Reviews// Resistance 2

Posted 10 Nov 2008 18:51 by
I have to admit I had a certain fondness for the first Resistance title, suffixed 'Fall of Man'. It's set, if you don't recall, in an alternate version of the mid-20th century where Europe is collapsing under the ravages of a mysterious virus. The virus mutates its human victims into horrific creatures known as the Chimera - part-human, part... well, that's never quite revealed.

My fondness has nothing to do with the game-play, though it was a damn fine game earning 85% when I reviewed it. No, it's down to developer, Insomniac, choosing to kick the game off not only in England but in the streets of York, just a couple of dozen miles from SPOnG's offices; then to a fish cannery in Grimsby, out on the Humber estuary.

Such deliciously unusually choices to begin the tale of the disintegration of civilisation. Perhaps Insomniac had visited York in the early hours of a Sunday morning, when hundreds of humans regularly transform into frothing, mindless creatures...

So, when it comes to Resistance 2, there's no way it's going share that place in my heart - because this time the setting is primarily continental USA. One of my complaints of the original game was that it left me feeling a little too much had been hinted at and not enough was revealed.

Resistance 2, I'm glad to say, paints in a good part of those sketched areas. Like its predecessor, the game provides a single-player 'campaign' mode, where missions continue the story of the human race's struggle against the Chimera.

No dilly-dallying here, Resistance 2 continues right where the first game ended, with player protagonist Nathan Hale being evacuated to Iceland from England, battered by the invasion of the mysterious Chimera. The narrative here takes a different approach to that in Fall of Man, in which the unfolding events were delivered as retrospective recounted by British combatant Rachel.

Gone are the still shots and aged photos accompanied by Rachel's monologue. In their place the story is told during gameplay by Hale and his comrades. This occurs through their dialogue and radio chatter, plus cut-scenes separating the game's 'levels'. The advantage of this can't be understated, as you get to enjoy the game without forced interruption to the flow.

When a cut-scene is pushed upon you it's typically to-the-point, not an exercise in movie script writing - and it serves to mask any loading time between locations. Additionally, as though the show were being run by a modern-day British government agency, intelligence documents are discarded around the levels, awaiting your discovery. As with the original game, these are files and dossiers that flesh out the background to enemies, situations and characters.

With Fall of Man planted firmly in the first-person shooter genre, you wouldn't expect any great changes to the actual game-play, and you'd be correct - sort of. You see, at times I wasn't sure if the game had departed its first-person shooter origins and had moved into the survival horror genre (see here for SPOnG's notion of that genre). The original game would occasionally put the willies up you when dozens of Leapers came scurrying, wave after wave. Now, things have become much more psychological.
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