Screaming Into The Abyss

Resistance 2
By Ben Zvan
On November 05, 2008 at 12:31

Resistance 2 San FranciscoI picked up Resistance 2 yesterday. Between voting, promotion photos for an apartment building, arguing ideology, making deerburgers and drinking Surley and caipirinhas I managed to finish the first two chapters and get well into the third.

This is definitely a move forward, technology-wise. The graphics are truly amazing, the enemies can be truly oppressive, and the environments are truly huge. Since the original, launch-title Resistance: Fall of Man was built with Playstation 2 development tools, it's not surprising that there would be a big leap forward with a newer toolkit and additional experience. Insomniac has done well in the past squeaking more power out of the console and I expect that they'll continue the tradition.

The gameplay is actually quite similar to R:FOM. Like many sequel FPSs, they have done away with the concept of health and med kits. If your screen is dark red and you can hear your pulse, take cover for a minute and you'll be okay. Since, in the first game, you could regain a portion of your health by staying out of the line of fire, this isn't a huge change. Its biggest effect is removing a HUD element from the screen, which improves the immersive experience quite a bit.

Insomniac has lived up to their legacy and provided many new and interesting weapons. Obviously, there's nothing as interesting as a rift ripper or a tornado gun, but some of the weapons are very reminiscent of Rachet and Clank. There's a flying, electrocuting drone, for example, that really reminds me of the plasma storm. A nice addition to the arsenal is the marksman, which is a three-shot burst rifle with a low-power scope and probably the best all-around weapon in the game. One major change weapon-wise is the move to a two-weapon system. Insomniac's reasoning for the change was to let you play with bigger guns earlier in the game and fight bigger enemies right off the bat. I think they could have acomplished the same thing by limiting the ammunition available for the bigger guns and keeping the same inventory system. On the other hand, it doesn't detract anything for me and it increases the tactical difficulties somewhat.

Story-wise, I'm a little dissapointed so far. R:FOM had a really engaging storyline that introduced you to the characters and the Chimera. It also had information about characters that never actually appeared on-screen, providing depth to the environment. Resistance 2 hasn't really engaged me with story yet. The Chimera have evolved a bit, but without any real explanation. There's secret stuff going on in San Francisco that I'm sure will come up later, but could have been used to drive these early stages of the game forward.

Best moment so far: Stepping out to the battery in San Francisco. I have stood in that spot and seeing it in-game was very powerful.

Overall impression: A great game, but only a high 8 out of 10 unless the story line improves.

Update: Story starts at chapter 4.

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