Giant Bomb News

16 Comments

Making Alternate History with Resistance: Retribution

We get some hands-on time with Sony Bend's contribution to the Resistance franchise, and learn about the game's unique connectivity features.

Grayson's got some person reasons for wanting to take down the Chimera.
Sony's one of the more significant presences here at TGS 2008, and of the dozen or so upcoming PSP games it has on display, Resistance: Retribution is probably one of the most exciting. I hadn't seen the game myself since its unveiling at E3 earlier this year, and this was also my first hands-on experience with the game. Being a third-person action game, it obviously handles much differently than the first-person Resistance: Fall of Man, but it's already feeling pretty sharp, both from the presentation and the gameplay perspective.

Those familiar with the work that developer Sony Bend has done on the PSP over the past few years with the Syphon Filter series will probably find the level of quality in Resistance: Retribution unsurprising, as the developer has shown a certain knack for making third-person action games for a platform with the considerable handicap of having just one analog stick. The solution involves using the PSP's analog stick to move and the face buttons to aim, a system that's supplemented with a generous aim-assist feature.

Taking a little cue from Gears of War, as many games have, the use of cover when engaging your gross-faced Chimeran enemies is a priority in Retribution, though it's a largely automated system, and simply walking up to an object or low wall will cause your character to crouch behind it. The level being shown on the floor takes place in Bonn inside a Chimera conversion facility, which definitely gave off the cancerous alien feel that was key to the presentation in Resistance: Fall of Man.

I also had the chance to go to a breakout session for Retribution later in the day, where Sony Bend's John Garvin and Chris Reese discussed a few details about the gameplay and the story that weren't apparent in the demo being show on the floor. As for Retribution's place within the overarching Resistance fiction, the game takes place between the events of Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2, and will feature many Chimera facilities, enemies, and weapons found in both games.  The story in Retribution revolves around disgraced British soldier James Grayson, who went AWOL to destroy conversion facilities on his own following some drama with his brother, and who is now working with a French freedom fighting organization called the Maquis. The game promises to fill in some of the blanks between the two PS3 games, such as the origins of the Cloven and the motivation of the Chimera for disassembling its conversion centers. A level taking place in Rotterdam was shown briefly, mostly to illustrate the game's swimming mechanics, which was used as part of a simple water puzzle. This level also introduced female Chimera enemies called Boilers, a term that the Sony Bend guys said was an authentic bit of WWII slang for unattractive women. Boilers appear to essentially be suicide bombers whose heads explode violently when they get near their target, though they also produce a little psychic interference that causes the screen to fuzz up.

Retribution looks pretty good on a full-sized screen, too.
The real focus of the breakout session was the two big connectivity features that will exist between Resistance: Retribution and Resistance 2 for the PlayStation 3. There's the Infection mode, which, if you purchase both Resistance 2 and Resistance: Retribution, gives you an alternate version of the story in Retribution, one where Grayson is recruited by Specter and infected with a strain of the Chimera virus that gives him regenerative health, the ability to breathe underwater, and access to hidden areas of the game. Additionally, Grayson's Specter affiliation gives him access to an HE .22 Magnum with explosive rounds, and if you managed to collect 20 pieces of infection-specific intel scattered throughout the game, you'll unlock plasma grenades as well. The motivation behind the Infection mode is clearly to increase the game's replay value, and it sounds like the host of changes it makes to the game should make for a significantly different experience your second time through.

The other big feature that was discussed was PSP Plus. Again requiring both Resistance 2 and Resistance: Retribution, PSP Plus will let you play Retribution using a proper PlayStation 3 controller. This will obviously provide much better controls than the PSP can offer, though it'll also disable the game's aim-assist feature, and crank up the difficulty a bit as well. If you've got one of the recent model PSPs which feature AV output, you can rig the whole thing up as though it were a tiny PlayStation 2. It's certainly a neat trick, though it also seems like the type of feature that should be part of a PSP firmware update and not just a game-specific feature.

Though Sony Bend wasn't talking much about the multiplayer in Retribution, they did say to expect eight-player multiplayer, both online and local, with five different modes of play. I'm a little puzzled by the decision to develop multiple features for what is ostensibly a portable game system that require you to remain tethered to your PlayStation 3, but there's no denying the game's technical proficiency.
16 Comments
Posted by Ryan
Grayson's got some person reasons for wanting to take down the Chimera.
Sony's one of the more significant presences here at TGS 2008, and of the dozen or so upcoming PSP games it has on display, Resistance: Retribution is probably one of the most exciting. I hadn't seen the game myself since its unveiling at E3 earlier this year, and this was also my first hands-on experience with the game. Being a third-person action game, it obviously handles much differently than the first-person Resistance: Fall of Man, but it's already feeling pretty sharp, both from the presentation and the gameplay perspective.

Those familiar with the work that developer Sony Bend has done on the PSP over the past few years with the Syphon Filter series will probably find the level of quality in Resistance: Retribution unsurprising, as the developer has shown a certain knack for making third-person action games for a platform with the considerable handicap of having just one analog stick. The solution involves using the PSP's analog stick to move and the face buttons to aim, a system that's supplemented with a generous aim-assist feature.

Taking a little cue from Gears of War, as many games have, the use of cover when engaging your gross-faced Chimeran enemies is a priority in Retribution, though it's a largely automated system, and simply walking up to an object or low wall will cause your character to crouch behind it. The level being shown on the floor takes place in Bonn inside a Chimera conversion facility, which definitely gave off the cancerous alien feel that was key to the presentation in Resistance: Fall of Man.

I also had the chance to go to a breakout session for Retribution later in the day, where Sony Bend's John Garvin and Chris Reese discussed a few details about the gameplay and the story that weren't apparent in the demo being show on the floor. As for Retribution's place within the overarching Resistance fiction, the game takes place between the events of Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2, and will feature many Chimera facilities, enemies, and weapons found in both games.  The story in Retribution revolves around disgraced British soldier James Grayson, who went AWOL to destroy conversion facilities on his own following some drama with his brother, and who is now working with a French freedom fighting organization called the Maquis. The game promises to fill in some of the blanks between the two PS3 games, such as the origins of the Cloven and the motivation of the Chimera for disassembling its conversion centers. A level taking place in Rotterdam was shown briefly, mostly to illustrate the game's swimming mechanics, which was used as part of a simple water puzzle. This level also introduced female Chimera enemies called Boilers, a term that the Sony Bend guys said was an authentic bit of WWII slang for unattractive women. Boilers appear to essentially be suicide bombers whose heads explode violently when they get near their target, though they also produce a little psychic interference that causes the screen to fuzz up.

Retribution looks pretty good on a full-sized screen, too.
The real focus of the breakout session was the two big connectivity features that will exist between Resistance: Retribution and Resistance 2 for the PlayStation 3. There's the Infection mode, which, if you purchase both Resistance 2 and Resistance: Retribution, gives you an alternate version of the story in Retribution, one where Grayson is recruited by Specter and infected with a strain of the Chimera virus that gives him regenerative health, the ability to breathe underwater, and access to hidden areas of the game. Additionally, Grayson's Specter affiliation gives him access to an HE .22 Magnum with explosive rounds, and if you managed to collect 20 pieces of infection-specific intel scattered throughout the game, you'll unlock plasma grenades as well. The motivation behind the Infection mode is clearly to increase the game's replay value, and it sounds like the host of changes it makes to the game should make for a significantly different experience your second time through.

The other big feature that was discussed was PSP Plus. Again requiring both Resistance 2 and Resistance: Retribution, PSP Plus will let you play Retribution using a proper PlayStation 3 controller. This will obviously provide much better controls than the PSP can offer, though it'll also disable the game's aim-assist feature, and crank up the difficulty a bit as well. If you've got one of the recent model PSPs which feature AV output, you can rig the whole thing up as though it were a tiny PlayStation 2. It's certainly a neat trick, though it also seems like the type of feature that should be part of a PSP firmware update and not just a game-specific feature.

Though Sony Bend wasn't talking much about the multiplayer in Retribution, they did say to expect eight-player multiplayer, both online and local, with five different modes of play. I'm a little puzzled by the decision to develop multiple features for what is ostensibly a portable game system that require you to remain tethered to your PlayStation 3, but there's no denying the game's technical proficiency.
Posted by igl

oy. I might try it because it has been ages since i took out my psp.

Posted by GalvanizedNails

bend is a great studio so im sure this will at least be a decent action game for the psp. i do hope the multiplayer is better than their two syphon filter psp games were

Posted by pill92

is there going to be multiplayer over ad hoc?

Posted by I2v2nr20I

Maybe it IS going to be a new PSP feature and they're just lying to cover that up.

Posted by PLWolf

It looks really awesome and I can't wait to play it.

Posted by Jayge_

Bend is an amazing studio, and the 3rd generation Bend Engine is looking super-fine for this title.

Also, regarding Infection mode, you only need to activate that once, and you can play it anywhere (so I've heard). In terms of playing with the DS3, that's tethered, yeah.

Sadly enough, Ryan felt the need to attribute the cover system to Gears of War, although it's been a Bend Studio development staple since Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror long before Gears' release. Halo invented video games, Gears of War invented cover systems amirite!

I'm also a bit surprised to hear that AV out cables are required to play the game on your TV. I was under the impression that these would not be required for PSP Plus, from a source generally more reputed for PSP-specific news than GiantBomb, so I'm not really sure what to believe about that.

Posted by Media_Master

cool might be worth a psp

Posted by Media_Master

cool might be worth a psp

Posted by elko84

Being able to play it with a PS3 controller is a neat idea.

Posted by AndrewGaspar

I really want a PSP now. =P

Posted by mubress

PSP, what's that?...
Oh wait, what's this box buried under my N64 box.....

Posted by JakJ

"I'm also a bit surprised to hear that AV out cables are required to play the game on your TV."

How else would the image and sound get off your PSP on to your TV?

Posted by radion_null

I hope RR is just as fun as the Syphon Filter games on PSP.   I am curious about that connectivity with the PS3.  Now, all I got to to is 1)) buy a new PSP and 2) wait for the game to ocme out in 09

Posted by AaronBelfast

This looks amazing, Im looking into getting a PSP, so this is great news!

Posted by Jayge_

"

JakJ
on Oct. 10, 2008
"I'm also a bit surprised to hear that AV out cables are required to play the game on your TV."

How else would the image and sound get off your PSP on to your TV?
"

I was pretty sure the game played on your television screen through USB while you used DS3. If that's not the case, then the feature is even more retarded than I thought.