Developer: Sony Bend
Release Date: Q2 2009
First off, this is another shooter on the PSP that uses the four face buttons in lieu of a second analog stick. If this is a problem for you, then you may as well stop reading now. I don't want to see you on GameFAQs in six months complaining about it; you were warned, straight up, up front, black and white.
Resistance: Retribution is set between Resistance: Fall of Man, the PS3 launch title that dealt with an alien invasion of the UK, and the forthcoming Resistance 2. It's meant to bridge the gap between the two games' stories and answer a few questions that remained after the original Resistance. Retribution is being developed by the SCEA Bend studio, the same house that created the recent Syphon Filter games on the PSP.
At the end of Resistance, the Chimera were prevented from taking control of the UK, but they still hold most of Europe. One of the surviving British soldiers, James Grayson, is in prison awaiting execution. After being forced to shoot his brother in order to prevent him from becoming one of the Chimera's drones, Grayson deserted the army and went on a one-man commando mission against the Chimera, destroying several of their conversion centers. (Of course, since ordinary human troops had the average lifespan of a snowball in hell in Resistance, it's anyone's guess how Grayson managed to do this. It's probably the fact that he has a name.)
Meanwhile, in Chimera-occupied France, a human resistance movement has managed to survive. One of its leaders, Raine Bouchard, comes looking for Grayson. Her father is working on a new weapon that could, theoretically, destroy the Chimera's ability to reproduce. To get the information and test material they need, Bouchard needs someone to help her attack a few Chimeran conversion centers. Enter Grayson, who's interested in getting a bit more payback for his brother's death.
The Chimera have had undisputed control of mainland Europe for two years. It took them a couple of days, if that, to turn parts of London into a bizarre, alien landscape. Grayson and Bouchard are going into a Europe that might as well be another planet, and Grayson, at least, intends to blow up a lot of it.
SCEA Bend has also promised that Retribution will answer a variety of questions about the world of Resistance, such as what the hell the Cloven were, how the Chimera have managed to produce massive continent-besieging fleets despite their defeat in London, and why you never see a female Chimera.
Unlike Fall of Man, Retribution is a third-person shooter, much in the same way as Resident Evil 4, with the player's perspective fixed over Grayson's shoulder. SCEA Bend has been working to make one-stick controls more precise after their experiences with the last couple of Syphon Filter games, and that experience informs Resistance's control scheme. Retribution is, in fact, running on the third-generation version of the Syphon Filter.
You retain many of the signature Resistance weapons, from standard-issue human firearms to several of the unique firearms seized from the Chimera. The Auger, which fired plasma bolts through walls and erected short-lived force fields for use as cover, is definitely back, along with the sniper rifle (and its slow-motion alt-fire), the carbine/grenade launcher, a 12-gauge shotgun, and the LARK rocket launcher. All that said, Grayson isn't infected like Nathan Hale, the protagonist of Resistance, was, so he doesn't have a recharging health meter. Instead, you'll use health pick-ups as you go.
Due to the PSP's control limitations compared to the Dual Shock 2, SCEA has implemented a couple of different systems to make controlling Retribution as simple as possible. For example, while you don't have complete automatic targeting, you do have a sort of "sticky" assisted targeting, enabling you to hit an opponent that your crosshair is relatively close to; in assisted-aim mode, a set of brackets appears on-screen, and your gun will naturally point toward an enemy that's enclosed by those brackets. You can also switch to manual aim on the fly for more precise gunfire, which comes in handy with the sniper rifle and certain other kinds of alt-fire.
The d-pad is linked to a weapon ring, enabling for rapid switching between guns on the fly. Grayson will also automatically take cover as he approaches an appropriate object, allowing you to attack from relative safety by pressing the fire button. A big part of Resistance was juggling the widely varied arsenal to react quickly to new situations, which appears to persist here.
The interesting thing about Resistance: Retribution, really, is that a developer is really working overtime to make shooters more playable on the system. With so much of the game's combat operating automatically, Retribution will influence action games on the PSP for years to come. It's too early to say whether it'll be a good or a bad influence, but SCEA Bend does have a proven track record with this kind of thing.
More articles about Resistance: Retribution