Resistance Retribution (PSP)
This 3rd person action game set in the Resistance Universe might have more to it than some cynical PSP owners expect.
When Sony released the PS3 they were acutely aware that they need fantastic launch games, and that those games had to satisfy the core gamer demographic while also showcasing the power of their new console. They also wanted brand new IP, and along with Motorstorm, we were given Resistance: Fall of Man, which has new become a full fledged franchise, complete with its out PSP spin-off, Retribution.
Retribution is set between the events of Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2, and follows a new protagonist, the rough, tough and deeply angry James Grayson. At the start of the game Grayson makes a grim discovery regarding his brother, which eventually sees him imprisoned and subsequently sprung to join the Marquis, a French force fighting the alien Chimera across Europe.
Grayson is certainly a British action hero stereotype, but at the same time his back story and situation with his brother make him a compelling character who is enlightened more by the periphery characters that surround him. The only problem with him, and any of the characters, is that the voice acting can be really spotty in places and really can break the immersion that is so eloquently conveyed through the rest of the game.
Immersive is one word to describe this title, but so is hard. In fact, very hard is more apt, since the latest conventions of modern third person shooters have been done away with, so no recharging health system here and no armour, though the game does have an effective cover system that does make up for these omissions. Technically you can get recharging health in the game, but more on that later.
The bane of most PSP games is the control scheme, especially when it comes to shooters, but in this case it has actually worked really well. You move with the analog nub and aim with the face buttons, firing with the right shoulder button and using alternate fire modes with the left shoulder button. It may take awhile to get used to but it does work, especially since the developers have implemented a generous auto aim which automatically locks on to the nearest target within a box displayed on screen.
The auto aim works well for the most part, though there are instances when it targets the furthest enemy rather than the nearest. Precision aiming, used by pressing the up button on the D-pad handles ok, but the somewhat imprecise nature of using the face buttons to aim means you can over compensate a bit and miss your target, which is annoying when the thing your trying to hit will explode if you don’t shoot it in the head.
As described earlier, Resistance: Retribution can get maddeningly hard, especially on the later levels of this surprisingly lengthy adventure and with no recharging health the picks can prove sparse, especially if your confronted by every enemies which spit fire at an insanely fast rate. There is however, a way around this, and that is to ‘infect’ your PSP by hooking it up to a PS3 with Resistance 2 in the drive. This gives Grayson the same chimeran virus Nathan Hale has in the main games, and slightly alters the cut scenes you see during the campaign, allowing for recharging health and a much easier time of the later levels.
Like its bigger brothers, Retribution has an array of weaponry which make a strange mix of sci-fi and historical arms. Weapons such as the standard rifle look like something the military would have in the time the game is set, with a grenade launcher attached and physical bullets. Then there are the weapons like the Auger, which fires bolts of radiation that tunnel through cover and can project a protective energy field around the wielder. All of the weapons have alternative fire modes ranging from the aforementioned shield to firing a spinning disc that bounces off walls to the more mundane like launching grenades, and they are all fantastic to use.
The graphics and sound are done really well, despite the dodgy voice acting in spots, and though there are some graphics hiccups, the frame rate holds steady at all times, so it is really just a few clipping issues that most PSP titles have. All of the weapons sound meaty as do explosions and the story sections between levels really do make the game feel like a war story told by someone else.
The biggest problem with Resistance: Retribution is that there is no way to save in the middle of a level, and the auto save doesn’t kick in until you have finished a given level either, couple that with the length of some of the sections and you could find yourself having to place your PSP into standby mode until you can come back to the game and finish the level.
In all, Resistance: Retribution is a great game, let down by some dodgy voice acting, a few graphical glitches and a infuriating difficultly level. However, for the length of the campaign and the replayablity the infected mode offers, you really do get your money’s worth and that makes it easy to recommend.