|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SONY Bend||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
December 23, 2008 - One of our favorite shooter franchises is getting the PSP treatment. Resistance: Fall of Man and its sequel are undoubtedly two of the best games available for the Sony PS3. It stands to reason that Sony would like to get this IP on to the ailing PSP, a system perceived as having a lack of excellent software. Of course, capturing the intensity and inch-perfect controls of one of the best shooters around presents a formidable challenge when developing for a handheld device. As such, SONY Bend is going out of its way to implement gameplay mechanics that are portable-friendly. From what we can tell, the developers seem to be on the right path.
The story in Resistance: Retribution for PSP will take place in Europe, weeks after the events of Resistance: Fall of Man. Taking on the role of a new hero, British Royal Marine James Grayson, players will join the European resistance - The Maquis - after the death of Grayson's brother by his own forced hand. Consequently, Grayson seeks revenge and nothing less than the complete annihilation of the Chimera, and he will go about eliminating every conversion center he can find. Along the way, Grayson will come up against well-known enemies from Resistance: Fall of Man, including the Titan, Slipskull, Hybrids, and Leapers. However, players will also get a glimpse of the Cloven and a new enemy called Hags.
Unlike Nathan Hale, Grayson is 100% human. As such, players will have to wade through the Chimeran horde with limited health. Because of this and the limitations of the PSP's controls, players will be treated to an advanced auto-cover and targeting system. This makes Retribution play much more like an action/adventure title rather than a pure shooter. However, we're sure that this is an excellent choice for portable gameplay. Instead of having to manage a cumbersome shooter mechanic with the deficient analog nub and non-ergonomic design of the PSP, SONY Bend has decided to play into the portable's strengths rather than its weaknesses; the devs were prescient and judicious in their design choices.
Alternatively, players will be able to play the game as a pure shooter experience if they connect the PSP to a PS3. Known as PSP Plus functionality, doing so will allow players to utilize a Sixaxis or DualShock 3 controller to play. Subsequently, the auto-targeting system will be curtailed, taking into account the improved controllability via the console controllers. If a DualShock 3 is used, rumble feedback is also supported. This should prove to be a nice touch that will increase the game's replayability. Of course, this additional functionality is predicated upon players owning a PSP 2000 or 3000 and a PS3.
Furthermore, the expanded connection options don't stop there. If you also own a copy of Resistance 2, you can "Infect Your PSP!" and play the game with a modified story in Infected Mode. Infected Mode will feature Grayson being recruited by Specter Lieutenant David LaSalle from Resistance 2 and getting infected with the Chimeran virus to enhance his abilities. As such, Grayson will now have the telltale yellow eyes, regenerative health, and the ability to breathe under water. Also, weapons from Resistance 2, including the .44 Magnum with explosive rounds will be unlocked. Additionally, a second set of intel folios will become available for you to find. If you find them all, you will open up Plasma Grenades as well. Finally, characters within the game will treat you differently due to your tainted DNA. These PSP Plus features look to be very interesting indeed, and they should prove to be an essential part of not only Retribution, but AAA PSP titles of the future.
Rounding out the PSP-centric development process is the addition of myriad checkpoints for facilitating short stints of play, and a third-generation PSP game development engine that "allows for more enemies onscreen, more detailed characters with higher resolution bitmaps and specular highlights, and a memory buffer system that allows for larger and more detailed worlds."
Outside of the expansive single-player campaign options, players will be able to play in competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes both locally through ad-hoc and online via infrastructure. Up to eight players can join in on multiplayer games, including Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Containment, and Assimilation modes. Though certainly not as remarkable as the 60-player battles found in Resistance 2, playing with eight players should prove to be an excellent bit of functionality for PSP players near either a hotspot or other likeminded gamers.
Resistance: Retribution may not be developed by Insomniac, but SONY Bend is doing everything it can to translate the franchise's world, draw, and fun to the PlayStation Portable in inventive and interesting ways. With a host of PSP-specific options and a comprehensive approach to portable development, we've got a feeling Resistance: Retribution will be a must-have title for the PSP when it releases in February of 2009.
CCC Editor / News Director