Resistance 2 Single Player Review: Never Trust a Pretty Face

January 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

When Resistance: Fall of Man graced the PS3 as a launch title, it was universally heralded as the best the infant system had to offer with large multiplayer matches and an interesting setting managing to give it an identity of its own, leading to a large following even a year after its release. Sadly however this accolade didn’t quite mean that FOM was a great game by any stretch of the imagination, generic missions and lacklustre graphics for such a supposedly powerful system held the game back from achieving anything above mediocrity. Well two years later and Insomniac are back with Resistance 2, complete with a bigger budget, bigger enemies and a bigger selection of modes. What the single player doesn’t provide however is anything new to call it’s own.

Picking up where FOM left off Nathan Hale finds himself amongst an elite squad of soldiers, each of them, like him, infected with the Chimeran virus yet immune to its more serious effects. You’re transported to a Chimeran infested America to fight off the attacking hordes, travelling the country to lend a hand wherever you’re needed. All of the story is presented this time with great looking cutscenes, which improves upon the presentation of the first game dramatically. This new means of story telling comes at a cost however, as although there was much in the way of subtle clues and uncertainty surrounding the origins of your foe in Fall of Man, R2 abandons this in favour of a more direct approach. It’s helpful sure, but demystifies completely what was otherwise quite an intriguing enemy. It’s one of many changes the game has had given to it thanks to an obviously much less rushed release and higher budget, unfortunately removing some of the unorthodox charm the original possessed.

Despite great leaps Insomniac’s origins as the developer of the Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet and Clank platformers still shows through. Without platforming to break up combat much of the game revolves around either running to, or fighting enemies in an enclosed space. This doesn’t make the game less enjoyable in short spurts, but played at length can make the experience feel a bit monotonous, even with the inclusion of many different distinct locations and a much wider roster of enemies to vary things up.

Most of them however feel neither fun nor original. Amongst the new additions comes floating sentries, annoying hovering enemies doled out generously during some encounters to ramp up the difficulty as well as “Chameleons” which will periodically appear in front of you initiating what is essentially a quick-time event of pressing the fire button before they slice you in two. Large shielded enemies are more fun, requiring a small but significant application of tactics with your weaponry to catch the with their guard down. Bosses appear in R2 with a much greater frequency but none of them are particularly memorable, consisting of fights you’ve probably played one hundred times before, but re-skinned and made pretty for your viewing pleasure.

It’s an over-arching theme with Resistance 2’s gameplay that it all feels as if it’s been done before and crucially, better. Platforming sections across un-enterable waters feel reminiscent of the Half Life series, and the iron sights aiming mode is even mapped to the same button as COD4’s. Even whilst fighting a two hundred foot tall Cloverfield-esque monster Shadow of the Colossus comes to mind, a game which didn’t force you along a linear path in order to defeat its gigantic foes.

Resistance 2’s single player portion makes one thing in particular clear. Throwing a large amount of money at a game may give it an impressive presentation, but it can’t make up for a serious lack of originality. It’s not a bad game to spend some time and money on but it never manages to make you sit up and take notice, even when you’re being thrown across Chicago in the game’s most cinematic moments.

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