19 Reviews

Resistance: Retribution

Review: The cack-handed little brother

The original was one of the PS3's best launch titles and the sequel one of the biggest games of 2008. Now the Resistance franchise has hit PSP, but can it make the same impact on a handheld?

You can tell just by looking at Resistance: Retribution that Sony is taking PSP seriously. It's a huge step up from the lazy PS2 conversions PSP owners have previously had to endure.

After a fancy CGI sequence, the opening scene shows the lead character, James Grayson, parachuting into a Chimera-infested warzone in Rotterdam. This gives you an early opportunity to admire the detail.


The smaller, closed in levels can look plain, but PSP really struts its stuff in more open stages where detail peaks and, even with multiple enemies on screen, there's no dip in performance.

You, playing as Grayson, have been forced into fighting across Europe with militant group, the Marquis, in a battle to save Luxembourg from a looming Chimeran assault.

Gameplay is mostly spent on foot as you gun your way through Rotterdam into the Chimera territory of central Europe.

You take the occasional underwater plunge, hammer X to yank a door-opening switch here and there, and take control of a mech later in the game (without spoiling too much for you), but it's otherwise a by-the-numbers shooter.

It may be squashed onto a small screen, but as well as a fairly decent-sized single-player campaign, Resistance Retribution packs a hefty serving of multiplayer.

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Deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag modes are self-explanatory. But there are two others; Assimilation, where players on one team kill members of the opposing team to assimilate them and Containment, in which both teams battle to capture two coolant nodes, causing their opposition's reactor core to explode.

It goes up to ten players too, both online and offline, so it can get pretty hectic - which is refreshing to see on PSP, and something we hope for more of going foward.

Whether you're playing the single or multiplayer modes, RR suffers from one fundamental issue though - the controls.

With the PSP's four face buttons lost to 'look' direction control, you only have two buttons in your immediate grip: the shoulder buttons. R shoots and L is alternate fire.

That's clearly not enough, so it compensates by making rather awkward use of the D-pad for other essential tasks.

Down is 'interact' which is okay because that's easily reached. But left is reload and right changes weapon - two commonly-used actions placed on buttons you have to take your thumb off the thumbstick to reach.


Manual aim, required regularly to take out new female Chimera who need to be shot in the head, is on the up button.

The game tries further to improve a fundamentally flawed system by doing a list of other tasks automatically.

Aiming with four buttons is awkward, so instead of a standard cross-hair you have an almost screen-sized hit box and Grayson automatically shoots at anything within it. There's an automatic cover system too, which locks you to walls when close.

But despite Bend Studios' valiant efforts, the controls just aren't as smooth as you'd want them to be because, as with any automated function, it's frustrating as hell when it doesn't work correctly. Like when you're getting shot to shit because Grayson won't duck behind that wall. Or he chooses to shoot at a distant enemy behind cover instead of the one in your face.

We think it could have worked better with 360 degree analogue like Uncharted, but with an intelligent, self-sufficient camera system. We can't see why Bend would make a third-person game control like an FPS on a console that lacks two analogue sticks.

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