Resistance 2 Review: Bigger and Badder

Everything about “Resistance 2″ screams bigger and badder. The one thing that was missing from “R2″ was a device that makes the Chimera dance and boogie while we blew them to kingdom-come with my LARRK. In other words, this isn’t “Ratchet and Clank.”  With very complex foot soldiers’ AI and slow bosses, the end of chapter boss fights seemed a little laid back; perhaps “R&C” also has a One-Up in this arena as well, but it doesn’t mean that the game was a total loss.

Like its predecessor, “R2″ is presented with a very involved DTS soundtrack. A lot of the effort from the first game shows up in this sequel, particularly with regards to the audio work. Perhaps there is more emphasis on mechanical sound effects, but my sub-woofer enjoyed being tickled as I played this game from start to finish. The last game that surprised my sub-woofer was D3’s “darkSector” and before that, everything is a harsh motion-blur.

Not long after the prologue stage, returning frontman Nathan Hale is forced to make his way to the top portion of your base, all the while enduring the deep bass melody of a Kracken-style beast ramming its’ giant Chimera forehead into your headquarters. A lot more games need to take advantage of sound effects like this; rarely do we even find one that goes nice and deep into the L.F.E. (Low Frequency Effect) range.

While the positive efforts on the sound in “Resistance 2″ are heard throughout every stage, efforts on the boss AI seemed to have been ignored. Don’t get me wrong, every enemy in the game is not stupid. As a matter of fact, that’s one of “Resistance”’s selling point; a very interesting, if not humorous and fun, enemy AI.  Considering the size of the bosses, my guess is that the developers were forced to make them slow, and for lack of a better word, clumsy.

The bosses are so huge and you’re so small, that there’s only so much you and your foe can do during the Waltz of an end-stage battle. Patterns become very readable,  so, if you really want a complex human-vs.-giant battle, then play “Shadow of Colossus” or “God of War.” You’ll have a harder time with the foot-soliders than the last boss here: that’s a complaint that can be applied to just about every game this year.  

If you’re up for the challenge, play the game on its’ Difficult setting for your first go, and if you’re in-it to win all the trophies, best of luck to you on Superhuman mode. It’s not that the setting is really difficult at all; the AI demands that you think before act, or look before you leap. If you have little patience, play and enjoy this game on Normal, earn your trophies and be done with it. The online, competitive, and co-op campaigns are also well worth your time. I had to drag myself away from online modes because I wanted all the other trophies; a majority of which you can only get in the single player campaign.  

A side-by-side comparison of the previous and current game reveals a lot more depth in the visual appeal for “R2.”  Much like the first game, after completing it, you’ll unlock several visual tweaks to the game. This includes depth of field adjustments (everything close to you seems sharp and in focus, foreground a far away objects are blurry), and motion blurs; the textures are better and the lighting effects in the game are better all the while throwing more enemies at you.  

For obvious reasons, certain online modes will not look as good, but playing campaign with several buddies, and enjoying frag-fest battles have yet to lose their touch.  You know, after the first online game in “R1,” I wasn’t sure if I could stand anything more than 30 man battles, but I’m happy that I was wrong about that, and perhaps my standards for online battles have just been raised to unrealistic levels this past weekend.  

It seems that Nathan Hale caught the Jak-bug of silence, and suddenly gained an accent in round two; the difference is that we know how, and why Jak didn’t talk.  I guess it’s the effects of Project Abraham and Chimera virus in Nathan’s case.  Still, the lack of a central villain annoys me for the same reasons that “Gears of War” annoyed me.  Nathan’s involvement in the story though, the little that we given. was needed, and appreciated (I personally think it should have been that way from the start). You learn a lot more about Nathan’s origins, the other Sentinel Operatives through scattered intel in the game, but little on the Chimera.

Seriously, you don’t think the Queen in Gears is the mind-bender behind that future appocalypse do you?  At least in “R2,” you have no idea what, or who is motivating the Chimera.  Perhaps they are like the borg - a single collective.  None of these things are answered in this game which was a bit of a let down. However, the ending was not expected though, so you have something to look forward to.

The director of “Gears of War” said that “creating a new IP is not an easy thing,” because you’re always “afraid of what to do” and how to do it when you figured out what it is you want to do.  Confused? Me too.  Indeed, there’s only so much you can put in a 10 hour campaign, and if this trully is “just the begining”, then strap in for a long ride.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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