After the first game and hearing how much better this game was then Resistance 1, I was actually looking forward to continuing the tale.... that excitement ended early on, and even now I do not begin to understand how this game was rated as high as it was... unless the graphics and size of the deathmatch game blinded reviewers to it's GAPING flaws..... or they decided it was time to suck Sony's dick. Either way, I have bad news... this game was far from the greatness it was hailed as.
Story: The story for Resistance 2 takes place right as the original game ended... well, the ending hidden after the credits. Nathan Hale has been captured by as of yet unnamed soldiers and whisked away. Two years later, he is one of them... part of a secret project to use Chimera infected super soldiers, keeping them human at their core via inhibitor shots used to stop the virus infection from progressing. It is America's secret project to fight the Chimera threat... which has also landed on these shores.... and it's under attack. From this evacuation, you will be whisked from city to city around the globe. The problem is, you will not get much of an explanation as to why.
From my own experience, it seems like the only explanation to what is going on is in the form of intelligence files you can find along the way. If you miss too many, you will have no idea what's going on outside of it being bad for mankind and you are trying to stop it. Even your group, I only understood you were not the only one but a squad of infected soldiers because of outside sources. It was just a bad idea to use the intelligence you recover by hunting for it in a level to replace the job of the narrator in the first game, since it left everything pretty disconnected.
Graphics: Let me say this right now... Resistance 2 is beautiful. Even by today's standards, the game holds up looking for the most part as details as today's games and fitting the look of the world established by the original. But that said, there are details that somehow got lost in translation... be it effects that are a little more pixelated then they should be on rare occasion, or the movement of the Chimera sometimes being a lot more human then they were in the past. I really can not complain about this part, and in fact, it is probably one of the best put together game in the graphic department I have played in a long time. To put it bluntly, calling Crysis 2 the most beautiful game on console is in my humble opinion, a lie. Resistance to beats the console version of the game hands down.
And it does it on liquid smooth frame-rates. There is nothing bad outside of a little nit-picking I can say about this game here. At all.
Sound: The sound in this game is a lot more standard then the graphics. Don't get me wrong, timing of them works great to complete an atmosphere that far surpasses the original game, but individually, everything seems a lot more meh then good.
Guns sound meaty and powerful enough, but nothing really stands out as amazing. Characters speak through out the game, and the voice acting is ok, but even this can have it's downside... especially when three generic soldiers all bark the same order on top of each other in the same voice (happened to me). I felt like I was playing Crysis 2 again for a moment, and at that point when everyone wants to kill their allies for a bug of this nature in that game.
However, the music handles much better. There are only a few tracks that will really stick out, but overall the themes are setup nicely to enhance the mood. Be it knowing the rush of hoards coming at you or the tension of an unexplored area, the music is poised perfectly for it.
Gameplay: And this is where this game completely falls apart, especially when you compare it to the original. Right off the bat, you are going to notice your health bar is missing.In the first game, you had quartered off health that regenerated only the quarter you were in. This hybrid made a lot of sense, especially since you regained your health by collecting vats of the very fluids that let the Chimera regenerate, making the infection feel that much more like part of the situation. Resistance 2 completely destroys that element in favor of the generic CoD style "screen's depth of red" telling you how hurt you are, and completely healing if you can get into cover. Had the first game done this, I would not complain, but considering how well it's health system actually helped you "feel" the infection's effects, it feels as if somehow changing this was a mistake.
Furthermore, we are now dealing with a lot more fights that have you and a team vs a whole ton of Chimera that make for some absolutely great moments of warfare. This is a change from the original again, in which most of the time you were pretty much on your own. Sadly the moments of greatness are often encased in situation breaking AI which seems to have not gotten an upgrade with the situation. Often times the enemy will completely ignore all your team members in favor of trying to kick your ass... and the results vary. Sometimes, it makes parts of the game obnoxiously hard as you are literally dog-piled by hoards of enemies who completely ignore everyone else shooting at them, and others become obnoxiously easy, as was the case with two brutes, one of which I killed with my 5th machine-gun bullet because while I was running for my life as they kept blowing shit up around me. This was even possible because my team, who were at their backs just unloaded on them, completely ignored and unharmed. Such amazingly bad AI should simply not go unnoticed.
Nor should the amazing volume of cheap death this game deals out. This seems to be most commonly in the form of a new enemy called a Chameleon. They are not particularly tough, but are invisible and kill you in one hit. Add to this they often come in packs, spawn quasi-randomly making it just about impossible to predict where they will appear, and sometimes those spawn points are pretty close by you, these things will be responsible for most of your deaths in game. Your total warning will be a roar you dread and the hope that it's showing up in the general direction you happen to be looking at the time. If you are not on surround sound, there is no way in HELL the sound will have a chance of telling you where it's coming from. (And I do not know if the game was programmed to support it, so this might not help you either.)
Then we can get to the Swarm... a boss so vile that it almost got me to drop the controller and turn off the game.... between multiple encounters. It's invulnerable, it moves faster then you, and it either chases you through areas long enough that the only thing I can think of that got me through it was pure luck, or you get no clue as to where you should go to get through the chase. Literally, the second encounter required a youtube guide because the answer is bad enough it could belong in an old Kings Quest game. (Since when do you turn around and run AT what you are running away from? Who thought THIS was a good idea?). And this all culminates in an exceedingly obnoxious "battle" which basically has you playing cat-and-mouse with the swarm and hoping you can run away from it fast enough not to die in, you guessed it, one hit kill style.
That is not to say this game is all bad, though. When this game does things right, holy shit it does things right. When it's you alone and the hoard is screaming in, the music tunes up the tension and you are in the thick of hell, feeling every inch of it in full glory. Add to this a descent co-op game mode who's total crime is being released too close to Left4Dead to be noticed by most, and you have some amazing gameplay to be had. It's just a shame it's mixed in with some really REALLY bad decisions.
Bugs: Honestly, I couldn't find one. This game ran perfectly.
Overall: If this were 2008, I would have to recommend this game to anyone who only had a PS3 and therefore missed out on Left4Dead. The co-op gameplay is actually suprisingly comparable, if not quite up to the same level. But not being able to be fair about deathmatch since I generally dont like it, how far we've come for co-op online gameplay, how bad a lot of choices the developers made for the campaign were, and generally how much worse this game was for it then the first title, I have a hard time recommending it to anyone anymore. It's a shame really, because when this game shines, it's a god damn super nova. But most of the time, it just kinda farts out... and the gasses may make you need to open a window for how much it stinks from time to time.