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Hands-On Preview of Resistance: Retribution
Considering I don't own a PlayStation 3, I missed out on Resistance: Fall of Man when it came out in 2006, but considering that it was named the PS3 Game of the Year by IGN, Gamespot and GameSpy, I imagine it was a pretty good shooter. In fact, I'd bet the house on it after sending some quality time with the 182 MB demo version for the upcoming PSP sequel, Resistance: Retribution.
The Resistance series takes place in an alternate version of world history, in which war amongst the countries is interrupted by an alien species known as the Chimera. The Chimera proceed to launch an all-out assult on humanity, forcing them to mutate into Chimera themselves through the use of conversion centers. Whereas Fall of Man featured an American soldier named Nathan Hale, Retribution stars a former British marine by the name of James Grayson. Grayson was forced to kill his own brother because of the Chimera, and now he has joined with an underground European resistance force in an attempt to shut down the conversion centers once and for all. The game also features a different developer, as Bend Studios, not Insomniac, is responsible for the handheld entry in the series.
The demo opens with a briefing, and instantly you'll stand up and take notice of the crisp visuals and the exceptional voice acting. All throughout the intro sequence, the cinematic sequence that follows, and all throughout the demo, I marveled at just how good the game looked and how exceptional the voice acting (complete with natural-sounding European accents) was. The best looking PSP game I've ever played was Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core... until now. Seriously, I think the character design, the environments and even the monsters and robots you wind up battling look ever so slightly better than Square Enix's PSP opus. But don't take my word for it--download the demo and see for yourself.
Enough about the graphics and sound, though, because I'm sure everyone out there is curious about the gameplay. Retribution is a third-person shooter, not an FPS, but it still seems like an incredibly intense, white-knuckle experience. The demo sends you, as Grayson, through a conversion center in Bonn, Germany. A fellow member of your resistance organization, a woman named Bouchard, has been captured and is currently struggling to survive the conversion process. Your mission is to find and save her before its too late, and to do that you'll need to blast your way past several different types of enemies. As you race to catch up to Bouchard and rescue her, you'll need to traverse through the facility, fighting the Chimera on several levels, and the whole thing culminates with an awesome boss battle against a giant robotic mech.
The controls did take me a little getting used to, but after I did manage to pick them up, things felt quite natural. The nub is used to move Grayson around, while the R button fires his primary weapon and the L button is used for the secondary weapon. The face buttons control the camera, with triangle and X moving it up and down, respectively, and square and circle cause you to look left and right. Pushing right on the d-pad changes your currently equipped weapon, while left is used to reload your ammunition and down allows you to interact with various objects. You'll get to try out a vast array of different weapon types, including an assault rifle, a sniper rifle, grenades, a shotgun, a rocket launcher and even one of the Chimera guns.
There's no two ways about it--the Resistance Retribution demo impressed the hell out of me, and I can't wait to get my hands on the full version. Aside from the visuals and voice acting, which I've already gushed about enough, I loved the inclusion of an aiming-assist feature, as well as the game's reliance on properly using cover to protect yourself from enemy fire. The demo was challenging, so I appreciated the ability to resume right where I left off without having to retread any ground. Hopefully this punishment-free continue system will be included when the full version of Resistance Retribution ships on March 17, 2009. Please note, however, that the game will be rated M for Mature, with warnings for partial nudity, strong language, blood and gore, violence and suggestive themes.