Resistance 2 Reader Review
With such an abundance of quality multi-platform first-person shooters available to today's HD consoles, it's only natural - if unfair - that rare exclusives such as Resistance 2 become the centre of unwanted attention; reviews obsesses over how exclusive B' on the PS3 and visa-versa. In the case of the Resistance Franchise, huge numbers of Xbox devotees decry the series as a poor man's Halo, while their PlayStation counterparts put forth facts about 60-player online, the cell-processor and more.
The fact is, whatever side you're on - and even with the blockbuster tri-quel on the way - Resistance 2 underwhelms, particularly in single player, comparing rather unfavourably to many average multi-platform games, let alone stellar exclusives.
At its very best, Resistance 2 is a fast, gory and typically linear shooter with a good combination of sci-fi and near-historic weaponry, but one that criminally under-uses an evocative and fresh 1950's setting - an alternate history where WW2 never happened, and the states of the world unite under alien invasion as `resistance' movements.
You'd think from the marketing campaign that you'd be playing across wasted American landscapes, fighting tooth and nail under famous landmarks.
Indeed, in places, Resistance 2 threatens to take you into breathtaking environments; a beautiful San Francisco skyline under alien invasion and refreshingly natural woodland environments in mid-America are a highlight.
But for the vast majority, you are plunged straight back into achingly boring warehouses, bunkers, and spaceships (the latter infinitely inferior in comparison to Halo and Killzone versions), with handily impassable crates, pieces of junk, and dead-ends that serve no imaginable combat purpose.
The characters are equally uninspired. Playing as the dullard leader of a special forces unit, there is so little connection to the events, people and environments you play in, that the story becomes instantly forgettable.
However, the main weakness of the game is its core gunplay.
A nice mix of unusual alien weaponry - backed by some equally quirky secondary modes - is hampered by a lack of weight to the projectiles. This is rarely anything but a small issue in most shooters, but in Resistance 2, it's brought keenly into focus by uninspired enemy design of your opponents, the Chimera.
Despite having many variants and weapons themselves, they are completely indistinct in the field, charging headlong into your gun-sights as soon as you come into view - like the hordes of Left-4-Dead, except with guns.
The game's difficulty thus comes artificially from walking round a corner into an alley and being swamped instantly - every enemy, large and small, simply ignores your comrades.
Survival therefore, entails oft-repeated street fights until you manage to spot and avoid the invisible `trip wire', allowing you more time to pick off enemies.
In Killzone 2 the cover system and enemy AI made it thrilling, hard, and fair. In Resistance it's ever so nearly broken. Even if it can be (and often is) thrilling facing down a horde in one go, it simultaneously destroys any connection you had with the limited set-pieces and mediocre boss battles. Even the most interesting enemy - one with an invisibility cloak - sprints at you from a pre-determined position, killing you instantly if you happen to explore away from the path, or dying in one bullet once you've learned its trigger point.
Scripting can be done in incredible ways - you only have to look at the visceral combat of Killzone 2, or COD: World at War, but in the absence of Halo-like sandboxes and AI, it's hard to see how the R2 team saw their game as anything other than a poor cousin to previous blockbusters - even the iron-sights controls are ripped unnecessarily (and poorly) from the Call of Duty franchise.
Having said all this, at the platinum edition price, it's certainly worth checking for any FPS fan short of games, or as an introduction to shooters for PS3s adventure game fans. The art design is very good, the setting better, and the graphics just above average. However, even considering the lacklustre game-play, it's a huge indictment to say that as a gamer, I have taken much more enjoyment from its PSP cousin `Resistance Retribution' - a version that is every-inch the platform defining shooter it should be.