Resistance 2: A Legacy Is Born
It's been almost two years since we left Sgt. Nathan Hale in the ruined wastes of Europe, the lone survivor of the Chimera scourge. It's also been about two years since the PlayStation 3 launched with Fall of Man as its premiere piece of software and brand new franchise packed with impressive graphics and huge multiplayer capabilities. Has the sequel cemented a legacy, or will this resistance be crushed?
Things pick up immediately after the first game, with Hale being taken in by the black-ops Special Research Projects Agency, or SRPA. Hale, infected but resistant to the Chimeran virus, joins up with others like him, called Sentinel, as the Chimera decide to invade the United States.
The game unfolds across the US and a few other choice locales as Hale and his compatriots fend off the onslaught. Hale's humanity is slowly stripped away, leaving him as a walking dead for Chimera indoctrination. The tale is told through various cutscenes, in-game cinemas, and background-spilling documents strewn throughout the levels.
The futuristic 1950's setting never really becomes fleshed-out, since most of the time is spent just trying to survive. Yet the story makes for some pretty good action movie material, with constant doom on the horizon and every victory met with another catastrophe. A more tangible, sinister villain also helps focus the ire of the campaign.
This time around the boys at Insomniac have decided to fall more in line with modern shooter perceptions. The traditional health bar is gone-replaced by a regenerating one. You're limited to two weapons at a time, thankfully all with an alternate fire, with some new pieces entering the arsenal, like the limb-tearing ripper.
Vehicle segments are AWOL this time around, but levels are much more diverse and keep a good pace going, as you take on new Chimera like the brainless Grims and the cloaked Chameleons--often with the help of fellow Sentinels or the regular army. There are some exquisite locations with a wider spectrum of colors, but our old friend the invisible wall returns, striking down many tactical plays.
Weapon experimentation isn't exactly encouraged. The most appropriate armament always seems to be conveniently available at each scenario, and death sometimes has you restart at a checkpoint with a different gun than you had, and it's usually more apt to do the job. Sometimes the vastness of an area will make you think that surviving it is open to interpretation, but the game's fairly linear overall.
Multiplayer comes in two flavors. There's the traditional competitive option where up to 60 players can duke it out in a variety of game modes, and a new cooperative campaign that's unlike anything seen in first-person shooters.
Competitive is fun and the big battles can get chaotic and bloody. Mixing a VIP element into a control point game works really well, while traditional deathmatches are easy to jump in and enjoy.
The eight-player cooperative is a whole new beast. Let it be said: you can't play the single-player campaign with a friend, and cooperative doesn't offer the same style of play. It's more World of Warcraft than Call of Duty. There are three classes, one can take damage, one can dish it out, and another can heal it. You'll be sticking to your role, as enemies soak up the damage and expel XP with every bullet-their hit points scaling based upon the player's level. The pace is very different from what you'd expect, and takes some getting used to, but it offers an experience like no other.
All three modes are finally cinched together with the XP. You level up, acquire new items, and unlock skins and the like to customize your character. No matter what you're doing, you're always making progress, which gives Resistance 2 a deep well of rewards. It may be a little inflated, but Call of Duty 4's prestige mode can testify that if you make it attainable, someone will unlock it.