Resistance 2

Resistance 2 strips away much of what made the original game so unique, and replaces it with generic buckets full of blood and guts.
boyward - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Extreme violence is much bloodier and gorier than the original Resistance: Fall of Man. Player kills thousands of aliens. Aliens kill hundreds of human soldiers and scientists. Strong profanity including the f-word, s-word, and God’s name used in vain. Scantily clad women inside the instruction manual.

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From the game box: “America is forever lost! It’s 1953. The Chimera have invaded America. Entire U.S. states lie in smoking ruins. Chicago and San Francisco are overrun. Mankind’s fate once again rests in the hands of Army Lt. Nathan Hale, an infected soldier who is becoming the enemy he despises.”

Resistance 2 begins where the original tale left off. Resistance: Fall of Man was set in an alternate history 1951 where Europe was invaded not by Nazis, but by the ravaging alien Chimera. Thanks to American soldier Nathan Hale, humanity managed to win round one. But Hale was infected by the Chimera virus, and that game ended with Hale being taken captive by his own people and then converted into sort of a super soldier. Two years have passed, Hale has become a recognized leader in the Sentinels, a secret government crew of similarly infected super soldiers who keep their infection in check through injections of “inhibitors”. With the Chimera threat spreading across Hale’s homeland and humanity on the brink of extinction, the Sentinels are being deployed and Hale is leading the charge.

There are several changes from the first game, which is why I say this is “not your Daddy’s Resistance”. Some of the changes are good: there are more visually striking environments such as California’s forests and a devastated 1950’s Chicago. You’ll also return to the Chimera’s futuristic bases. The set pieces here are more memorable and polished than they were in the original PS3 launch title which looked more like Europe in World War 2. But some of the changes have removed the original’s more distinctive qualities and reduced the sequel to a more generic sci-fi shooter. Mimicking Halo, you can now regenerate your health by taking cover, and can carry only two weapons at a time instead of being able to make use of an entire arsenal of inventive weaponry. This is unfortunate, because you have to play the game as Insomniac wants it to be played. For example, if you find a sniper rifle, you can pretty much count on a long-distance encounter, and if you find a magnum you can be sure the next battle will be played at close range. It makes things a little more predictable and less inventive.

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Another big change is that for half the game you’ll be fighting alongside your Sentinel squad mates and human troopers instead of playing the “lone hero”. (Presumably, this is to allow for the new 8-player online and 2-player offline co-op mode that allows your friends to become Hale’s squad mates.) Hale, instead of remaining the silent hero that he was, has suddenly learned to express himself by barking at his fellow Sentinels.

And in an effort to give us more variety, developer Insomniac has invented new “boss” Chimera strains that don’t look a thing like the human beings they supposedly mutated from. The unique “alternate history” “what if this happened in real life?” feel is gone, replaced by a decidedly more mainstream game where you run around and shoot monsters. It’s still a high quality shooter, but if you enjoyed Resistance: Fall of Man’s distinctiveness, you need to realize that in borrowing ideas from other franchises, a lot has changed.

On to the content review. Please note that this review covers only the single-player campaign and not multiplayer modes. The multiplayer Competitive mode offers support for up to 60 players on a battlefield.

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VIOLENCE
The Electronic Software Ratings Board (ESRB) has given Resistance 2 a “Mature” rating, citing “Blood and Gore” and “Intense Violence”. What happens here is much more graphic than Halo, more on par with other strong M-rated alien-killing games like Half-Life 2, Quake 4, and Gears of War 2.

One unexpected change from the original Resistance is the gory new way that Chimera are created. Whereas the human bodies used to be dragged away for processing at a Chimera factory, now the Spinners (spider-like creatures) spin a red cocoon around them and allow them to gestate right where they lie. Nathan can sometimes hit the cocoons with his knife or rifle butt before they hatch. This action disrupts the birth and kills the skinny “Grim” Chimera within. To my surprise, some of the bodies that come sliding out are children, and you have to kill them too. There are dozens of these sacks attached to the ground, walls and ceilings, and when these fleshy wombs hatch, a speedy and blood-thirsty Grim bursts forth from the pulsating flesh bag and charges Hale, usually with a lot of his Grim buddies following close behind. Fighting these guys in the dark with a flashlight is seriously unnerving because they move so quickly and realistically.

The Grims are especially vulnerable to your Splicer weapon. By shooting its buzz saws in their general direction you can watch as arms, legs, and heads are sliced off. If it’s just an arm, the Grims’ bloodlust will compel them to continue charging toward you. But they’re no match for the Splicer, and eventually their body parts will be piled up in bloody heaps.

The Chimera body count will reach 1000 before you’re even halfway through the game, and each strain of Chimera offers new ways to deliver or receive carnage.

While in the woods, Hale notes some human bodies that have been ripped in half, torso from legs. “Who could have done this?” he wonders aloud. Meet the Chameleon, an invisible Chimera with claws who appears out of nowhere and dismembers its victims with one swift strike.

Later, Hale meets the Leeches. These appear to be Grims that are packed full of explosives and must be shot from long range, or Hale will be hit by the blast and the bloody chunks of blasted Leech.

The towering Titan has a similar problem. The weapon strapped to his back is vulnerable to gunfire, and when it catches fire and begins to overheat, the Titan desperately reaches back to break free, but always without success. Enormous hunks of bony flesh rain down from the sky.

The skyscraper-sized Leviathan gets an eye blown out and blood gushes out of his head across Chicago.

The end of the game gives Hale the ability to use Force-like powers to blow the Chimera into meaty bits.

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One could excuse this carnage by saying, “Well, they’re just aliens”, but in practice it’s the same moral dilemma one faces when battling zombies in Half-Life 2 or the Flood in Halo: these things used to be human. And while many of them have devolved into mindless killing machines, one particular Chimera is still called by his human name, his personality still somewhat intact. There are child Grims, both in the birthing sacs, and mingled amongst the adults in combat. Some zombie-hunting gamers will have no problem with that, others (you know who you are) will accept this clarification with appreciation.

While the carnage dealt to the Chimera is severe, players will witness much death on the human side as well. Scientists and soldiers are thrown around like rag dolls. A swarm of bug-like Chimera roams the hallways like a school of piranha, reducing screaming humans to a spray of blood and flesh. Everywhere you go, somebody is being terrorized, shot, crushed, dismembered, ripped in half, or vaporized. Sometimes you’ll come around a corner hearing screams, and by the time you get there all that’s left are fleshy chunks slowly sliding down the walls and dripping off the ceilings. The ending is especially jarring and gruesome.

FRIGHTENING MOMENTS
The Grims burst out of their cocoons unexpectedly, making for plenty of “jump” moments. Sometimes they do this in the dark. It reminds me of “Condemned: Criminal Origins“.

LANGUAGE
The ESRB has given Resistance 2 a “Mature” rating, citing “Strong Language”. About on par with the first game, Resistance 2 abuses the Lord’s (“God”, “Jesus”) name and makes moderate use of mild profanities and the s-word. One of Hale’s squad mates threatens to kill him if he turns into a Chimera. Hale begins to strangle this man and tells him off. There are two uses of the F-word: one in the middle, and one at the end of the single-player campaign.

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SEXUAL CONTENT
The instruction manual has a couple pictures of pinup girls in the style of the 1940’s and 50’s.

POSITIVE ELEMENTS
Not a lot, except for the courage of Nathan Hale and his fellow SRPA squad mates.

CONCLUSION
I felt that the original Mature-rated Resistance: Fall of Man could have been edited a wee bit and earned itself a Teen rating. Like Halo, it was one of those games that was almost borderline, and I had thought that Resistance 2 might continue that tradition. But by delivering a handful of M-rated scares along with buckets full of alien and human blood and guts all the way through the game, Resistance 2’s M-rating is well-deserved.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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