When it debuts Feb. 27, “Killzone 2” will be the third alien-invasion genre game released in the past four months.
Perhaps no other sub-genre of action gaming has seen as much action over the past few years.
It was a trend that took off with the release of “Halo” in 2001 and continued to gather steam when the current generation of consoles was released.
The Xbox 360’s “Gears of War 2” and the PlayStation 3’s “Resistance 2” were released late last year, with both getting a chance to cash in on their own original games and on the interest in the sub-genre.
While “Gears of War 2” was my third favorite game of last year behind “LittleBigPlanet” and “Grand Theft Auto IV,” I didn’t spend much time with “Resistance 2” until recently.
“Resistance 2” starts just after the original game, which was one of the first PlayStation 3 games, with protagonist Nathan Hale surviving the initial battle with the alien-like Chimera. The setting is an alternate history of the 1950s, where the Chimera have invaded Europe and wiped out most of the British military.
Early in the sequel, Hale is rescued in Iceland following the events of the first game and transported to a military base. Two years later, the Chimera have invaded America, and Hale is needed to help the resistance.
Much like “Gears of War 2,” “Resistance 2” starts off with a more epic setting. The first time Hale emerges from an underwater base and sees the massive assault on San Francisco, you realize that this game is much bigger than the original.
The locales are visually stunning at times. During the aforementioned scene, there are hundreds of Chimera airships in the sky, and some are “Independence Day” massive. But Hale visits a number of other locations, and rarely do they fail to impress.
Hale is supplied with an impressive array of weapons, another big improvement from the original. Each gun has a secondary function as well, like the pistol that shoots bullets that can also be used as mines.
While it improves on the original, the game falls short of some of the other sub-genre defining games such as “Halo” and “Gears of War.”
At times, the game seems like nothing more than endless assault on the same enemy. Most of the battles come against the same cookie-cutter Chimera soldiers. That happens in many games, but these Chimera are especially stupid. The artificial intelligence is inconsistent at best.
When you get a chance to encounter some of the bosses in the game, the battles are quick, and some are even uninspiring.
But for the most part, “Resistance 2” managed to harness the epic scope that was lacking in the original, and the game was an improvement. And if nothing else, it’s a pretty good appetizer for “Killzone 2.”