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In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Resistance 2 (Playstation 3)
Following up the underrated Resistance: Fall of Man, Insomniac Games and SCEA have released the much-anticipated Resistance 2 for the PS3, which expands the horizons, scale and intensity exponentially. The first thing players will notice is the increased sense of scale in the game's expansive levels, which cover more varied ground this time. Battling through a war-torn America ravaged by a brutal alien invasion, players will find themselves going up against much tougher foes, who have undergone quite a transformation in their aggression, intelligence and danger. The bosses are also quite intimidating, with their massive size and scale making for some terrifying foes. Resistance 2's deeper backstory and improved visuals add cinematic flair. It's a massive leap forward for the series, which makes for one the best FPS titles on the console to date.

After defeating the devastating attack by the Chimera on England in the first game, Lt. Nathan Hale finds the war has only just begun. Called back to duty almost immediately after the events in the first game, there's a much larger invasion afoot. This time, the evil aliens have taken on America itself, and a desperate struggle ensues. The new game delivers quite an immediate punch, as far from repeating the same tactics that lost the first battle, the Chimera have regrouped in much greater and much deadlier numbers this time. They have launched an invasion and have infested the country from coast to coast. Building on the post-WWII alternate reality of the first game, players will find themselves battling these evil beings in large cities, small towns and everywhere in between. While first game was a fairly interesting and visually accomplished title, Resistance 2 creates a much larger and more epic feel. It makes you feel like you're literally in the midst of a massive battle for the survival of the human race. Visually, the game brings an incredible amount of technical firepower to the table. From skyscraper-sized boss characters to nightmarish attacks of dozens of Chimera, the level of detail in the new game is quite startling. It's environments and level designs are also incredibly realistic, which adds to Resistance 2's sense of authenticity and detail. Likewise, the engine has been enhanced in other important areas as well. The character animation is much better, with more lifelike characters. From a production standpoint, the deeper back story makes the game feel more fleshed out, and this definitely makes Resistance 2 feel more polished than the first game in terms of cinematic presentation, acting and storyline.

Things start off in a massive underground bunker in San Francisco, where you get your first taste of the new Chimera you'll be going up against. They're much smarter this time around, and players will find many new types to face off against. Each one seems smarter and while there are still some fairly basic enemies to kill, there are more dangerous sub-boss creatures, who wield massive blasters than can blast right through your cover. They're much larger and require many more hits to defeat, and will hone in on you relentlessly, giving you no place to hide. These new chimera have other surprises in store as well. Unlike the first game, where you faced off against a few scattered mutants who had been converted from killed humans, you now have to deal with much more dangerous foes. This time, the Pods are more prevalent with multiple spawn points meaning that attacks can occur at any point in the game, and they attack in much greater numbers, swarming and overwhelming you if you stay in the same position for too long.

Shooting these foes is fairly easy, and you can use a variety of techniques, such as a sniper viewpoint or secondary fire modes to make quick work of your foes. but these are much more aggressive and dangerous foes that are quite deadly, especially at close range. Other Chimera forces include deadly drones that fire at you immediately and relentlessly, and scout vehicles that charge you and are almost certain to destroy you if they see you. It can be a bit frustrating to figure out their attacks initially, but once you get the hang of them, new ones appear. One of the hardest to defeat are the new cloaked chimera who will charge at you without warning. Fortunately, the game's frequent save points allow you to anticipate their appearance the next time around, making them easier to defeat. Resistance 2 continues at an almost relentless pace, and gives players in its single-player mode little room to rest. From a gameplay standpoint, the controls feel a lot smoother this time around. An increased arsenal of human and chimera weapons is at your disposal with standard shot-guns, machine guns, grenades and other standard military weapons mixed with more advanced Chimera weaponry like laser cannons, bullseye rifles and sniper rifles included as well. One of the more interesting additions this time are the new shield generators, which can be collected from fallen Chimera. Using these protects the player for a short time behind a powerful barrier. The impressive thing about these shields is that you can fire through them, which gives you a powerful tactic when you find yourself facing off against piles of foes. Positioning the shields and learning the enemy attack patterns makes it easy to pick off the Chimera at first, but as you go along they get smarter and will exploit the holes in the sides of these to your position, strafing you from the sides, so you won't have a sense of invulnerability for very long. This makes for a much deeper, and more strategic style of FPS play than the first game, and you'll definitely need all your skills if you choose to play in the harder difficulty levels.

Unlike many other FPS titles on the market, Resistance 2's online multiplayer is a key component this time. This edition builds on the first game's online play substantially with three key modes of play that extend the experience greatly. The biggest addition this time is the addition of co-operative missions where you and a squad work together to complete mission objectives and defeat the hordes of Chimera on various battlefields. What's really impressive about this mode is how epic it feels, though it's support for up to 16 players at the same time gives it a unique feel. There are different character classes in the game, with medics and soldiers allowing for complimentary abilities. Players quickly respawn when fired upon and can earn abundant experience points as they complete objectives. These help to extend the single-player experience and retain the main game's sense of scale and drama. Those looking for additional competitive play will also find several modes including a standard deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the core modes, which play very similarly to the online battles in other games. The most impressive aspect of Resistance 2's online modes are the Skirmish battles, where up to 60 players can compete on massive maps for truly epic battles. In the skirmish mode, you are grouped into smaller units and complete your own objectives that help to keep your larger team in the battle. It makes for some very interesting battles, where you scale up and down to meet your goals.

Focusing on your mission in the co-op modes is made easier by the frequent communication between teams, which helps to keep the action visceral and exciting throughout. As you'd expect, the maps and design are quite impressive and showcase the game's improved graphics engine brilliantly. Resistance 2's great variety of weapons and enemies make for some fairly interesting shooting play, and the online component is no exception. You'll be able to use most of the weapons and tactics from the main game online, including shields, grenades and other techniques, such as disabling the fire turrets, appear online as well. This makes for quite a coherent experience that feels like an extension of Resistance 2's main storyline, not a mindlessly tacked on extra. The menus and navigation are surprisingly easy to navigate which allows you to jump right into the action with only a few button presses. These quick action rounds are loads of fun, but you can also customize the online experience to your liking. Players can set a wide variety of parameters as well, with number of kills, time and objectives easily adjusted at the main menu. Resistance 2's community features are also very well done, with a Staging area included where you can chat with other players, form teams and select which maps you want to battle through. This makes for a really solid online component that shows a great deal of thought, effort and polish has gone into multiplayer and the result is an experience that's just as polished, intense and challenging as the solo story mode.

The solid online component makes for an even deeper and more exciting game, and when combined with the sheer intensity of the solo quest, makes Resistance 2 a title that literally dwarfs its predecessor in terms of scale and detail. Players will cover a lot more ground, in vastly more detailed environments that make the first Resistance feel more like a prelude to the main event. Its sheer magnitude and scale in terms of cities, enemies and some absolutely incredible boss encounters. The storytelling and characters are more thoroughly realized, making for a deeper and more satisfying experience overall. All these elements come together almost flawlessly to make Resistance 2 an unmatched success in all major areas. Some sequels are content to merely add a few new features, while others create something that feels almost entirely new. Resistance 2 fits squarely in the latter category. Its range of awesome weaponry and a large cast of varied and challenging enemies goes a long way in creating an intense shooting title that is completely breathtaking. Resistance 2 is easily one of the best FPS released on the Playstation 3. There's no doubting that Insomniac games can now be seen as playing with the big guns having delivered such a brilliant title. Resistance 2's polish, technical excellence and ambitious scale creates an absolutely epic title filled to the breaking point with unforgettable moments. Needless to say, its definitely a must-own title that delivers some of the year's most thrilling action.

- Michael Palisano

Grade: A

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