Invizimals: The Resistance Review

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Title: Invizimals: The Resistance
Developer: Novarama, SCEA 
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 1.5 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download  | Retail
PSTV Support: No

Ever since the generation of the PSP, the gaming community has wondered what Sony would do in response to other competing franchises, especially with Nintendo.  In the handheld world, there are some franchises that are especially well from Nintendo’s perspective.  What franchises do you think comes to mind?  Not something in both handheld and console, but just handheld.  The first thing that comes to mind for me: Pokemon.

In the PSP generation, Sony devised a similar type of series to compete with the Pokemon franchise.  There have been various game series out there that have competed, like the PlayStation Digimon World games.  But as far as first party content, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe got with some developers and created a monster-taming game that incorporated Augmented Reality called Invizimals.

Since then, the Invizimals series received 3 games on the PSP as well as last year’s Invizimals: The Alliance on PS Vita and a PS3 Invizimals spin-off game.  Now that the newest game in the series has finally come to America, here is my official review of Invizimals: The Resistance!

Story

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The Resistance is a direct sequel to last year’s Invizimals: The Alliance.  The game starts at the Alliance Headquarters, where the main team of Invizimal Hunters and research teams study the Invizimals, strange creatures from another world that are invisible to the naked eye, only visible through the mystical properties of the PS Vita system.

As the game begins, Alliance HQ goes under siege from a cynical business man bent on taking down the Alliance with giant robotic monsters called Xtractors, whom is a returning villain from Alliance.  With the Alliance in shambles, key characters held hostage, and the remaining hunters fleeing, a Resistance forms to take back HQ and take down the Xtractor Army.

The story of Resistance is cute and clearly family-friendly as the series has always shown.  While the story does make a lot more sense if you’ve kept up with the series, it does enough explanation to make it playable by itself.  There are a lot of returning characters, especially from the PSP games, but it’s perfectly playable and understandable without prior knowledge of the series.

Gameplay

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Invizimals: The Resistance is a monster-taming Action RPG with puzzle and Augmented Reality elements thrown into the mix.  Just like the previous games, you are spending time using AR Technology to solve puzzles, explore dungeons, and catch Invizimals and then training and evolving them in an arena-style Action RPG combat system.  As such, it’s an RPG with Puzzle elements.

When you play through the game, the story will progress you through objectives and you’ll also have different things you can do at your base of operations.  The base will have several different areas you can go into, like the Portal to catch Invizimals or advance the story, the Marketplace to buy power-ups for battle, the hotel to view your caught Invizimals and to re-color and transform/evolve them, and other interactive areas to gather materials and such.

The story progression will involve going through various Augmented Reality games.  The nice thing about Resistance is that they removed the need for placing AR Cards in the game.  In Alliance, you were required to use AR cards by setting them around areas like tables, floors, walls, etc and it made many of the AR games very frustrating and difficult.

There are two things that make the AR features nicer.  Resistance only detects walls and floors, so there’s no need for the AR Cards.  They have also made these not nearly as hard to detect the AR features, making it much more of a smooth game to go through.  It also incorporates these into story events so you don’t have to grind capture mini-games to unlock new story events.

The mini-games vary.  Some have you performing mini-games to summon Invizimals and catch them by removing and healing wounds or showering them off after they play in the mud.  There are also other catching mini-games that have you in a first-person shooting environment where you’re turning and moving around as Xtractors come at you from around the room you’re in and you have to fire laser bullets to defeat them.  Others have you piecing together map puzzles.  All in all, there’s a lot of variety.

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Once you have Invizimals, you can train them in battles in the Arena.  The Arena is set up of single battles, be it 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 1 vs 3, etc for you to do to proceed to unlock new battles and capture Invizimals.  There are also tournaments to go through with restrictions like minimum levels and specific elementals to unlock more content, though most of these are outside of story progression.

The combat system is identical to that from Alliance.  You have a 3D plane where you move around and use the face buttons to do different attacks and must watch everything you do for using up your stamina.  There haven’t really been any changes or improvements here, other than being able to synthesize new Vector Power-Ups to use in battle.

Online Multiplayer returns from Alliance, allowing you to trade or battle against other players across the PlayStation Network.  This isn’t much different from the mode from the previous game.  It runs well and there normally aren’t any problems in finding matches.

All in all, Resistance isn’t an incredibly long game, just like Alliance wasn’t.  You can probably beat the main story of the game in about 4 or 5 hours, and you can add 3-4 hours for the post-game content if you want to unlock all of the Invizimals, Arenas, etc.  Not an incredibly long game, but not incredibly short, either.

Controls

Controlling Invizimals: The Resistance is going to incorporate touch features as well as button and camera features.  Most things can be controlled through the touch screen, and most have button alternatives.  However, some menus have to have a touch tap to go past to the next menu.  You also have to use the camera and gyro controls for the AR Mini-Games.

As far as the button controls go, you can use the D-Pad and the X and Circle buttons to navigate menus.  The button controls shine the most in the middle of battle.  You move your currently-controlled Invizimal around the arena with the Left Analog Stick and can move the camera with the Right Analog Stick.  Outside of this, you use the 4 face buttons to perform different types of attacks, like normal or quick attacks.  The other battle controls, like switching characters in team battles, is done with touch controls.

All in all, the game isn’t hard to learn and the touch and camera controls respond very well.  It can be an adjustment if you don’t like touch controls, but it’s a nice and comfortable set of controls once you get used to it.

Presentation

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The presentation is about the same as it was in the last game, for the same engine was used.  First off, the story scenes are a mix of live action and CG, incorporating computer-generated Invizimals and real actors and actresses.  The visual presentation in the rest of the game is good, but has a flaw.  The character models are very high quality, especially when zoomed in on.  However, when zoomed out in battle, there is a noticeable blur around the edge of each model.

Outside of this, the only complaint about the presentation is the occasional slowdown.  A couple times as I played through the game, the frame rate would slow for a couple seconds as an animation was in effect.  This didn’t happen often, but it was noticeable enough that it’s worth mentioning here.  This is something that wasn’t apparent in The Alliance.

Summary

Invizimals: The Resistance takes the formula from Alliance and smooths out and improves in many areas.  On the downside, the character models look a little blurred from afar and there is the occasional frame drop.  Outside of this is a fun little monster-taming game for gamers looking for a Pokemon-like game for their PS Vita.

8/10

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