- Technology + Graphics: R1 looked good, but I was slightly underwhelmed by the R2 beta: it was definitely better, but I wasn’t blown away. After playing the single-player campaign: wow! This blew me away. I think that the single player campaign is a much better showcase for the visuals and technology of this game. The environments are consistently spectacular, the animation of the enemies is very lifelike, and the fire effects and water effects are awesome (I wasn’t impressed by the use of water in the beta co-op level).
- Beautiful bosses: I tend to prefer regular gameplay to bosses, but the bosses in this game are really spectacular.
- Variety: The great thing about R1 was the variety. Of course, the game has a reputation for weapon variety, but beyond that, there was an awesome variety of enemy types (widely varying sizes, behaviors, locomotion, and combat mechanics) and a wide variety of level types (claustrophic corridor shooter levels, epic mass-scale warfare levels, etc). R2 improves on this on every front.
- Action is Great: This is subjective, but the action is spot-on. The enemies are challenging, they move realistically, the AI is fun, the pacing and levels and environments are varied, the weaponry feels just right. This is easily my personal favorite single-player shooter shooter by a long-shot, but this is highly subjective, and if you weren’t impressed by R1, this might not win you over.
- Fixed Problems from R1: R1 had some plain environments (mixed in with some awesome ones) and the first few levels were a little slow before the game got really good. So far, R2′s environments are consistently gorgeous and the game is awesome right from the start.
- Scripted: Some of the sections are very heavily produced and they have a scripted feel to them. The first level is a good example of this (still a cool, exciting level on the whole). Most of the game doesn’t have this scripted feel, but this is still worth mentioning.
- Story: The storyline is OK. It’s not terrible and it’s not intrusive on the gameplay, but it’s not great.
- Traditional Shooter: This is a fairly traditional, yet highly polished shooter.
- Obvious Influences: Many influences from other shooters are fairly obvious. This delivers plenty of improvements and innovations to make this its own unique experience, but the readily apparent influences are noteworthy.
Based on the first three levels, this game is spectacular. It still feels very fresh, fun, and exciting. It adds to the shooter genre on just about every front. Although I know others have good reasons to disagree, personally, I’d say this is the best shooter of today.
Written by: Darrin
- Contributing Editor