Sony Resistance 2

Resistance 2 is a game all about numbers.

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Sony Resistance 2
  • Sony Resistance 2
  • Sony Resistance 2
  • Sony Resistance 2

Pros

  • Enjoyable online play, plenty of unlockable equipment, tight controls, intoxicatingly powerful weapons

Cons

  • Uneven graphics and production values, cookie-cutter online stages, frustrating trial-and-error campaign challenges, skimpy storytelling

Bottom Line

Bigger, badder and better than the first, Resistance 2 improves upon the formula set by its predecessor in almost every way. Unfortunately, a handful of minor issues, such as less than stellar graphics, keep this game from reaching the high bar set by competing titles like Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War 2. Still, with its interesting single-player campaign and robust online component, Resistance 2 has plenty to offer any PS3 owner looking for a quick and easy shooter fix.

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Resistance 2 is a game all about numbers. In this quirky but enjoyable PlayStation 3 shooter, you'll take on a 300 foot-tall Leviathan in the single-player campaign, blast countless hordes in the eight-player cooperative mode, and shoot it out with 60 players in online competitive matches. These three modes -- campaign, cooperative, and competitive -- embody the entirety of the Resistance 2 experience, and to see the big picture you'll have to play them all.

By the Numbers

Most players will begin their Resistance 2 experience by firing up the campaign mode, which centers once again on Nathan Hale. Hale, who has been exposed to the Chimera infection, must launch a last-ditch effort to halt the Chimera's advance before he succumbs to his condition and joins their ranks as a half-human, half-alien hybrid. The storytelling in the campaign mode is rather simplistic, consisting of urgent military chatter and some brief cinema scenes, but the core plot thread concerning Nathan Hale's fading humanity does become more compelling during the game's final hours. Don't expect to learn many new insights into the mysterious Chimera, though -- developer Insomniac Games must be saving those secrets for the inevitable Resistance 3.

The single-player campaign is comprised of a straightforward series of battles, but the arsenal of exotic firepower gives the gameplay a punch that many other shooters lack. My favorite weapons were the Magnum, a revolver that fires remote-detonated explosive rounds, and the Marksman, a burst-fire rifle that can also emit a slow-moving pulse charge to repeatedly zap nearby enemies. Hale is also a nimble fighter, which adds to the fun as you can zip up to enemies quickly to deliver a deadly melee attack. These tight shooter mechanics keep the moment-to-moment action fast and addictive, even when the scenarios are forgettable. The biggest stumbles in the campaign, though, come during a series of frustrating trial-and-error encounters in which you're expected to proceed without being told exactly what to do or where to go. The solution is usually to keep shooting until the Chimera reinforcements stop coming, but other times the answer is more elusive and requires repeated experimentation. These moments can be frustrating.

Online: The Secret Weapon

The online cooperative play mode, on the other hand, follows another set of rules entirely. Up to eight players can mow down endless hordes of enemy Chimera, earning experience points that unlock new skills, weapons, and armor. It's a formula that Call of Duty players know and love, and it helps keep your interest high even when the battles grow repetitive. In cooperative play, the mission variety is low and usually takes the form of button-pressing errands or mini-boss battles. The goal here is obviously to deliver a fast-paced MMO-lite shooter experience; unfortunately, as with any MMO, repetition will be a turn-off to some players.

This is especially important to note because Resistance 2's co-op experience is an almost nonstop bombardment of incoming projectiles and running, screeching Chimera attackers. To stay alive, the three different character classes must work closely together: Soldiers stand on the frontlines to absorb punishment with their energy shields, Spec-Ops players toss out ammo to keep the Soldiers going, and Medics must keep the other two classes alive. If any one of these three classes fails to deliver, the whole team will fall apart in seconds. As such, your level of enjoyment is largely determined by the company you keep. Play with thoughtless teammates who don't heal or dispense ammunition, and you'll be reaching for the power button in no time. But if you play with competent partners, you'll get a rush out of collecting new gear and "Berserk" abilities for your different character classes. Co-op isn't the most polished of the game's three play modes, yet it may prove to be the most rewarding over the long haul due to its quirky but enjoyable teamplay dynamics.

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