Resistance 2: Updated Hands-On With Single-Player, Cooperative, and Competitive Multiplayer

We check out an updated version of Insomniac's alien-filled alternate-history shooter, including a look at the new co-op multiplayer.

The original Resistance for the PlayStation 3 carried the moniker "Fall of Man" and chronicled humanity's coexistence problem with a hostile alien force known as the Chimera. While it may not have an official subtitle, Insomniac's upcoming Resistance 2 might as well be summed up as "fallen man, kicked in face," as things aren't going well for humankind. We recently got a chance to try out an updated work-in-progress version of R2 at a recent press event and were impressed. Insomniac offered us three helpings from Resistance 2's ambitious trio of modes. The single-player sampling featured two levels, the opening stage in Iceland and the third level set in Orick, California. The cooperative demo was a single mission for up to eight players, and, finally, the competitive multiplayer was a quick-and-dirty skirmish match for up to 60 players.

The single-player game eased us into the array of demos by kicking off with the Iceland level that starts out the game and picks up shortly after the end of the original Resistance. We catch up with antihero Nathan Hale as he's filled in on how things have been going around the world. The good news is that there are apparently other soldiers like Hale who are not only resistant to the Chimera virus currently ravaging the population but also share Hale's enhanced physical attributes. The soldiers have been gathered together into an elite task force called the Sentinels at a military base in Iceland. Handy, right?

Though cooperative multiplayer looks to be the highlight, there are lots of modes in Resistance 2.

The bad news is that not long after you get all this information, all hell breaks loose and the Iceland base comes under heavy attack by the Chimera--it's here that you take control of Hale. Your goal is to get out alive, which is a tall order considering the Chimera are intent on leveling the joint. The level mixes the standard hand-holding you'd expect in a tutorial level (which comes courtesy of a soldier leading you through the base) with a hefty dose of dramatic set pieces that showcase R2's impressive scale. The level reacquaints you with familiar weapons, such as the carbine, Rossmore, and LAARK, and also introduces a sexy new weapon, a .44 Magnum whose alternate firing mode lets you detonate its bullets, which is incredibly handy. You're also introduced to old and new enemies, ranging from standard Chimera soldiers to robotic drones and massive shield-wielding ravagers who enjoy charging and punching you until you're dead. However, those enemies pale in comparison to the massive walker you have to deal with in the early part of the level.

The second demo we tried was set in Orick, California (no, we haven't heard of it either, but we checked the Internet and it does in fact exist), which is the third level in the game. It begins with--wait for it--all hell breaking loose on Hale and a group of Sentinels as they ride along in a convoy. The opening cinematic sets the stage as you see Hale sense a trap and get a face full of weapon fire in the process. The goal of the level is to track down a damaged airship and take it out. The tricky part is that it requires a lengthy run through territory that's filled with Chimera. The new big baddie in the level was the Predator-like chamelon, who can turn invisible and has a penchant for charging and slashing with its blades. While deadly, it thankfully can't handle a shotgun to the face. The run to the downed ship was a scenic trip through the ravaged forests in Orick as well as a logging town that was chock-full of Chimera. We also got a taste of some human ingenuity thanks to a stretch of the level where we were helped out by a remote-controlled drone that ran interference for us. The dramatic conclusion had us finding a way around hellfire turrets, which are just as deadly as they sound.

Welcome to Orick, California, home of beautiful redwood forests and the last stand for Northern California against the invading Chimera.

While the single-player demo made a good impression, it was also pretty much what we were expecting, given what we'd seen previously. On the other hand, Resistance 2's cooperative multiplayer mode was a pleasant and addictive surprise. The mode supports up to eight players and offers up a complementary narrative that provides backstory to supplement the single-player story. The cooperative game challenges squads of eight players with a series of missions set in different locales. The missions can be tackled in any order you like and will unlock as you go. Each mission will feature randomized paths to ensure that repeated play-throughs are different.

The real hook to the co-op multiplayer mode is the class and experience system. You'll be able to play as one of three classes--medic, spec ops, or soldier--and you'll earn experience that will let you level up as you play. Each of the classes will feature unique attributes, which are key in battle. Soldiers are the damage-absorbing tanks of the group and have the ability to deploy shields. Their primary weapon is a powerful rifle that's slow to start firing, but when it does, it tears through enemies. Spec ops serve a dual purpose in the group; they deal a hefty amount of damage--although they can't take much--and they drop ammo for the team. The ammo drops are essential for soldiers and will need to be restocked on a regular basis in battle. Last but not least are the medics, who are the team's healers and, at the moment, our favorite class. The medic's rifle, the Phoenix, lets the class dole out damage and heal the team. The weapon's primary fire shoots out a beam that drains energy from enemies. The energy is stored in the rifle and is used to fire charges that do area-of-effect healing. The rifle can store up to 10 charges at a time.

Besides their unique abilities, each class sees the battlefield in a specific way that's relevant to it. Soldiers see health reflected in character names. Spec ops see an ammo icon that changes color as players run low. Finally, medics see health bars under the team's name to keep track of who needs to be healed. Each class will earn experience from killing enemies as well as by playing their class properly. So, soldiers gain experience from shooting enemies, spec ops earns theirs from restocking the team's ammo, and medics earn it from healing the team and draining enemies. As the classes level up, they'll be able to access supplementary weapons and new abilities, such as the temporary berserk abilities that yield different performance enhancements. To complement the leveling, you'll be able to collect "grey tech" from special enemies that you can use to upgrade your gear. All told, each class will have four armor upgrades to go along with class and weapon grades.

New tech, like the drone shown here, will let you take down the enemies in style.

The class system works out logically during gameplay, and it's clear that all groups will need some healers, ammo droppers, and damage dealers. The mix of players depends on the size of your group. While the mode supports as few as two and as many as eight players, the fewer people in your group, the less wiggle room you have for class choices. We played the available mission with each class and were impressed by how it played.

While the different character class types may sound like Team Fortress 2, R2's co-op feels more like an instance run in World of Warcraft with no ninja looting. Coordination is key to success, especially as you're directed through the environment to different objectives. The closer a group is to the full eight players, the better the odds that one or two weak links can be compensated for. Smaller groups will need all players to play their classes to perfection. We're pleased to see that Insomniac has left the mode open-ended in the sense that there are no restrictions to group combos in the mode. So, in theory, a team of eight medics could try to clear missions, although we reckon it would go slowly. On the flip side, a team of spec ops or soldiers could also try to get through missions, although the lack of healing will obviously make things interesting but not impossible (all classes can revive dead comrades, though medics revive the fastest). The only lingering question we have is how well teams will coordinate online using voice chat. We played the game in a large room and just yelled out when we needed support, so we're curious to see how much practice coordinating groups will take before players get comfortable.

The final bit of R2 we played was competitive multiplayer, which was available for some skirmish mode play. The mode has changed considerably since the various demos we've played, including the closed beta. The visuals have been polished up, weapons feel better, and the berserks are a better fit in combat now. While it's not expressly related to the competitive multiplayer, we were told that the experience you accumulate in R2's various modes all goes into the same pool of bragging rights for you, increasing your overall ranking, which is a nice touch. Your ranking ties in to the game's online leaderboards as well as the extremely detailed new community site with features that are being prepped for the game's release.

Yeah, this looks about even odds to us.

Resistance 2's overall presentation is, unsurprisingly, a significant improvement on its predecessor. The graphics have seen a sizable bump in detail and overall scale that really sells the epic-war-movie vibe. The game benefits from a host of technical bells and whistles that Insomniac has been perfecting in its previous PlayStation 3 titles. Lighting in the game is impressive and runs the gamut from flashy to subtle. Little touches, such as the game's new water and enhanced gore (now with more chunks and viscera), are nicely folded into the game. The most impressive thing right now, though, is the massive scale, which comes from the assorted giant enemies like the walker, the open feel to many of the areas, and the sheer number of things happening onscreen. The game's color palette has gotten more varied, which helps shake the bleak look of the original. The audio hasn't gotten as dramatic a bump as the visuals since the original Resistance audio was good and robust. What we heard during our play time was just a refined array of effects, more ambient sound, and effective voice acting that complemented the visuals nicely.

Based on what we played, Resistance 2 is shaping up well. Above and beyond the cosmetic upgrades to the graphics, which are looking good, the cooperative mode adds an impressive new dimension to R2's gameplay. If you're a fan of the original Resistance, you'll want to keep an eye out for Resistance 2, which appears to be improving on its predecessor in every way you'd want it to. Newcomers to the series will want to give the game a look this fall since there's nothing like it on the PlayStation 3. Resistance 2 is slated to ship November 4 on the PlayStation 3. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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Discussion

253 comments
daggwood777
daggwood777

I can't beleive the offline co-op split screen "campaign" doesn't save the 2nd players experience and progress. How can they call this a campaign mode if it won't save both players' progress? I bought this game becuase of the great co-op split-screen mode in the first Resistance, thinking they would surely include it in the sequal. It's a shame they didn't include a offline co-op mode that can be saved - Very disapointed.

allotheabove123
allotheabove123

bazoka 401 is completely right my first like 3-7 games on call of duty 4 (playing on an xbox 360) are filled with lag it also takes me a while to find a game in cod4 (still an awesome game) in RFOM it takes like 2 seconds but it isnt as good

raptor400k
raptor400k

Beautifull,hope its as good as I hope, just feel sad the Hailstorm is gone

jakey820
jakey820

EPIC!!!! I cannot wait for this game

ps3loverr
ps3loverr

cant wait for this just a few weeks more

batman_is_me
batman_is_me

Looks....incredible. Just got a PS3 and never played Resistance, but after watching only a minute of gameplay I'm sold. It instantly shot to the top of my games to buy list.

THORINATOR
THORINATOR

Resistance 2 looks outstanding, only problem is that i should be playing in the Beta right now...except someone at Sony or Insomniac messed up with the european beta key codes, please sort it out quickly Sony! btw- alot of comments here about GOW 2, This also looks amazing...ps3 & 360 have cool titles on the way next month, roll on november!

bazooka401
bazooka401

jps3, actually in the beta i played with 60 players and had absolutley no lag. Maybe infinity ward should take some notes from insomniac. lol

xialon
xialon

No matter how many times I read this, it gets my every time. Can't wait to play this with my brother-in-law. ^^

jps3
jps3

up to 60 players? lol ...got lag?

PS3man2893
PS3man2893

I can't wait for this game to come out. I have playing COD4 for a year straight and i need something new to play. Hopefully Resistance 2 will fulfill my needs. I know it probably won't be as good as COD4, but i hope it either matches it or is close to it. I have high expectations for this game.

jeffrz11
jeffrz11

Leemcx and Outer Raven are both d bags you know nothing about this game that will most definitely own GOW2 in the face!

leemcx
leemcx

Outer_Raven: You hit it right on the money! @Mastiffchild: Once again you out to diss GOW2. Get over it! GOW2 hype is more than justified. Everybody knows GOW was great. Every single comment section on this website is brimming about GOW2.. on almost every single preview page. I've never seen a game do that before.

Outer_Raven
Outer_Raven

Man i looked a few comments down and they're still with the "Res2 is better than Gears" or "Gears is better than Res2"! Grow up ppl and stop this stupid Console war! They're both great consoles with great games! So stop this stupid fanboyism (if that's a word)!

JOTJ
JOTJ

this game makes me moist

kasra_showan
kasra_showan

grafic art,?????? grafic similar cartoon!!!!

ShadowOfKratos
ShadowOfKratos

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

arnoldarm
arnoldarm

hey how come it says humanity has to make their last stand in america? Im pretty sure Australia and to a lesser exctent (sorry) New Zealand havnt been taken over yet, if you go on the american site for the first game England sends civilians to Australia, and when it shows maps in game of the spread of the Chimera, they havnt reached Australia yet

mastiffchild
mastiffchild

TBH the only game I'm really missing from my 360 days is Gears.. and the sequel looks to have really upped the anti but it's nothing like the jump from the original that this is making. The first Resistance was a good solid game whereas Gears was truly stunning so harder to improve on but the gap looks much smaller(if there is one) this time around. Insomniac are fantastic Sony devs and they've been doing loads to this title and it looks like being a fabulous experience, as does Gears2 so whatever console you have you're onto a winner here and if you have both feast and enjoy. And thank the lord that you aren't having to wait for a decent Wii shooter..yes? Though maybe COD:WaW will find a better reception there than on COD4 drenched platforms. Farcry2, Fallout3 the good games are coming thick and fast.

sub-raid
sub-raid

i played R1 and loved it it was my first game on ps3. About R2 it looks very good but i have a feeling it won't get good rating

truenextgen
truenextgen

I can still get a joy out of playing R1 single. For one, its one of the few games you can stick in that does not miss a frame, or have that junk "Next gen" buzzy or missing frames look. You know that Brother in Arms HH "are my eyes jumping or something?" look. It just runs great. 1 was great, Outside of the first 3 levels. First 3 levels were kinda blan and stunk, but after was cool

cpmethod2
cpmethod2

Can't wait. Still playing Resistance 1. I'm interested to see this 8 player co-op in action and massive online battles. Sick...

fatmike2127
fatmike2127

it will be way better plus the game will have trophies which will be kick ass, but why make the maps bigger when they are already huge?

fatmike2127
fatmike2127

gonna be way better, but y make the maps bigger when they were big enough already. the best thing is it will have trophies in the game.

xXJ0N0K3RXx
xXJ0N0K3RXx

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

CTXXXEDGE
CTXXXEDGE

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

CTXXXEDGE
CTXXXEDGE

this makes me happy i own a ps3

xXJ0N0K3RXx
xXJ0N0K3RXx

Now now cildren dont fight both great consoles both great games . Now most of you argue through a biased point i have had both consoles and i gotta say. THEY ARE BOTH AS GOOD AS EACHOVER!!!! Reisistance and gears are diffrent games both strong Exclusives but you have to let go this console war get both and you will see youve been arguing over stupid things and hey atleast all owners have to deal with turok!!

Vasot
Vasot

FAIL !! Farcry2 and GOW2 look way more interesting

arnoldarm
arnoldarm

yeah, i loved the first one and definetly looking forward to getting my grubby paws on this one, and also, looking at the comments a bit further down, this crap is stupid, if you want to complain about resistance and drone on about how gears is better then post it on somthing to do with gears, its stupid posting on a game you dont like to put it down, no one cares

henriquez63
henriquez63

this is definitely the shooter of the year. this game looks amazing, and resistance 1 was great and this just improves it

Jmorky
Jmorky

i just got my PS3 today and got the resistance fall of man, this looks amazing and the graphics are stunning fair play, PS3 can only get better.

-NOXiK_AOPK-
-NOXiK_AOPK-

im with the guy inder me... GEars is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to overated

bill2510
bill2510

ill take this over GOW2. I personaly think gears is over rated as heck

ponyoncrack
ponyoncrack

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

NevsterUK
NevsterUK

I'm a 360 player at heart, although if this game turns out to be as awesome as it looks, I might just invest in a PS3 ;D

stooge55
stooge55

I think this will be more technologically better than GoW2, not just considering graphics, but the size of the levels and what a bluray will allow compared to a 360 disc.

Vasot
Vasot

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

shikakrinks
shikakrinks

this game will make xbox fanboys to ps3 fanboys... i think...

bombfanatic
bombfanatic

Insomniac really upgraded resistance. this game will be better than all microsoft exclusives. man can't wait till it comes out.

mastiffchild
mastiffchild

Insomniac MAY have slightly rushed the first game out for PS3 for launch but the storyine, great core mechs and engrossing clever weaponry saw it become a solid exclusive for sony. R2, though, is gonna be he real thing, Insomniac don't do failure for PS and this is looking ten times the experience the first one was-and faith in a dev as strong and well directed as this looks like being repayed with the best exclusive console shooter this year.

cjgow20549
cjgow20549

i'll get killone if this one disapoints

Pexalottle
Pexalottle

Thank god we havent had many xbox fanboys telling us "how crappy this is and how GoW2 is going to be so much better" invading yet. great game, I preordered it last month. Shame i cant get the limited ed.