|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|
Naturally, the developers recognized that some players wouldn't feel challenged by the mechanic and added enemy types that more or less force you to deactivate the auto lock-on function in favor of manual control. Thankfully, this can be done on the fly by simply pressing up on the D-pad. This takes a bit to get used to, but after the first few waves of Boomers, players will get the hang of it. Also, many weapon types require you to manually aim at enemies, and targeting specific body parts, i.e. the head, still does more damage, eliminating oncoming foes much more quickly.
Manual controls aren't perfect, however. Using the face buttons to aim your weapon is decidedly less efficient than what shooter fans are used to. As such, Sony Bend even went so far as to add a Retribution Plus feature that allows you to control the game with a DualShock 3 or Sixaxis controller - even rumble functionality comes through via the DualShock 3. The only catch is that you have to have both a PS3 and a copy of Resistance 2 along with the controller. If you have all the requisite components, this control scheme is surprisingly effective. Of course, there is one more little hitch. Playing with a PS3 controller is only worth it if you hook up your PSP to the TV - placing the PSP on the ground or even on a table and playing with a PS3 controller is a waste of time and effort.
Similarly, players can also access Infected Mode by pairing their PSP with their PS3 and Resistance 2. Infected Mode changes up the story (and some of the dialogue) a bit by making James Grayson an infected human like Nathan Hale. Not only is the narrative slightly tweaked, but players will also have access to additional intel folios strewn about the game and can shoot the HE .44 Magnum - you know the handgun from Resistance 2 that allows you to blow up Chimera from the inside with its secondary fire functionality. Also, no longer will players have to worry about picking up pesky health packs (which seem to be somewhat incongruent with the scope of the story), as Grayson will now be able regenerate his health meter and breathe underwater - attributes which are decidedly useful toward the end of the game.
Unfortunately, Infected Mode only lasts as long as your PSP is turned on. As such, it is fairly cumbersome and inconvenient for playing on the go. Also, you can't take advantage of the Retribution Plus control scheme while in Infected Mode. Nevertheless, it adds a lot of subtle nuances and encourages replayability. I would suggest players to beat the game as human Grayson, then go back through the story a second time as infected Grayson, collecting the missing intel and picking up on the differences as you go.
In addition to the great single-player campaign, the multiplayer component in Resistance: Retribution stands head and shoulders above the competition. Players can join or host a game via ad hoc or infrastructure modes. Players can choose between ranked and player matches, five different game modes including Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, CTF, Containment, and Assimilation, and five different, excellent maps in which to run around. Nuances such as team assist perks that encourage teamwork, rank progression, medal accumulation, text entry and voice chat support (if you have a PSP-3000), and clan tags make this more than just your standard portable multiplayer action. In fact, there is already a vibrant community supporting the game's competitive multiplayer. This makes getting a game with eager players an easy task whether joining or hosting a match. The only downside to multiplayer is that the auto lock-on targeting system is still in effect, which leads to an experience that is less about skill and more about camaraderie.
I encourage anyone with a PSP to pick up Resistance: Retribution. This is beyond a doubt one of the very best games for the system, and it is fun to play for fans of the series, shooter experts, and gaming novices alike. The varied controls schemes make the title accessible for everyone, and the unparalleled presentation and engaging story should make believers out of anyone. Bravo Sony! The solid gameplay and advanced features packed into this title have unlocked some of the unrealized potential of the PSP and have rekindled my interest in the platform. I've got a feeling a horde of other gamers will agree!
CCC Editor / News Director