A couple of years ago the PS3 was launched, alongside some surprisingly good launch titles. Perhaps the most significant of these was Resistance: Fall of Man, the PS3 exclusive FPS. It managed to weave together a good storyline, some quality graphics along with solid controls, and a great multiplayer experience. Well, fans of Resistance rejoice, because finally, Resistance 2 is upon us, and it improves upon the original in just about every aspect.
From the moment you begin the single player campaign, Resistance 2 really is something special. It picks up right where the original Resistance left off, putting you in the shoes of the infected Nathan Hale, and it really throws you straight into the action. There is no boring tutorial that involves going through some training course, or even an easy level with only a handful of enemies. In Resistance 2, you get thrown right in the deep end. Right from the get-go it is immediately apparent that you are part of a huge scale war, and you learn how to play the game by simply being shoved into this war. You do of course get tooltips and the like to help you along your way, which does a great job of teaching you the basics without intruding upon the gameplay. Putting it bluntly, this is the way a player should be taught how to play the game. On top of this, the gameplay controls and mechanics are very easy to pick up on. If you have played the original Resistance you will feel right at home. If not, it only takes a couple of minutes before you are blasting away at the Chimera like nobodies business. The controls are simple, responsive, and pretty much perfect in every way.
The single player campaign in Resistance 2 is one of the best single player shooter experiences I have ever experienced. It's masterfully paced, providing plenty of challenge for the whole 10 hours. Most of this is due to just how epic the game feels. There are often huge amounts of enemies on screen at any one time, and you always feel like you are actually part of a war, which is something a lot of shooters fail to capture. The boss fights are spectacular and tend to be huge in scale, with a personal favourite of mine being the fight with Chimera Kraken right near the start of the game. It's not just boss fights that feel amazing either. There are lots of moments in the game which quite simply make your jaw drop at how well they are done. The best example of this is in a cutscene when your convoy gets ambushed, and you see people around you getting mowed down left right and centre. You are then thrust into the action, and are forced to fight your way to safety, all the while bullets are whizzing past your head from the sneakily hidden Chimera in the surrounding forest. It truly feels spectacular. I was however a bit disappointed with the story, which can be a bit of a let down. Whilst it isn't particularly bad, it isn't very good either, and a lot of this is down to the focus being much more on the player, rather than the war as a whole. Still, considering how good the campaign mode is, it is easy to let this slide.
Another huge positive is the weapon design. Whilst some people may complain that there are only 12 weapons in the game, most of these weapons are wonderfully unique, and all of them have a secondary fire. For example, the Chimera machine gun, the Bullseye, has a secondary fire mode which allows you to 'tag' an enemy, so that all bullets fired will target that enemy, regardless of where you may be aiming. So, you can step out of cover, tag a Chimera, and then unload your clip from the safety of cover, confident in the fact that your bullets will bend round the corner to hit that Chimera. These secondary fire modes often add a lot of tactics to the gunplay, and really help mix things up.
Moving on, the multiplayer modes are just as, if not more impressive than the single player campaign. First up, there is an 8 player co-op mode, which is really quite something. You can go online and hook up with 7 other players and jump into a co-op campaign. In this campaign you play as a 'Spectre', elite soldiers which Nathan Hale is part of. The co-op missions run alongside the single player missions, so you really get the feeling that there are more people fighting in this war than Nathan. When you enter a co-op game you need to choose what class you would like to play as, Medic (Healer), Soldier (Tank) or Spec Ops (Damage dealer). What this results in is a shooter which has some MMORPG elements to it, with all 3 classes having to work together and play to their strengths to survive. As you progress through the co-op campaign you will earn XP, which can be used to unlock new looks for your character, new weapons, and new berserk moves. These berserk moves can be triggered when you earn enough XP, and range from improved radar range, to increased damage, to the ability to place down a healing aura. There really is no other co-op shooter experience like this, and it is one that you should definitely play.
Then there is the competitive multiplayer mode which supports up to 60 players. That's right, 60! Even though a lot of the game types have all been done before such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, it is so much more fun and frantic with 30 players per side. The game type where the competitive multiplayer really stands out however, is Skirmish. In this game type each squad (consisting of 5 players) gets given objectives to complete, such as taking control of a node, or eliminating a target. The opposing team will be tasked with either stopping, or beating you to the objective. It's difficult to explain just how awesome this game type is, so you will just have to trust me when I tell you that it is amazing. To top it all off, I experienced very few cases of lag when playing online, and even then the lag was only very minor. You will be hard pressed to find a better multiplayer shooter on the PS3.
Graphically, Resistance 2 also puts in a stellar performance. Generally things look crisp and sharp, and it all runs very smoothly, which is a brilliant technical achievement considering everything that can be going on at any one time, and the large number of enemies on screen. There are a couple of issues with some textures being a bit muddy and low-res, and there are some texture pop-in and tearing issues, but overall Resistance 2 is quite the looker. The audio in the game is equally impressive, with some solid voice acting, and a rousing musical score. Top it all off with some fantastic 5.1 surround sound effects and this is definitely a game worthy of a good home cinema setup.
Resistance 2 does a fantastic job of improving on the original game, and is one of the best shooters available for the PS3. The single player campaign is an absolute blast, and the incredible multiplayer modes will keep you playing for months. The bottom line, if you own a PS3, you need to own this game.