The English sure do hate the French
Posted 4 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
At last year’s Penny Arcade Expo, I managed to get an early sneak peak at Sony Bend’s Resistance: Retribution. After playing through an early build of the game my first impression was ‘this is going to be great’. Now that the full release is in stores, my initial thoughts have not only been confirmed but Retribution is a great addition to the shooter genre made even better on the PSP.
Retribution takes place between the events of Fall of Man and Resistance 2. Rather than playing as Nathan Hale, you take control of British solider James Grayson. The game begins with Grayson discovering his brother has been infected with the Chimeran virus and is slowly becoming a Chimera, the game’s opposing force. After the horrific discovery and eventual death of his brother, Grayson goes AWOL and decides to destroy the Chimeran Conversion centres on his own. He manages to successful take out over 26 of them before he is capture by British Forces and tried on charges of Desertion.
While slumming away in prison about to be executed, he is recruited by a French Resistance Group called the Maquis who need his help destroying conversion centres across mainland Europe. Grayson hesitantly agrees to help since he knows he still wants to avenge his brother’s death and after all, he doesn’t have much choice. Once freed, you will travel to various locations throughout Europe as you help the Marquis who say they know how to stop the Chimeran virus from spreading further.
Resistance: Retribution is played as a third person shooter. Since the PSP lacks two analog sticks, you do your moving with the analog nub and aim using the face buttons. Since pin-point shooting is difficult without the precision of analog control, the game offers a very functional auto-aim assist that helps your character to target surrounding enemies. On the screen, you will have a small rectangular box and whichever enemy lies in that box will automatically be targeted for attack.
Auto-aim does make the game easier since enemies can be anywhere in the rectangle to be targeted. So you could be looking at one specific spot, but even if an enemy is in the top right or left corner, Grayson will be easily able to target and destroy them. There are a few problems associated the main problem lies in the fact that it can become problematic when multiple enemies appear on screen. For example, if you’re targeting an enemy further back, you will have a hard time trying to switch to one that is closer to you, which may cause a loss of precious time. It might not be a problem for those who can wipe out their opposition quickly, but there will be times when a quick change is necessary. Thankfully for those looking for more precision with their shooting, the game does offer a more precise aim function and it is necessary against certain enemies that must be killed with head shots.
The other key feature in the game is the strong and proper use of cover. Unlike some games which force you to press a button to trigger a cover animation, Retribution does this automatically for you when you approach anything that can be used for protection. Grayson will position himself well and will even be able to strafe while in his prone position to get a better shot. You exit cover the moment you begin firing and drop back down when you stop shooting or reload in order to avoid getting shot at. It’s done really well and combined with the auto-aim can make most shootouts significantly easier, including some tough boss battles.
Your arsenal in Retribution is similar to the weapons available in both PS3 games. Unlike Resistance 2, you can keep all the weapons you collect; you never have to choose between which weapons to carry. Reloading and changing weapons is done fairly easily as both are allocated on the left and right directional buttons.
In an interesting way to offer connectivity between the PSP and PS3, Retribution offers not one but two special features to add to your experience and a bonus to those who own both Retribution and Resistance 2.
The first feature, called ‘Retribution Plus’ offers you the ability to play the game with the use of your PS3 controller in place of the PSP face buttons. The controls work exactly as they would if you were to play the game on your PS3. It works really well and will feel right at home for those who are more accustomed to the controls of the DualShock3.
The other feature, and by far the coolest aspect to the game is ‘Infected Mode’. Upon connecting your PSP to Resistance 2, you have the ability to ‘infect’ your PSP with the Chimeran virus. What this does is essentially create an entirely new experience for you with Retribution. With your PSP ‘infected’ Grayson becomes similar to the more familiar protagonist of the Resistance franchise, Nathan Hale with the benefits of being a human with Chimeran traits. He’ll be able to swim underwater, regenerate health and have access to the magnum with exploding bullets.
It doesn’t end there as the game actually changes depending if Grayson is infected or not. In-game cut-scenes and dialog changes between you and the other characters depending on which mode you play. This will give you a reason to play through the game a second time just to see what they have to say. While Infected is incredible, it does make the game significantly easier as the Magnum is a very strong weapon and the regenerating health benefits make the later parts of the game a lot less challenging. It’s not necessary to play through the storyline as an Infected Grayson, but it does give gamers more incentive.
Graphics and Sound
Retribution looks good on the PSP screen. The enemies, allies and Grayson all look and animate well without too much slow down. There are a few clipping issues at some points but nothing to the effect that ruins the experience. You will only encounter slow downs at some points in the game where an abundance of enemies appear on the screen, but it doesn’t affect the gameplay too much, simply a possible problem at key points of the game.
There are a lot of different environments that you will encounter along your journey. Grayson will travel to various locations such as Rotterdam, Luxembourg and Paris and you will shoot it out in both indoor and outdoor locales. Each area is significantly different with little to no repetition or annoying back-tracking. In regards to the enemies, they look faithful to how they appeared on the PS3. They have even managed to introduce some new foes for you to battle against and they too have been designed quite well.
The game’s dialogue can be funny at times for the wrong reason with some really cheesy lines spoken by the characters, but it still manages to get the story across. The voicework is really well done with both Grayson and the other key characters sounding fantastic. Those who loved the way the story was told in Fall of Man will be happy as Capt. Rachel Parker returns to discuss with Greyson inbetween missions to the same effect of the first game. In-game music and sound effect that made the consoles games so popular are just as good here. The great use of music and sound effects really helps to add to the game’s tense atmosphere.
As you play through Retribution, you will be able to unlock bonus weapons by collecting Intel documents that can be found in each mission. There are also skill points that are unlocked when certain mission criteria are met. If unlocking extra content and playing through a second time as an Infected wasn’t enough, Retribution offers a strong Multiplayer that can be enjoyed either ad-hoc or via infrastructure with up to 8 people. There are various modes and maps available and everything feels fantastic. The maps are not too large, but sized perfectly for the 8 player action. I had absolutely no problems connecting or finding a game to play as there are a lot of people already mastering the maps. Similar to Resistance 2, there is a ranking system and medals which give gamers even more incentive to play.
We may never be able to completely experience shooters on portable systems the same way we do on the PC or consoles, but Sony Bend has shown that making a competent and enjoyable portable shooter is not only possible but enjoyable. The game’s Auto-Aim does make the overall experience feel a tad bit easier, but thankfully, it never actually deprives gamers from a fun and frantic journey. Credit must also be given to the PSP/PS3 connectivity, which hopefully more games copy in the future. Without a doubt, Resistance: Retribution is a game that shooter fans will enjoy for a very long time and one that most PSP owners should play and add to their collection.
+ Added bonus when playing with an ‘infected’ PSP and reason to play through the story more than once
+ Fun and Smooth running Multiplayer
+ Plenty of frantic and stunning fire-fights
+ Faithful to the series in every way
- Minor clipping/collision detection issues
- Infected Mode makes the game significantly easier – Requires Resistance 2 to enjoy
- Might offend some French people with questionable lines of dialogue.
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Release Date : 2009/03/17
System : PSP
Publisher : SCEA
Developer : Sony Bend
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
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