A third-person action-adventure game for a hand-held system that features some game-play mechanics that actually work!

User Rating: 8.5 | Resistance: Retribution PSP
Resistance: Retribution is a third-person action shooter from Sony's Bend Studios. It is centered upon the tribulations of James Grayson, a British Royal Marine whose mission is to destroy Chimera conversion centres, once-human-inhabited places that were used by the invading aliens called the Chimera to convert humans into alien-hybrids to help take over the Earth. The game is set in 1951, on 6 locations in Europe, from Bonn to Luxembourg.

Grayson's story of 'retribution' actually begins when he was branded a deserter by Her Majesty's army, and was sent to prison. The cause of his anguish was disturbing, and you could really feel for him because of what happened. In his latest raid of a conversion centre in Britain, he finds his brother Johnny half-converted into a Chimera. Reluctant, but following protocol, he kills Johnny with his own gun. Now, that's something that would really make a person snap. Grayson then becomes a relentless individual who wants nothing more than to destroy the Chimera once and for all. He doesn't follow orders anymore and leaves his company to wipe out conversion centres on his own, eventually stapling upon himself capital crimes and a death sentence by firing squad.

But, his talent for Chimera-killing was not kept secret. A member of the French Marquis, Lt. Raine Bouchard, buys his freedom for his services and so this is where the game starts. Missions are strangely similar to earlier Call of Duty games, with 'go-here-destroy-this' objectives that serve as the main attraction of the game. The game-play is strangely similar to the Siphon Filter games for the PSP, with the player using the analog stick to move around levels and the shape-buttons to look around. Weapons are brought up by the directional-buttons, and that schematic is reminiscent to the original Resistance: Fall of Man for the PS3. The game removes some of its linearity by introducing many weapons that have unique secondary-fire. These weapons present opportunities for you on how to pursue the different levels.

The graphics look great but have flaws. The developers had shown an unprecedented attention-to-detail in making this game. The set pieces are a sight to see. Every level is unique and has a different flavour to them. Though visually a superb game, character models seem too generic and uninspired. Grayson and all the other NPCs look extremely different in-game than their computer-generated counterparts. It's really disconcerting to see them that way. But this flaw is quickly paid off by the intensity of the game itself.

Resistance: Retribution is not an easy game. Even on 'normal' setting, enemies display a fair amount of intelligence when they face you, and their numbers and sizes mostly take you on, making you think well about how to defeat them. The difficulty can't always be blamed on the relentless enemies; the camera, too, can prove to be problematic at times. With the camera fixed upon Grayson's back, turning around and trying to see what's behind you is a tedious task (especially in boss fights), that sometimes, the camera can go haywire and be at an angle that's really disadvantageous. A feature that lets Grayson hide behind any barrier when he runs toward them can make players think ambivalent thoughts about it: sometimes, evading enemies and trying to stomach the camera system can make you stick to barriers, and basically, you'd know what'll happen if this event occurs (especially when you're pursued by Boilers). Despite these minor flaws, the aiming system still works like a charm, but it doesn't make the game a lot easier; it just helps make the combat work, and keep players immersed and interested as the story progresses.

The game is mostly predictable, and with an uninspired voice cast dictating a cheesy, overly-done script, it doesn't facilitate an emotional edge that would compensate for its lack of strong plot-points that is essential for any game to really connect to players. I really appreciate the music, though; it's strong and it feels like John Williams made it. The sound design and effects are also wonderfully done here. For a hand-held game, it features a decent array of sound effects, but later on in the game, you'd feel that sense of repetitiveness to them. Looping alien growls and screeches lost their appeal on me on the first two locations.

On the whole, Resistance: Retribution is a fantastic game. The campaign's length is fair; the challenges are interesting to pull off; the online capabilities are okay (note: PS3 owners can connect the PSP to the powerhouse machine to unlock extra features; plus multiplayer matches); and the interesting difficulty feels like a direct nod to PSP owners who want an extra punch when it comes to the games that they play. It's a quality game that is worthy of the Resistance canon. I just have to say that the story is a little too predictable, rendering the plot-twists incapable of bringing a gasp or an "oh snap! I didn't see that coming" reaction that most players want from a story-oriented action-shooter.