Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Resistance Retribution Demo Impressions

Welcome back to Europe, soldier
The Resistance Retribution demo kicks things off back in Europe 1951, shortly after the fall of local forces to the parasitic Chimeran invaders. After the initial invasion, the Chimerans are low on necessary raw materials needed to replenish their forces, namely more human bodies. A small team of soldiers are sent in to investigate the conversion facility in Bonn, Germany, and find out where the Chimerans are getting their supplies. As, Pvt. James Grayson, an angry, bullish type who's lost his brother to a Chimeran forces earlier in the war, players will explore more of the Resistance universe. Grayson knows the enemy conversion facilities well, and is brought in for his extensive field experience detonating alien facilities. Unfortunately, plans fall apart and a member of his squad, Raine Boushard, is captured at the outset of the demo. Time is running out to locate for Boushard before she is converted into a Chimeran Menial by enemy forces.

A Slightly Smaller Resistance Experience

If you've had a PSP, one thing is very clear: Shooters and PSP rarely play nice together. This is mainly because the system is missing a second analog stick (an integral part of the genre for the past 7 years), and that's sure to make anyone nervous about a new shooter on the system. Sure, it's a clear hardware restraint, but the team at Bend Studios seem to have figured it out. First, there is an auto-targeting system in the game. It's useful because the face buttons of triangle, square, circle and x control your view point, and the analog nub controls movement. Any target directly in your sights is highlighted with a single red reticule.

Pulling the R button fires the equipped weapon (or throws a grenade) while the L button is used as an alternate fire; a great part of all the weapons in the Resistance franchise is they dole out different damage or enhancements depending on which button you push. There are eight weapons featured in the demo, including the Auger-WS (my personal favorite), a weapon that fires through solid objects and generates a shield to protect players during tense firefights. Serious fans will have no problem finding their favorite weapons from Resistance and the demo showcases enough situations to put each of them to use.

Inventory control is pushed over to the PSP's directional pad. The right button cycles through the inventory and the left button reloads the current weapon. Pushing up enters a free-aim system that makes Grayson stationary, making it ideal only for certain situations (Note: This is only a description of the default controller layout and it can be altered in the options menu).

The smaller screen of the PSP means less real estate to showcase the large-scale vistas typical of the Resistance series. Naturally, everything has been scaled down for portable viewing, but there's still enough depth here to clearly interpret the Resistance art style, even down to the weapon models. The demo level of the Chimeran conversion center is pretty large visually and there is even an enemy encounter against two titans, gigantic two-story enemies that fire huge plasma cannons. The visual tone is set pretty well despite everything being a little too dark.

Since this is a third-person shooter, Grayson's player model is on-screen at all times and is slightly offset to the left from the center of the screen to make spotting enemies easier. This means you'll never really see anything below your torso and that's just fine since there isn't any platforming that we could see in the demo, so far.

NOTE: Don’t forget you can connect your Second or Third gen PSP to a television via the available connector! - ED

Calculated Retribution

From a technical standpoint, it seems that Bend Studios has figured out how to make third-person shooters work on the PSP. This is the studio that worked on the last few portable Syphon Filter games, so everything in the Resistance Retribution Demo seems to be carefully crafted to take advantage of the handheld tapping into their experience developing these previous titles. If that experience is any justification, Resistance Retribution looks like a solid effort that can only get better. Look for Resistance Retribution at retailers this March 2009.

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