Monday, January 12, 2009

Resisting Resistance 2

One word review: Disappointing. Resistance 2 is not what you think it should be in any way shape or form. It deviates so much from the first Resistance that you forget you are playing the sequel to a game, that in many ways, brought the words 'next gen game' into full meaning. I will attempt to describe why you should resist Resistance 2.

1. Story Progression - Unlike Resistance 1 where it was unique in telling the story from a third party perspective in narration and generally giving the player a keen understanding of the events surrounding the chimera and mysterious Nathan Hale, Resistance 2 tries to be Half-Life where the story plays out as you go in real time. While this isn't a bad thing, it is when the main character suddenly transforms from a mysterious war hero to trying to be like everyone in Gears of War simply barking out orders to everyone constantly and the writers pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Problem is, there isn't a story here at all. I wouldn't normally mind that if the first Resistance didn't do such a great job setting up a story to begin with. For instance, Gear of War had a crappy do nothing man love story to begin with, so no one hopes for a better one in Gears of War 2 and our expectations are met. But here we have Resistance 2: Listen to Hale Yell A lot 'of Man'.

2. Game play - While I normally commend designers for changing things up in the sequel, this is not the case for Resistance 2. Everything they changed here was honestly for the worse. The health system in Resistance 1 gave you four tiny life bars that could be rejuvenated by picking up health items. Resistance 2 has the Call of Duty 4 / Halo way of doing things where you get shot and sit in a corner to heal for a bit. problem is with Resistance 2 you die so quickly that there are few times where finding cover is an option. Especially when the enemies can shoot through solid objects most of the time, or when 60% of cover spaces leaves your head wide open even while ducking.

Resistance 1 allowed you to have a shit ton of fun weapons (even if most of them were useless). Resistance 2 allows you to only ever have 2 weapons at a given time. The game provides itself the necessary weapons when the situation arises. Far away enemies? Look Nathan there's a sniper rifle right there! Large behemoth monster? Rocket launcher! So, no more fun strategy playing into anything you do, you're just given the solution.

3. Difficulty will be my last game play complaint, but trust you me I could go on. Resistance 1 had the aura of being very hard, and enemies were tough to take down and they had 100% accuracy. But, it really wasn't that hard of a game since you got bountiful health items and ammo. Not to mention it was fun and each level was very short and had maybe 1 or 2 checkpoints. You didn't die much is what I'm getting at. Resistance 2 on the other hand has 1 to 2 hour long levels with hundreds of checkpoints because the developers know you're going to need them. Instead of being a fun FPS with strategic elements like the first game, Resistance 2 has the philosophy that constant trial and error is rewarding. I'm sorry, but trying to cross a bridge getting bum rushed by Drones while enemies with Augurs (shoots through walls) fire away at you (3 hits your dead) while you have insufficient weapons and are dying for an hour straight is not my idea of a good time. Another instance plays out where seemingly endless hoards of Drones come at you in a tiny cornered off section where my only success came in tricking the AI by putting Nathan in the middle of a small staircase. Apparently, that just throws the AI for a loop and not ALL of them rushed me. There are many, many more moments like this where you will die countless times only to move a few paces ahead in the game.

Oh, and need I mention the game comes complete with 2 different enemies that kill you in 1 hit just for the fun of it? Yeah because it does. Fall into the water? Yeah you are dead since the invincible fish army will destroy you. That's right you can't kill them even though you can see them just a few feet away from you in the water. And the invisible chameleon enemies kill you in 1 hit, and you kill them in about the same amount which is at least fair. What I love is there is always a checkpoint before and after these guys because the developers probably felt bad about it.

Alright, so my complaints are in the main game mostly. Which is a shame, because I bought it for the main game. The multiplayer is quite spectacular though. I won't go into much detail but I will say it does what most other FPS games do only better. Capture the flag, co-op modes, death matches so on and so on. Things that will be useless in about 2 years since no one will play it anymore. Which is why I never like to review the multiplayer since it will be obsolete at some point.

Are there any redeeming qualities in the solo campaign? My answer is unfortunately no.

*Technically, while playing you should hear this a lot, "Hale? Haaale? HAAAAAAALE!!!!"*

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