Title: Resistance: Retribution
Developer: Bend Studios
Game Type: PSP
Download: 1.3 GB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes
One of the few genres that is hard to find on the PlayStation Vita, or handhelds in general, is definitely the shooting genre. While Vita owners did get a new shooting game recently with Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition, there aren’t many shooting games on the system, and even less of the Third Person variety. In all honesty, I’m having a hard time thinking of a third person shooter for the PS Vita right now.
For this reason, we wanted to dive into everything the Vita has to offer and find a game that can cater to fans of the Third Person Shooting genre. The nice thing about the Vita is the fact that the library doesn’t end at games natively made for the system. Vita players can dive into PlayStation Classic, PlayStation Mini, PlayStation Mobile, and PlayStation Portable games to find what they’re looking for.
In the search, we did find a game that provided just that. After diving into the PSP library, we found a Third Person Shooter that is held in high regard with the handheld community in general. As we take a look on an older title, we bring our reviews back to the science fiction world of Resistance. Here is our official review of the PSP title, Resistance: Retribution!
Retribution takes place 2 months after the events of Resistance: Fall of Man, and some time before the events of Resistance 2. The story revolves around a British Soldier named James Grayson. After Grayson finds his long-lost brother being experimented on in a Chimera Conversion Center, he has a mental breakdown and deserts his unit with a personal vendetta against the Conversion Centers. Having been charged with Capital Crimes for desertion, Grayson is saved from Death Row when the French Resistance, the Maquis, recruits him into their ranks to take on an evolving form of Chimera.
The story of Retribution follows the story of the Maquis’ resistance against the Chimera in France, but also on Grayson’s background and why he does the things he does. As you go through the game, you will get close and really see what drives this man to do what he does, despite his very crude attitude. The story isn’t an incredibly deep an emotional outing, but it is something that will keep you interested from the moment the game begins to the shocking epilogue after the Credits roll.
Through and through, Resistance Retribution is a Third Person Shooter. From the beginning stage to the ending stage, you will be spending this game traveling through areas and taking down enemies with an array of firearms. Although the story of the game is very involved, the main focus of the game is the gameplay and the shooting mechanics that Bend Studios have put into this PSP game.
The main gameplay modes of Resistance Retribution are Campaign, Locations, and Multiplayer. Campaign and Locations are the same mode, in a way. Campaign lets you go through each stage and mission of the Story Mode sequentially to experience the entire plot. As you finish each stage and level in Campaign Mode, you unlock that stage in Locations Mode. So, if you want to only go through a specific stage, you can do that in Locations once you’ve beaten that level in Campaign.
The final Game Mode is Multiplayer, where you can fight online against other players on the PlayStation Network. This was a big deal on the PSP, being one of the few games that did multiplayer in a good fashion. The game could be played online in several different game types from Tag Team to Assimilation. They could also be in done 8-player matches, letting you and up to 7 others be in an arena at once.
The gameplay itself has an over-the-shoulder perspective, much like games like Resident Evil 4. You will be running, climbing, and swimming through each area and fighting off waves of enemies in order to get to the next area. The majority of the game will basically be gunning down enemies and going to the next area to gun down more enemies or a boss. This is a simple mechanic, but it works well.
The game mixes this up by having different types of enemies and giving you different means of taking down those enemies. You will get various weapons as you play through the game from the standard Storm Rifle to the Wall-piercing Auger. You also have some levels where you aren’t on foot at all, and are operating a huge, walking mech with its own set of advanced weapons. There are also rail weapons you can find mounted and use, so you’re not always using your weapons and nothing else.
The biggest thing that makes this game easier, but also more interesting is Aim Assist. It was only slight in the first game, the Campaign is doable for the more casual shooting fan, as the aim will automatically lock onto the nearest enemy. There are a couple weapons that must be aimed manually, and other enemies whom require manual aiming to exploit weak points, but the game can be played with aim assist for the majority of enemies and bosses you encounter as you play through the game.
Aside from just playing the game, you can also earn Skill Points as well as finding hidden areas as you play through the game. These hidden areas can contain background history for the Maquis and Skill Points are awarded for doing certain things, like defeated so many of a certain type of enemy with a certain weapon. These will net you in-game medals.
The other thing that made the game unique was Infected Mode. On the PSP, you could link your system up with Resistance 2 on the PS3 to “infect” Grayson with the Chimera virus and give you super powers as well as being the only possible way to get to certain secret areas. Unfortunately, this feature doesn’t work when the game is played on the PlayStation Vita. That is the major downer to playing it on the Vita, as well as the fact that the Online Community is not very active.
All in all, the Campaign Mode should take you 7-10 hours to finish, which is a pretty fair length for a shooting game. Tie this with finding the unlockable content and diving into Multiplayer if you have friends to play, and the game could easily last 12+ hours of your time.
Controlling Resistance Retribution could get a little wonky on the PSP, but the system it used worked. First of all, there aren’t more controls than there are buttons on the system. Because of this, there isn’t a huge reason for you to have to redirect buttons over to the touch screen or rear touch panel. You can, however, direct the face buttons to the Right Analog Stick to have a more optimized and comfortable camera control.
Moving Grayson around each stage is done with the Left Analog Stick. This covers walking (running cannot be done in this game) as well as swimming. The camera, by default, is used by means of the Face Buttons. As we mentioned above, you can redirect this to the Right Analog Stick for a much more console-shooter type of feel while you’re playing the game.
The rest of the game is handled with the D-Pad and the Triggers. First of all, you can fire your currently equipped weapon with the R Trigger. The L Trigger is also used for your weapon, but to be held to switch to its secondary firing mode (Like the Storm Rifle’s Grenade Launcher). The D-Pad is for interaction. The Up button enters Manual Aim mode, Left Reloads your Weapon, Right switches weapons, and down can interact with doors and walls you can climb.
All in all, the control scheme isn’t bad, but the Camera moves very slow, especially when compared to other shooters available on the game. It can be adjusted to, but at times, it feels slow and sluggish, especially when you need to quickly move the camera to fight off enemies.
As far as visuals go, Resistance Retribution had some pretty nice effects for a PSP game. First of all, the character models and environments had a lot of detail to them. While they do have a lot of jagged edges on them when stretched on the PS Vita screen, and about the same on the PlayStation TV, it doesn’t look great. The environments still look fine, but the character models have a lot of jagged edges to get past.
The game itself runs decently. Loading each mission should take you about 7 seconds, and then the checkpoint transitions only take a few seconds to go by. There is also hardly any lag or slowdown to encounter in the game. As we played through the Campaign, we didn’t encounter any major technical problems or much lag. We did notice a bit of slowdown every so often, but nothing that will hamper your experience.
Resistance: Retribution is: Good.
Retribution brought the Resistance franchise to the handheld market in a pretty robust Third Person Shooter. On the downside, the presentation took a hit on the Vita, and some features of the original game are not accessible without playing on a PSP. Looking past that, though, you’ll find a lengthy shooter full of science fiction action for the casual and hardcore shooting fan.