Resistance 2: The Campaign
As you may or may not know, I was one of the few people that championed the greatness of Resistance: Fall of Man. It may not have set the world alight but it was the first game that introduced me to online gaming and through that, I met and made some great new friends. The game was pretty awesome fun too, offline and especially online!
Reminiscing aside, I’ve been mightily looking forward to Resistance 2 since it was announced. Now that I’ve put some serious hours into the Campaign, Co-operative and Competitive modes, I’ve came to the conclusion that as an overall package, Resistance 2 is fantastic value but it does have some flaws.
I’ll go through each mode separately, each with their own post, starting with the Campaign:
I enjoyed the Resistance single player campaign but not enough to replay it again. This was partly because I actually played online before even completing the 2nd level. I hopped between the different modes but never really got into the story, I was more interested in finishing the campaign so I could fully concentrate on the online multi-player.
For Resistance 2, I decided to prioritise the Campaign mode, making sure I finished it, before getting stuck into Co-op or Competitive. I absolutely loved the Campaign! I started out on Difficult mode and I had the most fun I’ve had with any FPS for a long time. The action was superb and hardly let up for the entire experience. For sheer action and mayhem, the Campaign mode was just fantastic fun.
Once I finished it on Difficult mode, I went straight on to Superhuman, which is a clear sign of how much I enjoyed the experience because I rarely play through games a 2nd time, especially straight after I had already completed the game.
One thing I will say about the difficulty in Resistance is that, well it isn’t actually that difficult. I never really had much trouble on either Difficult or Superhuman. In fact I only died around 47 times on Superhuman compared to roughly 78 on Difficult. OK, I knew where most attacks would come from and wasn’t surprised as much but the enemies weren’t that much tougher on Superhuman compared to Difficult. The Boss encounters were pretty much the same too.
The checkpoints, which I really liked, help to keep the game flowing and lowers the frustration factor of dying from surprise attacks. They probably contribute to making the game more accessible but at the same time lessening the difficulty factor. Whether you view that as a positive or negative is down to your personal preferences. I see them as a positive however.
CHIMERA, CHIMERA, CHAMELEON
The action was fast paced, with some great set pieces and the checkpoints make sure you never get punished for any surprise deaths (which can happen a lot first time through). There are some truly jaw dropping moments. When you first see the Golden Gate Bridge with the Chimeran battleships filling up the sky, it was definitely a 😯 moment.
Another stand out moment for me was my first encounter with a Chameleon. After it had decimated an unlucky soldier, I knew the next stage of the level was going to be a tense affair. I stuck right up to the right side of the level with my back against the trees and moved slowly making sure I had both sides and front covered for any impending attacks by the Predator like Chameleon. Not that I was particularly successful surviving my first attack from a Chameleon. 🙂
It was such a sharp contrast to the previous all guns blazing style that I had adopted in previous Chapters. You simply couldn’t go charging ahead if you wanted to survive, well you could but on your first play through you’d just be begging the Chameleon to seal your doom.
I thought that stage of the game was a nice change in pace to the previous levels. It made you wonder where the hell the next attack would come from and forced you to play more cautiously.
There are also some exceptional set pieces where you just can’t help but shout out obscenities as you blast away at enemies that out number you by at least 10 to 1 (that’s if you’re lucky).
One thing that Resistance 2 does really well is action packed gameplay. There is hardly any dull moments where you are wandering around aimlessly wondering where you should go or what you should do. It’s all about giving you crazy guns and throwing hordes of enemies at you while calling you names and slapping you around the face with a rubber glove!
Some people may not like the linear levels but they do keep the pace at a high level and removes any need to backtrack, unless you’ve ran out of ammo from blasting Chimeran scum. Again, I view this as a positive which enhanced the fun factor for me.
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS, SIR
One thing I loved about Resistance were the weapons, with the ability to choose between different weapons in the game, once they were added to your arsenal.
In R2 you can only carry 2 weapons at a time so you have to think about which two guns will suit your needs for the battles ahead. Sometimes you make the wrong choice, resulting in death, but there are plenty of weapons left around the battlefield after you’ve cut down the Chimeran pests.
Often you start out with weapons that the game knows will be perfect for the situation ahead if used properly. This could easily be viewed as the game holding your hand a little too much but you do have the choice to use other weapons when you stumble across them. And you will literally stumble across them.
As with the Ratchet & Clank games, Insomniac really do make the weapons the star of the show. The various weapons are what makes Resistance 2 so much fun. Old favourites like the Carbine and Auger are present while the Magnum is a great addition to your arsenal. One shot is usually enough to kill most standard Chimeran foot soldiers on Difficult but on Superhuman, you will definitely use the detonator more to deal extra damage.
Other weapons like the Splicer won’t make any Top 5 Weapons of Resistance 2 lists. They are all great fun to use though. Using the Splicer on onrushing Grims can be so satisfying when you see their limbs flying everywhere.
HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR GORE? GORY? OK…
This leads me to the gore factor in Resistance 2. Insomniac have really upped the level of gore in R2. I really can’t remember Resistance containing as many flying limbs and decapitations and general body parts splattering against walls while slowly sliding down them as are featured in Resistance 2.
When you destroy a Titan, you literally destroy it, with chunks of it’s body ending up all over the place. It’s all a little cartoony but some people could definitely be put off by it.
When you kill an enemy with a headshot, you hear a strangely satisfying brain splattering noise. The gore also continues into the co-op and online modes where exploding bodies are as common as a bullet in the back. That is very common in case you were wondering. 😉
Unlike Resistance, you are often accompanied by other members of the Sentinels (other humans who have been infected by the Chimeran virus but who have survived to fight on) and for the most part, they play their part well. You can’t sit back and let them do all the work and expect to progress but they won’t let you do your best Arnie from Commando either.
They can’t be killed during normal gameplay so you don’t feel as if you have to baby sit them either. They will take cover when heavily outnumbered but sometimes they just stand there as if they are pumped full of steroids and Human Growth Hormone, which is probably what it must feel like after a Chimeran has tried to mate with you and you’ve survived.
They do have flaws though. At one point I was making my way through a dark tunnel alongside Capelli, with pods everywhere, and for some bizarre reason Capelli started to do his best version of The Running Man while on top of a pile of rubble. I tried to melee him to make him snap out of it but it had no effect. I had no choice but to move on into what I knew would be a waiting ambush from hell. Luckily, he got attacked by a Grim which seemed to snap him out of it.
The enemy AI is also quite good. Often they will dive for cover when under heavy fire and change locations, trying to flank you or try to get a better shot at you. They will also dive to avoid any thrown grenades too, which is quite amusing to see.
On other occasions they will just charge at you asking to be shot in the face or stand in an open area with a big sign saying SHOOT ME PLEASE. REPEATEDLY.
There are occasions where the enemy seem to target you and only you, completely ignoring your fellow Sentinels or other soldiers. Maybe Hale had personally insulted the Queen of Chimera and questioned her sexuality…
The AI of the Bosses however were not impressive at all. I got the impression they were more a case of going for the wow factor in size and appearance, rather than be a real tactical challenge for you to overcome.
Still, I thought the AI in Resistance 2 was quite impressive overall and a step up on other FPS I have played in the past.
GRAPHICS, GLITCHES AND GREENERY
One area of R2 that really impressed me were the graphics and in particular, the lack of any screen tearing with no slowdown that I could see. Taking into account how much can be going on, on-screen at any given moment, this is truly an impressive feat by Insomniac. Far too many games have been plagued by screen tearing and slow down, which really effects the level of immersion I get from a game, yet R2 had absolutely none of either that I could see from both play throughs.
It’s also a far more colourful game than it’s prequel, with lush green forested areas and towns that look like people actually lived there at one point. The first Resistance was criticised for being too brown and grey in the palette department but this criticism can not be levelled at R2. Green is the new black, which makes no sense but something is always the new black so it’s green’s turn.
It’s not without it’s poor textures and other glitches though. There are some weird physics going on sometimes. I was moving my way through a house in Twin Falls, Idaho, moving room by room and banged into a bookcase. The bookcase flipped up into the air and got jammed halfway between the door. Only problem was it was the only way out of the room and I could neither jump over it or move it at all. I ended up turning off the game as a result. 😕
There have also been reports of cars humping buses… 😯
To be fair though, there really is an awful lot going on most of the time so I feel Insomniac deserves to be giving some leeway in this department.
STORY, WHAT STORY?!
Some of my friends feel that the way the story is told in Resistance 2 has taken a step back from Resistance, by losing the narrative that helped to fill in the blanks during your romp through the European Chimeran invasion. Unfortunately, I am guilty of not taking much notice of the story in Resistance and took even less notice in Resistance 2.
It really was all about the gunplay and action for me so maybe that says it all. I love a good story as much as the next story loving guy but that was one area in both games that never really hooked me in.
I will say that Hale is not the most likeable character in gaming history and giving him a voice in Resistance 2, has not really made him more ‘real’ to the player. I felt no connection towards his character at all.
As a single player experience, Resistance 2 is a big step up over Resistance. The graphics are a big improvement, the improved AI makes you think more tactically, the new weapons are all fun to use and the sheer number of enemies that you are faced with combined with the general fast pace of the gameplay, makes playing Resistance 2 a more exhilarating and enjoyable experience compared to Resistance.
I will write up my thoughts on the online Co-operative mode in the near future…