…is retribution. Resistance: Retribution takes place between Fall of Man and Resistance 2 on PS3. You play as James Grayson, a former British soldier who, after having to execute his own brother who was in the process of being converted into a Chimera, deserts his post and goes on a rampage across Britain blowing up more than 20 conversion centres and becoming somewhat of a folk hero to what remains of the British population. Grayson is then captured and faces the firing squad for desertion in a time of war until he is recruited by the Maquis – the French Resistance who want to take back a conquered Europe from the Chimera – who seek his experience in dealing with conversion centres. So begins Operation Overstrike.
Grayson as a character has a very strong personality, and greatly contrasts the “get-the-job-done” silent attitude of Nathan Hale, the protagonist of Fall of Man and R2. The trauma of having to execute his own brother has left him with a thirst for Chimeran blood – an attitude which surprisingly is re-evaluated throughout the game – and a chip on his shoulder. He may not like his new employers, particularly Colonel Mallery or “Molly” as Grayson prefers to call him but he knows his duty nonetheless. Whilst Operation Overstrike is the encompassing military mission being carried out, Grayson is really in Europe to help Raine Bouchard (also a Maquis member) in researching and later administering a virus which would stop the conversion process altogether. Unlike Fall of Man and R2, there is a much bigger influence on the plot, with plenty of distractions to the main objective which keep the game interesting throughout. The story is told via pre-rendered cut-scenes, still images and diary entries. The diary entries help give an insight to character motivations, something that was lacking in Resistance 2.
One thing is certain about Retribution and that is it’s a hell of a lot of fun to play. Retribution switches to a 3rd person perspective with a clever lock-on system and cover system which helps keep the action fluid and paced despite the limitations of the PSP. Move with the analog, aim with the face buttons. It works surprisingly well, and focuses the emphasis on not taking hits rather than aiming. Levels are also diverse enough to include some verticality, crawling and swimming, resulting in nice and timely changes of pace to the enjoyable gun play. The levels, on the whole, are fantastic. The game certainly feels more like Fall of Man than Resistance 2, so expect to see those mines again as well as a few Slipskulls on the way. You’ll find yourself fighting for the cause in Rotterdam, Bonn, Luxembourg to name a few and a some other locations which help set the scene for Resistance 2.
Ultimately Retribution seeks to fill in any gaps, and indeed create a few of its own, in the Resistance Universe. For the first time ever in the series the player finally meets the Cloven face to face, and if your patient enough to collect the hidden intel about them aswell I can assure you that fans won’t be disappointed. Every level in the game has hidden intel, which when all found can unlock some bonus weapons for replay of previous levels. Traditional weapons like the Carbine, Auger and Fareye appear with a few nice additions typical of the Resistance universe such as the Razor (which replaces the Bullseye) whose alternate fire is an energy blade which ricochet off surfaces and a chaingun with a regenerate shield.
Intel and skill points (like achievements) help to add to the replay of the game which lasts about 12 hours on a first play through. Resistance 2 owners get a few bonuses in the form of Infected Mode and Retribution+, which can be activated by connecting your PSP to a PS3 with Resistance 2 running. Infected Mode infects Grayson with the Chimera virus, giving him regenerative health, the ability to indefinitely breathe underwater and the Magnum from Resistance 2. Additionally his appearance changes to that of a SRPA operative. The only downside of this mode is that it doesn’t change the pre-rendered cut scenes and is deactivated once you quit the game or power down the PSP. It does however alter some encounters with other characters in the game, as well as their reactions to Grayson.
Retribution + allows you to play the game using your Dualshock 3, but it disables the auto-lock on system and the game becomes a little bit harder. Plus mode isn’t game changing like Infected mode but it is nevertheless a nice addition to a portable system game that already has more content than most console games.
When you throw in a standard, yet welcome, multiplayer component, Retribution ticks all the boxes for a top-notch game. The graphics, for handheld standards are mightily impressive with clever lighting and texture design and a butter-smooth framerate throughout. Add in a brilliant soundtrack that changes to coincide with the action on screen and voice acting on par with the console games and you have one helluva package for €40 that you can keep in your pocket. Here’s hoping for a sequel in the years to come.
As far as portable games go, they don't get much better than this.
Fast and intense, the way I like it.
Probably the single best Resistance plot yet, great focus and an engaging experience.
Experience with the PSP shows, well made from framerate to sound.
It has more content than a console game. That's all I need to say.