Earlier today we were invited to meet with representatives from Insomniac Games and check out some of the ambitious community features that are planned for Resistance 2. Before being shown that stuff, though, we were given a brief demo of the game spanning three distinct levels.
The first level shown, titled Leviathan, was the same one featured prominently at the start of Sony's press conference--pitting the protagonist, Nathan Hale, against a gigantic chimeran monster that's in the process of tearing apart a run-down city of Chicago. The leviathan was significantly taller than most of the buildings in the city and was grabbing onto rooftops and such as it lumbered toward Nathan. To say that the beast looked impressive as it closed in would be an understatement for sure, and when it reached down and grabbed Nathan, we were afforded a look at its mouth that was a little too up close and personal for comfort. A rocket fired down the leviathan's throat caused it to loosen its grip, and after landing back on terra firma, Nathan had to run for his life.
With the leviathan in pursuit, Nathan ran up to the roof of a building, which we're told will be on fire in the finished game, and then across a less-than-safe looking scaffold to the roof of another building. Things took a turn for the worse when the building started losing stories from the top down as the monster swiped at them and forced Nathan to frantically run down the stairwells. Then, without warning, it was confirmed for us once and for all that no "god mode" cheat was being used when the whole screen turned red (there's no life bar this time) and this portion of the demo came to an abrupt end.
Next up was the Grims Alley level, which will precede the Leviathan level in the finished game. It tasks you with battling your way through the streets of Chicago to go deal with the giant menace that has made the city a no-fly zone. The run-down streets were nicely detailed with burning car wrecks, busted-looking storefronts, and the like, but before we had a chance to take it all in, Nathan and his three AI squadmates were set upon by grims--the skinny, speedy, zombie-like creatures that are all that's left of Chicago's population.
The grims significantly outnumbered Nathan and his squadmates, but each of the AI guys were armed with a different signature weapon that they clearly knew how to handle, and Nathan was packing a Magnum 44 loaded with some impressive ammo. We didn't catch the name of the bullets on this occasion, but after firing them either at a target or simply at the ground, you'll be able to detonate them manually with the push of a button. By getting creative with multiple rounds, it's possible to lay traps or even to turn enemies into powerful bombs that will kill several of their number when they're detonated.
Before long the attacking horde had been reduced to a pile of dismembered limbs and what the team at Insomniac affectionately refers to as "chunks." Resistance 2 doesn't appear to be gory per se, but it's definitely more graphic than its predecessor where slayings are concerned.
The third and final portion of the demo took place just across the water from downtown San Francisco. The city could clearly be seen burning from a vantage point near the Bay Bridge (possibly on Treasure Island), but it wasn't until Nathan looked up at the sky that we realized what was going on; a fleet of a dozen or so huge chimera ships accompanied by hundreds of small fighters was nonchalantly floating over the Bay Area and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. There wasn't a whole lot that Nathan could do about that, unfortunately, though we're told that later in the game (San Francisco is the second level) you'll have an opportunity to get aboard one of the ships. Down on the ground Nathan ran into a number of chimera, and although we didn't get to see a whole lot of the fight that ensued, it was clear that the enemies were behaving intelligently and putting both the primary and secondary fire modes of their weapons to good use.
When the demo was over we were treated to a look at some mock-ups of the community Web site that Insomniac is planning to launch alongside Resistance 2 in November. The site, which can be customized to feature only the content that you're most interested in, will offer an impressive list of options, many of which use information uploaded from your PlayStation 3 during gameplay. For example, you'll be able to check your stats against those of other players, keep track of your special accomplishments and achievements, view screenshots (no movies, unfortunately) that you've captured in-game, and create a "combat badge" for yourself that not only identifies you as a member of the community but also gives other users some indication of your play style via a series of icons that appear beneath your avatar.
Furthermore, on your customized page on the site you'll be able to track friends' achievements, developer blogs and podcasts, user-generated content, forum conversations that you're a part of, your multiplayer rank, and lots of other information. Another section of the site will purportedly feature a timeline of events in the Resistance universe that will clarify how the two PlayStation 3 games and the upcoming PSP game, Resistance: Retribution, fit together. The subject of possible interaction between the PSP game and Resistance 2 came up toward the end of our session, but Insomniac refused to comment and said only that no announcements about that sort of thing are being made at this time.
We look forward to bringing you more information on Resistance 2 as soon as it becomes available.