Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review: Resistance: Retribution

SCEA Bend Studio


For the first handheld outing in the Resistance series, Retribution doesn’t do such a bad job. Despite the natural controller shortcomings of the PSP – most notably the single control nub instead of two analogue sticks – the game overcomes the potential miss-step with a competent aim-assist mode and an automatic cover system that rarely misreads your intentions. This faint praise aside, even being helped out this much doesn’t make the game too easy, as the steady stream of angry enemies, often requiring a quick switch in weapons or attack tactics, keep you busy.

Controlling cockney soldier Lt. James Grayson, you’re after revenge (what else?) following the death of Grayson’s brother in a Chimera conversion centre, which adds a certain frisson to the action. Sure, Grayson may look like biker who failed his gang initiation, and he tosses out lame cockney one-liners without pause (or reflection), but at least he’s a skerrick more interesting than the original Resistance’s Nathan Hale, who pales in comparison to this new loutish protagonist.

If you’re enough of a fan of shiny black plastic to own both a PS3 and a copy of Resistance 2, you’re able to hook up both systems, enabling an ‘Infected’ mode, where you’re given regenerative Chimera powers and new weapons for the campaign. While it’s hooked up, you can also play through the campaign with your PS3 controller, assuming you keep both machines connected while you’re playing. Using the more precise controller, the aim assist mode is turned off, but the novelty enables a more natural mode of play mode.

Multiplayer content in Retribution is very well supported – using either ad-hoc or infrastructure network modes, you can easily set up eight-player games. There’s even support for clans and headset chat, and of course, you get bonus geekery points if you can convince seven other people with PSPs to play the game at the same time as you. Good luck with that.

[This review first appeared in Critic magazine.]

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