set pieces involve lots of shooting, it’s a bonus that the combat works so well; bullet-time in particular is especially gratifying when enemies are sent cartwheeling into the sky or flying off in other unpredictable ways. It’s childish, but hugely entertaining.
That said, Resistance 2 isn’t really meant to be a solo experience. The co-operative, class-based, 8 player mode outshines the campaign by a country mile. Resistance 2 offers a leveling system and tons of unlockables for plenty of hours of squad-based fun. Neither concept is original, but it’s executed well and that’s a trick for Insomniac. The only downside is that you can’t play through the campaign with a friend, but the scenarios and boss fights provided make sure you won’t miss it.
But I haven’t even gotten to the best part of Resistance 2 yet – the multiplayer. Or specifically, the size of the multiplayer – 60 players maximum.
Granted, I didn’t see any servers with 60 players, but around 30 to 40 players worked admirably well. It’s structured too, which is a great way to help avoid the chaos you encounter in games with less than half the player limit. Each team is broken up into smaller squads with certain objectives, but you’re not tied into them; get bored and you’re more than welcome to hunt the enemy, which allows tons of variety by itself.
All things considered, Resistance 2 is a solid game. It improves upon the original in every way, even if it makes way for new flaws, namely a lazy single-player campaign. If you enjoy your shooters, you’ll still have fun – just make sure you play Resistance 2 online, or you’ll be missing out.