This is the first time in years I can remember getting a Collector's Edition of a game, because generally its just extra junk anyway, and I never look at the making-of videos. But for some reason, the Collector's Edition was actually selling for a couple cents less than the standalone game on Amazon when I bought it, so I figured what the heck. I got the skin and looked through the artbook, but the action figure and making of disc remain completely untouched. The model Bullseye does look cool though, even though I'm not impressed with the figure that's supposed to be holding it.
Having played the first Resistance and enjoyed it, I had high hopes for this game. And for the most part, I don't feel disappointed. The game improves on some aspects of Fall of Man, but also takes a couple steps back here and there.
The campaign starts right where the previous game left off, with Hale being picked up by an allied transport. After a rough welcome, he's introduced to a division of soldiers known as the Sentinels, who are the same as him in that they are part Chimera. The game moves two years later, where the base Hale is currently in is under attack by the Chimera. The situation is dire; an entire fleet (Where the heck did they pull a fleet from), complete with huge ominous warships, floats in the sky, and the Chimera have sent in a mighty Kraken to rip the submerged portion of the base apart. You just go from there. There is a story here, but its strung together somewhat loosely, without the strong narration present in the first installment. Really, the plot line in this game is a little erratic. Most of the game, you may find it easy to just ignore the story and just shoot the bad guys. Then suddenly you're listening to a long lecture about the Chimera's origin, or watching Daedalus mouth off about how awesome him and his species are.
And let's not forget the ending, which I won't spoil, but really shoves the plot into your face. It was a great cliffhanger, but the campaign feels both bland and exciting.
But hey, I've seen many cases of people who don't even bother with the offline campaign and head online right out of the box. And I must say, this is a pretty great package. Though unfortunately, the full campaign coop has been removed, it is replaced with a separate campaign playable only in coop mode, which is hit or miss, I guess. I liked the previous feature, and do miss it, but at least they didnt do away with offline coop entirely. You can still play through the separate campaign offline with a friend, and now you can also play it online with up to 7 others. What's cool about the coop is that not only do the mission objectives tend to vary each time you play a map (meaning you won't have the same experience over and over again), but the game automatically adjusts the difficulty appropriate to how many players are in the game. With just two players, you'll encounter small squads of Chimera, but nothing the two of you can't handle. With a full 8 player party though, your foes are absolutely relentless, and will come at you by the dozens. Towards the end of one mission, in a full eight player party, small regimes of Chimera (at least a dozen units or so) teleport in on both sides of your motley crew, and try to swarm you. Besides your typical grunts, they'll have Steelheads (Augur carriers) and even one or two Titans (big guys with huge cannons) among them. Its exciting, and really feels like full scale warfare.
The coop is not only an adrenaline pumping experience, but its rather unique for an FPS. It incorporates minor MMORPG elements, such as an XP system which, as you level up gives you access to better equipment and skins. The game also uses a class system to better encourage cooperative play. There's three classes: Medic, Spec. Ops, and Soldier. The three classes are designed to work closely together, and you're in for a rough mission without at least one person playing each class (and doing their job). They each have their own set of Berserks, which are special abilities that you can use periodically when you're in a pinch. As you level up, you also gain access to better equipment, like larger ammo cartridges and better armor.
The Medic's job, is, of course to keep their allies alive. Medics are equipped with a special (coop-only) weapon that shoots a ray beam that sucks energy from the foes it hits. This is the primary fire. Its really weak compared to any real weapon, but still very useful, as not only does absorbing energy refill your health (thus, Medics are the only ones able to heal themselves), but it stocks up your alt-fire, which lobs a glob of pure healing energy. You shoot it at your allies to heal them, and it has a splash effect so you don't have to waste precious time aiming directly at the person (though it heals more if its a direct hit). So in a sense, Medics thrive on the battlefield. Without enemies to suck energy from, they can wilt rather quickly, so while its important to be on the frontlines so you can gather more energy, its also important to know when to duck and cover. Parties lacking a Medic quickly fall apart, so its extremely important you stay alive to keep your buddies healthy, so they can watch your back. Medics also revive the fastest. The two Berserks I've unlocked so far for Medic class are "Ring of Life" and "Chloroform". As a Medic, Ring of Life is the better choice I'd say. Activating it sets up a small "ring" around you and nearby comrades. Not only does activating fully restore your health, but anyone standing within that ring will have regenerative health. Its great for digging your heels in to stop your team from having to fall back too far. Chloroform is more offensive. It temporarily adds a paralyzing and poisonous effect to your Phoenix's ray beam, both paralyzing and doing lasting damage on enemies you hit.
In RPG terms, Soldiers are the "Tanks" of the party. They come equipped with a Wraith (Minigun with an Augur-like energy barrier for alt-fire), and are basically the guys meant to kill the most enemies. Soldiers have the beefiest health bars, and use their Wraiths to shield themselves and their allies from harm while dishing out plenty of punishment with their minigun primary fire. However they're hardly invincible. Once his shield runs out of ammo, he's vulnerable and dies quickly, so Soldiers are, sadly, at the mercy of both the Medic and Spec Ops. If you're going to have a lot of soldiers in your mission, you NEED to have some responsible Specs Ops to keep them stuffed with shield ammo, or they probably won't last long. Enemies occasionally drop ammo, but its not something to rely on. The two Berserks I've unlocked so far are Ironheart and Self-Destruct (I doubt that's really the name, but I can't remember what its really called). Ironheart is a no frills defense boost, while Self-Destruct, when activated, sets a 30 second timer that, once finished, causes you to explode. You can self-destruct sooner by standing close to an enemy. Its basically a hilarious take on kamikaze. I don't think the death counts against you, by the way.
Spec Ops could be considered the "Buffers" of the group. They're equipped with Marksmans (3-shot burst sniper rifles) and are expected to toss ammo on a regular basis. Spec Ops play a pivotal role because they're main source of the team's ammo. Medics can do well enough without a Spec Ops since any good Medic won't stray too far from their Phoenix, which has unlimited ammo, but Soldiers rely heavily on them, as their miniguns and shield chew up ammo very quickly. One of their Berserks allows them to toss out special ammo boxes that have special ammo that does extra damage (I think that's effect, either that or the ammo paralyzes).
The coop, in my opinion, is the best part of the package. There are some truely exciting moments, and they come often. I remember just a couple days ago, me and a friend were playing, we were in a full party, and got separated from the rest of the team along with one other guy. While the rest of the group desperately tried to find us, we were hopelessly pinned down, crouching behind cover and hardly daring to peek out long enough to squeeze out a couple shots, as there were at least dozen or so chimera firing at us from two sides, and we couldnt advance through the blizzard of opposing fire. It was intense, and a tough situation. We could only wait for our team to find out where we were, before launching a pincer movement of sorts on the enemy and finally pushing through.
I have only one gripe with the coop, which is the 2 player offline coop. Really, after surviving an 8 player mission, playing with only 2 players feels just weak. And besides that, there's three classes...and only 2 players. It's not an optimized situation. Its easy to see that the coop in Resistance 2 was not tailored for offline play. However, like in Warhawk, you can play with a friend in splitscreen online, which is a great option.
I haven't spent much time at all with the competitive (only played 1 or two rounds) aspect of the game yet, but I do like how hectic things can get, especially with more players. Resistance 2 holds the current record for the max amount of online players in an FPS on a console, with up to 60 players being able to duke it out in one arena. Even so, it's still surprisingly possible to be alone. Like I said, havent spent much time at all with competitive, so im sure there's probably more modes, but the one I played was just your typical red vs. blue death match. Fun, but very no-frills.
Like in the campaign, you can carry two weapons at a time, and you get to choose your loadout before you spawn, which is nice. I'm the irritating kind of fellow that likes to shoot people who can't see me (until they die, oh that darn death cam), so I usually go out with a FarEye as my primary weapon, and a Magnum for self-defense.
With Resistance 2, Insomniac also introduced a bunch of new weapons. Some were removed, but the added:removed ratio isn't that bad. VERY UNFORTUNATE HOWEVER, is the absence of the Hailstorm, one of the coolest weapons ever.
New weapons are..
The Magnum, which is a beast of a pistol that easily downs grunts in one or two shots. But for those guys who seem extra resilient, each bullet fired also has a small explosive tagged onto it. By pressing the alt-fire, each bullet you fired will detonate in small explosion. Great for getting some extra damage out of what's left of your ammo, or setting up traps.
The LAARK returns, but instead of the air brake, it now fires a cluster bomb as its alt-fire.
The Bellock is a simple grenade launcher, and also fires napalm charges (they erupt in magnificent flames) as its alt-fire
The Wraith is the new Hailstorm, I suppose. Its a minigun that has an Augur Force barrier for its alt-fire. However, instead of firing a shield that is only temporary, this one generates a shield that can be toggled on and off.
Also new is the Marksman, a sniper-rifle that fires a three shot burst. It doesnt have quite the prestige and elegance of the FarEye, but makes a fair alternative.
New but extremely rare (and exclusive to the campaign) is the Pulse Cannon, a huge bazooka that fires pure kinetic energy (I think?), and is the only effective weapon against the Kraken. It takes a while to load a shot, but has destructive power comparable to a LAARK. Its alt-fire looses off a short range, wide arc concussive blast.
Also new (and rare) is the Splicer (which I, now that I think about it, might not actually be new..), which fires razor blades that slice and dice through your target's limbs. Holding the alt-fire revves the blade, and while its powering up you can dice up anyone who gets too close. Loose it off at full power, and most grunts and steelheads it hits will be instantly mutilated. Dead Space, anyone?
Finally, there's the Spider Grenade, which, upon activation, begins spreading a searing hot web of pure plasma right from where it lands. The stuff goes quite a distance, and even climbs up walls, so its a terribly cruel thing to throw into crowds. The toxins that the "web" releases also does lasting damage.
Overall, Resistance 2 is a great value. Insomniac tried to stuff a lot of great things onto one disc, and it didn't work quite as beautifully as they might have thought, but it was an impressive endeavor nonetheless, and still remains one of the best games 2008 had to offer. A 9/10 in my opinion.