Resistance 2 is a science fiction first person shooter developed by Insomniac Games (known for Ratchet & Clank) released in 2008. I have slowly been losing interest in first person shooters lately, but after hearing one of my favorite journalists rave about it for years I finally decided to give this one a shot.
The story picks up where Resistance: Fall of Man left off which was released two years prior. Here’s a little background information for those who missed the first game: the setting is in Britain during 1951 and the protagonist, Sgt. Nathan Hale, is trying to lead a human resistance force in getting rid of a strange alien-like invasion. An alien race known as the Chimera have spread through Europe and are infecting humans virally, which causes them to mutate into similar Chimeran monsters. Hale eventually saves Britain, but is believed to have been killed in action. Resistance 2 starts off with the same cutscene that the first game ended with; Nathan Hale being picked up by the Special Forces. He is then transported to the United States where the battle is continuing. Hale is now a part of a Chimeran infected elite squad called the “Sentinels” and has to defend the US from the invasion. I found the story to be pretty cool because it is an alternate take on history. I love everything about history and alternate versions of history and this was definitely a cool way of considering how things could have changed after World War II. Most of the time I find myself not caring whatsoever about the story in a first person shooter but Insomniac found an interesting way of making the story actually matter. You want to save the United States from invasion. You want to stop the unknown forces from destroying the planet. Above all else, you want to know what in the world is even going on and how all of this began.
After my time with the first game, I thought that Resistance 2 was probably going to look like crap; I was severely mistaken. That does not mean that this game blew me away with its presentation by any means, but it was good. It took a giant step forward from the first game, which comes as no surprise since it was developed as a launch title on the PlayStation 3. The graphics were above what you would expect from a sci-fi FPS released in 2008. It reminds me a lot of games like Killzone 2 and Bulletstorm that were both released later on. The voice acting was superb so there is nothing really to complain about here. Other than your typical yelling and screaming from soldiers during missions, the only other real dialogue is during the cutscenes. Speaking of the cutscenes, I believe that they were placed evenly throughout the game. This is not one of those games where you can expect to play for an hour and then watch cutscenes for an hour. Normally they lasted about two minutes at most so you were never out of the game for very long. They explained what they had to and then put you into the next mission. There were also a few minor cutscenes in the middle of missions in order to show you things they way Insomniac intended for you to see them, and so you didn’t miss them. A quick example would be that you go through a hall and something starts happening outside the window; the game will take control of your character and turn you so that you can see what is happening outside, and then give you the control back. This is a great way to show you everything you need to see because otherwise you could miss all sorts of things if you weren’t taking your time.
This is not your typical first person shooter that you can mindlessly shoot your way through really fast. It plays just like any other FPS would in that you can run, shoot, throw grenades, change weapons, etc. The major difference is that this game is not easy by any means. Even on easy mode (yes I played it on the easiest mode), this game was freaking difficult. There were numerous occasions where I set the controller down and thought that there was no way I would ever be able to finish the game. I always ended up coming back once I calmed down and was able to figure out how to get past the parts I was stuck on. Resistance 2 is so difficult for a few reasons. First, there are many different kinds of enemies and second, some levels drop you in with what seems like unlimited enemies. The different kinds of enemies are difficult because they don’t all die as easily, they have different styles of attacks, and some are faster than others. You have to pay attention to who you are shooting at or else you could end up dead quickly. The seemingly unlimited enemies are difficult for obvious reasons. I do not think that there are many situations in the game, if at all, that there are actually unlimited enemies, but it sure seemed like it. Sometimes, if you don’t take out the front line of enemies fast enough their backups will start swarming into the area and then you are left with tons of enemies to kill all at once. This game makes taking cover almost mandatory because if you try to run out in front of 20 enemies all firing at you at once you will die VERY fast. I hate taking cover in games so it was a difficult concept for me to learn, but eventually I was able to take advantage of all of the debris lying around every map for cover.
Gameplay also changes based on the weapons you choose to use; and there are tons of them. This game is set in an alternate history where an alien invasion happens. Rather than only having post World War II guns, you also have the option of using a multitude of alien weaponry. This makes the game much more fun than a normal military FPS. I will give you some examples of weapons I found extremely fun to use. The first that you get a chance to use in the game is a magnum. This in itself is not all that exciting, but it has a secondary attachment on it that is freaking amazing; an explosive detonator for each bullet. All you have to do is fire the magnum like normal by hitting R1 and wherever the bullet hits it will stick, then you hit R2 to make the bullet explode. There are also a few laser assault rifles in the game as well that have cool secondary attachments like being able to tag your enemies. This allows you to see them behind walls and cover so that you know where they are at all times until the tag wears off. My favorite weapon in the game is called the Auger. This is a laser-like assault rifle that allows you to actually shoot through walls. While wielding the Auger, you can see all of the enemies in the area behind the walls automatically until you change weapons. This makes shooting them through cover extremely easy and fun. Its secondary attachment lets you throw down a giant force field shield in front of you to block any incoming bullets, but still allows you to shoot through it with your Auger. I had a ton of fun with all of these weapons; it really changed the mundane FPS shooter mechanics that most games have.
The Verdict: 8.0 out of 10
Resistance 2 is one of the better first person shooters I have played in a long time. While most shooters stick to the same boring gunplay, Resistance 2 changes it up by making it difficult. I love that there are several different enemy types that you had to learn to change your play style for. I love the fact that the game is set in an alternate past. It is cool to see soldiers using futuristic alien weapons during the 1950s. As a history major I thought the story was a really cool take on what the Cold War could have been. This is not a game for everyone because of its sci-fi story, but the solid first person shooter mechanics make it a game worth playing for anyone who loves a good shooter.