Resistance: Retribution PSP
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Sony Bend
Resistance: Retribution is set between the events of Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2. You won't play as Nathan Hale in Retribution however. Instead you'll play as James Grayson, a British officer. The game begins by telling us how Grayson went off the rails after finding his brother in a Chimeran conversion centre. Under orders, he had to kill him as he had been infected but in the aftermath of this Grayson begins to lose his marbles and takes some rather drastic actions. As a result he's sentenced to death by the Brits and is rescued from this by a French woman named Raine Bouchard who enlists him to help the Maquis with his knowledge of the Chimeran conversion centres. Grayson mainly fights alongside the French forces and as he's hell-bent on taking his revenge on the Chimera, for what they did to his brother, it makes him a rather interesting character to play as although he's a little too free with his insults at times.
The single-player campaign is actually very enjoyable. Grayson assists the Maquis in Europe. Grayson's feisty attitude and insulting tongue may be a bit of a departure from the quiet Hale but his coarseness definitely adds an edge to the experience that wasn't there in the PS3 games. The action is fast and flowing although it's never quite as dramatic as either of the first two Resistance games which is to be expected. Battles are on a smaller scale but they are no worse for it and with the campaign offering three difficulty settings, the game can be as challenging or as easy as you want it to be.
Of course having an enjoyable campaign won't matter at all if the game's controls aren't up to scratch. Thankfully the control scheme works really. You'll use the analogue stick to move and the circle, triangle, square and X buttons to alter your view. The R and L buttons handle the primary and secondary fire actions. Because of the imprecise nature of the PSP's controls in a game like this, you have a targeting box and you'll auto-aim on targets that appear within this box. This may seem like the game is holding your hand a little but it does compensate for the lack of a second analogue stick on the PSP and you'll never find yourself criticising the inaccurate controls which has to be a good thing. The auto-aim doesn't make this an easy game however as you'll have to deal with waves of enemies at a time and you'll need to make good use of the available cover (cover is an essential part of the game-play in Retribution). Some of the more powerful weapons don't give you the luxury of using the targeting box so you'll have to be more careful about aiming with these weapons. On the whole the controls are very impressive and surely, an example for any future game of this nature on the PSP.
The multiplayer component in Retribution supports both Ad Hoc and Infrastructure play. The included game types are Capture the Flag, Containment, Assimilation, Free for All and Team Deathmatch. The multiplayer mode is enjoyable and it's certainly great to have it to fall back on when you're done with the single-player campaign. The thing is though, it may actually be a while before you are done with the campaign, especially if you own Resistance 2. If do own Resistance 2 you'll be pleased to learn that both games can link up and the campaign storyline can, in effect, be modified giving some interesting results. There are other bonuses to be had too and whilst some may say it's a little unfair on those who don't have a PS3 and Resistance 2, it's definitely a major plus point for those who do.
It wouldn't be right to say that Retribution looks great but the game certainly looks good enough and the frame rate holds up pretty well for most of the time too. The character models could have looked a little better but I daresay only the developers would know what impact that would have had on the frame rate and I for one would rather lose a bit of visual quality and have the game remain smooth rather than have frame rate issues. More importantly, the game captures the look of the previous Resistance games quite well and for that the developers deserve praise.
Retribution is subtitled and the subtitles are enabled by default. The game's cutscenes are subtitled. There are no speaker's names or portraits displayed alongside the dialogue so it can be difficult to follow who is saying what which is unfortunate, although it's pretty obvious most of the time. Mission briefings (actually they are more like personal notes made by Grayson) are given in text. Tutorial messages are given in text and you'll be able to read them in your own time. The game makes good use of icons to show when something can be interacted with. You're also notified when a checkpoint has been reached. Of course there's no force feedback so you're lacking that tactile feedback you get from most console shooters but that's a limitation of the PSP rather than the game itself.
It may only be May but Resistance: Retribution has to be a contender for being the PSP game of the year. Resistance: Retribution does a lot of things right and is arguably one of the best games on the PSP so far. The game manages to overcome the control limitations of the PSP and provide a great third person shooter experience. The game also succeeds in being both an enjoyable single and multiplayer experience, something which not many games achieve. It's also very accessible to those who haven't played either of the Resistance games on the PlayStation 3 and yet it also has plenty of value for those who have played the games and who want more from the series' storyline.