Originally published December 10, 2008 at 3:10 p.m., updated December 10, 2008 at 3:10 p.m.
While not exactly a system seller, the original Resistance: Fall of Man was certainly the highlight of the Playstation 3's dreadful launch lineup. It featured a solid online component, creative weapons (a natural for the Ratchet & Clank team), and a fast-paced, exciting campaign. While Resistance 2 is certainly a solid sequel, it doesn't feature enough improvements to rank it up there with more recent action titles like Call of Duty: World at War or Gears of War 2.
One thing you'll notice quickly upon starting the campaign is that "bigger" is a running theme throughout Resistance 2. You'll encounter towering robots, skylines filled with hundreds of ships, massive creatures, and dozens of enemies onscreen at one time. Many points in the campaign really up the wow factor for the series, especially in terms of overwhelming visuals. One sequence particularly floored me, as you emerge near the top of a giant tower and look over miles and miles of plains. It doesn't look like typical videogame fields, it actually looks like they mapped Google Earth satellite imagery over the ground, and it looks amazing from atop the massive structure.
While many of the moments in the campaign are fantastic, there are some stretches that are entirely uneventful and generic. The game has you jetsetting all over the US, so each area seems like a totally different game. You may be on the streets of San Francisco in one level, only to be onboard an alien spacecraft in the following level. Next thing you know, you're being whisked off into a jungle or through rocky terrain. It feels very disjointed, and some of these areas work far better than others. For instance, the quaint 50s town infested with zombies and grotesque eggs is far more exciting than the ho-hum jungle area (complete with extremely cheap Predator clone enemies).
The setpieces may be jaw-dropping at times, but the gameplay never really becomes engrossing enough to make it a AAA title. The aforementioned zombie level is a blast to run through with a Rossmore shotgun, but neither the level design or enemy A.I. do much to impress. It feels very generic for long stretches of time, and it offers nothing significantly new in terms of control or abilities.
I thoroughly enjoyed the multiplayer aspect of the last game, but the sequel doesn't add enough new elements to keep the ball rolling forward. One thing it does spectacularly well is host up to 60 players without a hitch. It's truly impressive to have massive 30-on-30 battles without so much of a hint of slowdown or lag. It's just as good as the original game, although expect to be overwhelmed upon first starting when you realize there's thirty enemies trying to kill you. Sometimes it's a little too much to handle at once, but it can often lead to some massive, frenetic firefights.
This would have been a stellar title two years ago, but there have been superior action games released since the last game in the series. Resistance 2 doesn't quite keep up with the level of quality of today's AAA shooters, but it still delivers a campaign worth playing through and an impressive multiplayer component.
First Play: 8.5
Replay Value: 8.5
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