The game PS3 owners have been waiting for and one of Sony's best exclusives of the current console generation.
This review is free of spoilers, so please read further without any fear of having the game/story spoiled for you.
It should be noted I played this game on a 40" LCD 1080p Sony Bravia TV and thus there may be differences in displays. There have been several reviews indicating lackluster graphics. The graphics are, IMO, stellar. The enemies are well detailed with the appropriate amount of "shine". The apparatuses on their backs are clearly defined and contrast well with the in game enemies. If there is one thing the developers were going for, it is HUGE bosses and enemies. Bosses are huge, but several enemies you will be fighting throughout the campaign will tower above you.
The environments and locales are designed especially well and you will be surprised at the variety of areas you'll explore as you travel across America. Insomniac (the developers of Resistance 2) did an excellent job of creating the atmosphere of an alternate reality of 1950's America through their use of contemporary art, lighting, architecture, etc.
My only complaint with R2's graphics is the jaggy edges found throughout levels. They don't appear on enemies or characters, but are rampant throughout the game. It's not horrible, but it is definitely noticeable. I believe this to be due to both the limits of the PS3, as well as Insomniac's decision to offer increased detail, large environments, and large enemies.
Graphics Score 9.0 out of 10.0
I played this game using the optical out connected to a 5.1 Kenwood 720W Surround Sound system. Overall sound was pretty good. Users with a surround sounds system will have an advantage of those that do not due to R2's excellent use of directional sound. Low Frequency Effects (LFE's) were good throughout and offered a nice bass effect to explosions, gun fire, etc. My only complaint with sound is that all of the weapons sound "wimpy" for lack of a better term. I expected a louder report or in the case of the rocket launcher, more "oomph" when I pulled the trigger. As this is a significant aspect of the game, this score took a hit.
Sound Score 8.5 out of 10.0
I would like to note that I only have a Sixaxis, and thus I can't report on the vibration functions of the DS3 for this review. A friend has one, so if I get the chance to try it out on R2 I will amend this review.
Overall the controls were excellent. They were quick and responsive, although using the Far Eye does require some finger yoga (press L1 to zoom, the D pad to zoom further, R2 to slow down time, and then finally R1 to fire). There are some differences between Resistance: FOM and Resistance 2. The biggest difference in controls between Resistance: FOM and Resistance 2: are that in Resistance: FOM you use triangle to melee while Resistance 2 requires the use of R3. The other difference is Resistance: FOM used R3 to zoom while Resistance 2 uses L1. It's not a huge difference, but gamers who played Resistance: FOM a lot may require more time to get accustomed to the controls.
Controls Score 8.5 out of 10.0
Those that are familiar with Xbox Live will feel right at home with Insomniac's excellent use of online features. Resistance 2's online component is so good, I wish Sony would make its features standard across all PSN enabled games, much the same way MS has done with XBL. You click community and you can see friends that are online, check out your clan (or search for one), look at your stats, etc without ever using the XMB. It's that good.
The online features of Resistance 2 are broken up into Competitive and Co-Op. Competitive offers a variety of match types including: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Core Control, and Skirmish. Death Match and Team Deathmatch are self explanatory. Core Control is basically CTF (Capture the Flag). Skirmish takes place on a massive 60 player map where players are broken up into squads. Each squad has different objectives to complete. It's these 60 player frag fests that really drive home the importance of dedicated servers. Only once in my time online did I notice any significant lag.
The Co-Op component is equally good. Players can choose 1 of 3 classes, Soldier, Medic, and Engineer. Insomniac's implementation of these classes is great and forces players to work together. The soldier has the Wraith (a big gun with a 200 hundred round clip) and is able to provide other players with a temporary shield. The Medic's gun drains health from enemies which the player can then disperse to other players. The engineer is similar except he provides his teammates with much needed ammo. Insomniac's implementation of Co-Op is excellent as each play through varies by using different maps, different objectives, etc.
Both features (competitive and co-op) allow your character to advance through gaining experience (XP) which allows you to use better guns, different clothing, different "perks", etc.
Online Features Score: 10.0 out of 10.0
I both love and hate it. I think Insomniac did a great job of creating the atmosphere of 1950's America, starting as soon as you read the game manual. I think their art direction also greatly enhanced the atmosphere they were trying to create. My frustration with the storyline in Resistance 2 is that the great concept first introduced in Resistance: FOM isn't really advanced throughout Resistance 2. I think the concept of Resistance is one of the best in gaming but Insomniac just doesn't seem to push it forward much in R2. In fact, the only real story developments come in "intel" you find hidden throughout the game. I would be much happier if the Intel offered extra detail instead of the most of the storyline. The fear I have in regard to using the intel to develop the storyline is that many gamers will not put in the extra time to find all of the intel. Insomniac also uses small 50's style radios that you will come upon in the various levels. While it does not fully substitute developing a storyline, it does offer the gamer a cool picture into what is currently going on in American outside of the game world through radio broadcasts.
Overall Presentation/Story Score: 9.0 out of 10.0
To assign an overall score for the game, I took the score from each section, added them up, and then divided it by the number of total sections.
Overall Score of Resistance 2: 9.0 out of 10.0
This is my first (of hopefully many GS reviews) so please feel free to leave a comment about what you liked, disliked, or have suggestions about. You can also feel free to PM me. Thanks for reading.