The 12 guns you wield throughout the campaign are also quite satisfying. Some old favorites have returned, like the workhorse M5A2 Carbine, and there are a few great additions, like the .44 Magnum that shoots bullets that double as remote-detonated explosives. Secondary attacks like this one are a feature on every gun, and they effectively double the destructive options at your disposal. Though the weapons don't feel particularly realistic, they are so uniquely deadly and fun to use that you'll hardly notice. You can only carry two guns at a time, but the game does a good job of making sure you have a chance to use them all. There are also a few different types of powerful grenades at your disposal (notably the fiery air-fuel and spiky hedgehog), and they round out your very effective and very gratifying arsenal.
While the campaign is a lengthy (about 10 hours) and satisfying endeavor, the online cooperative mode is what really sets Resistance 2 apart. In this mode, up to eight players fight their way through hordes of Chimera to accomplish a set of objectives. Each player must choose one of three specific classes, each with its own guns and special abilities. The Medic drains enemy health and passes it on to teammates, an essential function because no one can regenerate health. The Special Ops uses a battle rifle of sorts and is the only source of ammunition refills. The Soldier carries a gatling gun that can generate a protective shield, defending his teammates and shredding the Chimera simultaneously. This interdependency binds players together and creates a frantic, engaging team dynamic.
As a further incentive, each player earns experience and currency throughout the mission that can be used to unlock more weapons, special abilities, and stat-enhancing gear. These powerful bonuses aren't easy to attain, which makes earning them all the more satisfying. The action plays out on a variety of sizable multiplayer maps inspired by the campaign levels. These maps each have a bevy of objectives, and every mission takes a few objectives at random and strings them together, so subsequent playthroughs of the same map feel different. This is a good thing, because you'll have to run a number of successful missions on the first map before you unlock the next, and so on. Each map is designed so that enemies can (and will) come at you from a number of directions. Missions are hard and demand teamwork and skill, so each time you vanquish a wave of enemies it feels like a small victory. Add this sense of accomplishment to the addictive and rewarding experience system, and you've got a game mode that's truly excellent.
With enemies like this, you'll need all the friends you can get.
If you're not feeling cooperative, Resistance 2 boasts a robust competitive mode as well. Maps accommodate as few as two and as many as 60 players, and do so with virtually no lag. The usual Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag ("Core Control") modes are available, but the best of the bunch is Skirmish. In this mode, teams are divided up into squads, and each squad receives on-the-fly objectives to complete. Objectives are updated often and can change the flow of battle drastically, so each match has a unique, frantic feel. Unlike in the cooperative mode, you have all the abilities and weapons in the single-player campaign readily available to you, so everyone is more or less evenly matched. You can also play ranked matches to earn experience and upgrades, and even though it's not quite as engaging as the cooperative mode, the competitive multiplayer is still a blast.
All in all, Resistance 2 is an excellent game. The stirring scale of the single-player levels is impressive and the pervasive details make them truly awesome. Despite the squandered story, blasting your way through the campaign is electrifying, thanks largely to the deadly weapons in your arsenal. The cooperative multiplayer is a resounding success, and the competitive modes are terrific in their own right. Anyone looking for a superb shooter experience need look no further than Resistance 2.