However, these high points don’t constitute the whole game, and there are still sections where you miss the consistently brilliant level design of a Valve or Infinity Ward (and before anyone mentions it, I don’t think any Halo game has been consistently brilliant, either). Some chunks of Resistance 2 still make you feel like Insomniac has run out of ideas and decided that filling a space up with loads of Chimera or three hulking great, rocket launching Titans is good enough to be getting on with. Some of these sections are boring, others difficult without being challenging in any interesting, tactical sort of way. When you finally succeed, it’s more a question of a series of flukes coming off than that you’ve found a way to gain some advantage and win through. And while the core combat is always entertaining, there aren’t many places where it’s as exhilarating or pulse-raising as it can be in the Gears of War games or Call of Duty 4. You’ll come away remembering the big set pieces, but not many of the bits that come between.
In other words, I still don’t think we have a Halo 3/Gears of War 2 beater here yet, but if you’re not taking part in the usual fanboy nonsense, who really cares? As a single player game Resistance 2 is easily the best exclusive FPS on PS3 and one of the five best of any kind on the system. What’s more, it arguably goes even further than its Microsoft rivals in terms of online play. For one thing, along with the usual competitive deathmatch and capture the flag modes, there are team modes allowing for a staggering 60 players (though these are cleverly split into several competing squads to keep things manageable).
What’s more, Resistance 2 throws in the best co-op mode I’ve ever seen outside of Left 4 Dead, with eight players taking part in a dedicated, six-chapter campaign. In practice you tend to pop in and out of chapters rather than play them as one long story, but each has its own big moments and objectives, while a superb, stripped back class system ensures that everyone has a role to play. You’ve got your Soldiers providing the heavy firepower, your Medics keeping everyone fit for duty and your Special Forces providing tactical support and plentiful supplies of ammo, while the game makes it ridiculously easy to do your bit. Resistance 2 co-op is not as elegant or as tense an affair as Left 4 Dead, but it is a hugely entertaining burst of pure mayhem, with Chimera attacking from all sides, ridiculous numbers of bullets being spat out of preposterous weapons, and a nice experience system offering rewards in terms of additional weapons and options the more you play. Resistance 2 is not a short single-player game, anyway, but throw in the online modes and you’d have to be bananas not to buy it.
In the end, then, I’d take some of the bigger claims being made for Resistance 2 with a pinch of salt. It is one of the year’s best action games, but I wouldn’t say it was the absolute best by any means. That said, anyone over the age of 18 in possession of a PS3 and their full mental faculties has no excuse not to own it. It’s not quite a full-blooded masterpiece, but it’s a game that PS3 owners have every right to be proud of.
Curb some of your enthusiasm – Resistance 2 has a dozen great moments, but the action doesn’t always hit enough of the right notes to make it a true Gears/Halo beater. Throw in the superb online modes, however, and the PS3 has its first great exclusive FPS.