With hopes of 8 player co-op dancing in my headed, I gleefully hit the F5 key on my inbox this past week hoping for that Resistance 2 Beta Key. Finally on Friday it came, and the first thing I did upon walking through my front door was kick off the 2.2GB download off.
The beta consists of one co-op level, Orick, but it's a bit of a misnomer to call it only one level. The game seems to mix things up and randomize the objectives available in a level. I think I saw at least 5 variations to the start of Orick. This gives each map a ton of re-playability, but it also weakens some of the story elements.
Players can choose 3 character classes; medic, soldier, and special forces. Each class as a special ability to help the team. The medic can heal, the special forces can supply ammo, and the soldier can provide cover by deploying a shield. Remember these abilities, because they are absolutely critical to have any hope of completing a level successfully. The co-op enemy AI is relentless and you will die...a lot. Luckily there's a 30 second respawn, as well as the ability for teammates of any class to bring you back quickly. If your entire team is dead at one time then it's mission failed.
The biggest draw of the cooperative mode is the persistent character classes that last from mission to mission. With every bullet penetration of a baddie, you'll be rewarded with experience points. Heal a friend? XP. Supply ammo? XP. Block shots? XP. The more XP you get, the more you can level up and unlock weapons and abilities for your character. There's something incredibly addictive about seeing the experience text coming off enemies while shooting them. And really, it's the only way you know you are hitting them.
This brings me to my main gripe with Resistance 2. The weapons lack any visceral feeling. I never really feel like I'm hitting the enemies. They take so many bullets to bring down, even with 8 players, that it's almost laughable. Not only that, there's no animation or anything on the enemy characters providing positive feedback of hits save for a few spurts of blood. It feels like I'm playing laser tag with giant aliens who have real lasers.
Despite that the combat is absolutely intense and gritty. There's nothing better than seeing your entire team surrounding a HUGE alien trying to bring it down. It looks like a scene from Godzilla, except in this case Godzilla explodes after 10 minutes of gunfire.
The Resistance 2 beta features gorgeous graphics and some great sound, but even during the most intense moments you can't help but feel something is missing. With only a few weeks to go before release I'm not sure there's enough time to "fix" the problem. That's not to say I didn't have fun, I quickly melted 2 hours of my Saturday afternoon away playing. Don't worry, you'll still find me online come November 7th.