Resistance 2 is a game all about numbers. In this quirky but enjoyable PlayStation 3 shooter, you'll take on a 300ft-tall Leviathan in the single-player campaign, blast countless hordes in the eight-player cooperative mode, and shoot it out with 60 players in online competitive matches.

These three modes - campaign, cooperative, and competitive - embody the entirety of the Resistance 2 experience, and to see the big picture you'll have to play them all.

By the numbers

Most players will begin their Resistance 2 experience by firing up the campaign mode, which centres once again on Nathan Hale. Hale, who has been exposed to the Chimera infection, must launch a last-ditch effort to halt the Chimera's advance before he succumbs to his condition and joins their ranks as a half-human, half-alien hybrid.

The storytelling in the campaign mode is rather simplistic, consisting of urgent military chatter and some brief cinema scenes, but the core plot thread concerning Nathan Hale's fading humanity does become more compelling during the game's final hours. Don't expect to learn many new insights into the mysterious Chimera, though - developer Insomniac Games must be saving those secrets for the inevitable Resistance 3.

The single-player campaign comprises a straightforward series of battles, but the arsenal of exotic firepower gives the gameplay a punch that many other shooters lack. My favourite weapons were the Magnum, a revolver that fires remote-detonated explosive rounds, and the Marksman, a burst-fire rifle that can also emit a slow-moving pulse charge to repeatedly zap nearby enemies.

Hale is also a nimble fighter, which adds to the fun as you can zip up to enemies quickly to deliver a deadly melee attack. These tight shooter mechanics keep the moment-to-moment action fast and addictive, even when the scenarios are forgettable.

The biggest stumbles in the campaign, though, come during a series of frustrating trial-and-error encounters in which you're expected to proceed without being told exactly what to do or where to go. The solution is usually to keep shooting until the Chimera reinforcements stop coming, but other times the answer is more elusive and requires repeated experimentation. These moments can be frustrating.\

NEXT PAGE: online - the secret weapon

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PlayStation 3 review

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Resistance 2 is a game all about numbers. In this quirky but enjoyable PlayStation 3 shooter, you'll take on a 300ft-tall Leviathan in the single-player campaign, blast countless hordes in the eight-player cooperative mode, and shoot it out with 60 players in online competitive matches.

Online: the secret weapon

The online cooperative play mode, on the other hand, follows another set of rules entirely. Up to eight players can mow down endless hordes of enemy Chimera, earning experience points that unlock new skills, weapons, and armor.

It's a formula that Call of Duty players know and love, and it helps keep your interest high even when the battles grow repetitive. In cooperative play, the mission variety is low and usually takes the form of button-pressing errands or mini-boss battles. The goal here is obviously to deliver a fast-paced MMO-lite shooter experience; unfortunately, as with any MMO, repetition will be a turn-off to some players.

This is especially important to note because Resistance 2's co-op experience is an almost nonstop bombardment of incoming projectiles and running, screeching Chimera attackers.

To stay alive, the three different character classes must work closely together: Soldiers stand on the frontlines to absorb punishment with their energy shields, Spec-Ops players toss out ammo to keep the Soldiers going, and Medics must keep the other two classes alive.

If any one of these three classes fails to deliver, the whole team will fall apart in seconds. As such, your level of enjoyment is largely determined by the company you keep. Play with thoughtless teammates who don't heal or dispense ammunition, and you'll be reaching for the power button in no time.

But if you play with competent partners, you'll get a rush out of collecting new gear and "Berserk" abilities for your different character classes.

Co-op isn't the most polished of the game's three play modes, yet it may prove to be the most rewarding over the long haul due to its quirky but enjoyable teamplay dynamics.

Massively online

Competitive mode is the third and final dimension of Resistance 2, and it supports a whopping 60 players for massive-scale online battles. The mode types are split between standard team deathmatch and capture-the-flag scenarios, with a new Skirmish mode that splits both teams into small squads to accomplish a series of simple objectives.

If you enjoyed Halo 3 or Unreal Tournament 3, the sci-fi weapons and gameplay types in Resistance 2's competitive mode will probably appeal to you. Aside from the unusually large player counts and the objective-driven Skirmish mode, Resistance 2's competitive play hits all the marks you'd expect from a modern online shooter, save for drivable vehicles. One welcome touch is a focus on instant gratification.

Because you earn experience points by inflicting damage on enemy players, you can earn new guns and abilities without scoring a single kill. Finally, in an impressive technical achievement, Resistance 2's networking code appears to be rock solid across the board, serving up consistently lag-free matches at the advertised 60-player count.

NEXT PAGE: doing the math

Related articles:

PlayStation 3 review

Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Resistance 2 is a game all about numbers. In this quirky but enjoyable PlayStation 3 shooter, you'll take on a 300ft-tall Leviathan in the single-player campaign, blast countless hordes in the eight-player cooperative mode, and shoot it out with 60 players in online competitive matches.

Doing the math

Playing a game as big and ambitious as Resistance 2 is inspiring: Insomniac Games is clearly pushing the envelope with the game's "all-in-one" approach. On the flip side, the game's sheer size and scale works against it in a few important ways. Take the graphics, for example, which are vibrant and pleasing but lack the hi-def "oomph" we take for granted in cutting-edge showstoppers such as Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty 4.

Resistance 2 skews more closely to Halo 3's visual style, with its emphasis on bigger and brighter, but less realistic looking, environments. These visual weaknesses are amplified in the online cooperative and competitive modes, resulting in stiff-looking characters and flat lighting effects, which suggests that the studio strained to balance the game's huge size with technological and logistical limitations.

The result is a (mostly) happy medium, and a game that looks good in some places and a little iffy in others.

The most important challenge to creating a game as enormous and multi-layered as Resistance 2, though, is keeping the gameplay unique and meaningful. Luckily, Insomniac Games largely delivers on this goal - each of the three modes is genuinely worth playing. And if you don't like one of them, chances are good that one of the others will hook you.

Taken individually, none of the three modes delivers on its full potential, but taken as a whole, the trio makes for a powerful package and offers a tremendous pounds-to-gameplay ratio. Resistance 2 represents one heck of a bargain and is definitely 2008's answer to the feature-packed Half-Life 2: The Orange Box.

NEXT PAGE: piece de resistance?

Related articles:

PlayStation 3 review

Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Resistance 2 is a game all about numbers. In this quirky but enjoyable PlayStation 3 shooter, you'll take on a 300ft-tall Leviathan in the single-player campaign, blast countless hordes in the eight-player cooperative mode, and shoot it out with 60 players in online competitive matches.

Piece de resistance?

Resistance 2 doesn't represent a true revolution, but it could spark the beginning of one. By treating the game as a suite of diverse, interconnected micro-worlds rather than one or two monolithic play modes, Insomniac Games has created an online shooter with community at its heart.

And while the results here aren't always as polished and as gorgeous as you might hope, this is a good game that could signal even better things to come. If you're a PlayStation 3 owner, Resistance 2 is a solid choice to get your shooter fix.

Related articles:

PlayStation 3 review

Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

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Resistance 2: Specs

  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • internet connection for online gaming
  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • internet connection for online gaming

OUR VERDICT

Bigger, badder and better than the first, Resistance 2 improves upon the formula set by its predecessor in almost every way. Unfortunately, a handful of minor issues, such as less than stellar graphics, keep this game from reaching the high bar set by competing titles like Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War 2. Still, with its interesting single-player campaign and robust online component, Resistance 2 has plenty to offer any PS3 owner looking for a quick and easy shooter fix.

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