Boasting bosses the size of skyscrapers and online multiplayer arenas that can accommodate an unprecedented 60 gamers, the sequel to the only sound reason to buy a PlayStation 3 at launch—Resistance: Fall Of Man—does everything a sequel should do. At least, it does on paper.
The game tells the ongoing story of Nathan Hale, a humble, weak-chinned British soldier who was infected with an alien virus in the original. In true B-movie fashion, Hale hasn't quite "turned" in the sequel; like a diabetic, he requires routine injections to prevent the virus from overtaking him. Ostensibly, this virus explains why in the sequel, Hale suddenly looks and fights like a Master Chief-caliber badass. (He also sports a new sleek, black uniform.)
Levels have been widened like superhighways to accommodate the eight-player cooperative mode. Gone is the original game's humble, survivor-man quality, and gone is the hardscrabble search for health packs, weapons, and ammo that made players feel like they were being simultaneously resourceful and clever. The developers set out to make a far more bombastic game—the explosions come early and often, no doubt a response to the gripe that the original took too long to get cooking—and in the process, they lost sight of the intimacy and tension that made the first game so memorable.
Beyond the game: Developer Insomniac has created a Facebook-style social networking site (myresistance.net) in the name of facilitating a community.
Worth playing for: Eight-player co-op is a gas, especially when you're playing with seven people you know. (But best of luck finding seven friends who own PS3s.)
Frustration sets in when: It dawns on you that the game wasn't designed to be played solo. Even on the Casual difficulty setting, expect to endure your fair share of try-and-die situations.
Final judgment: You can't argue with Resistance 2's robust feature set. But the once-relatable, ragtag protagonist Nathan Hale has been transformed into a generic square-jawed action hero, the kind who's been the subject of satire since 1991's Duke Nukem. Clearly Nathan isn't just battling the Chimeran virus; he's also suffering from a severe case of John McClane-itis.