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Resist This: Hands-On With Retribution Online

A run through all five multiplayer modes in Sony Bend's new portable addition to the Resistance franchise.

Of all the developers trying to shoehorn console-style shooters onto the PSP, I think Sony's Bend, Oregon studio has been among the most successful. They've been holding it down the last few years with the two portable installments in the Syphon Filter series (Dark Mirror and Logan's Shadow), and now they've turned their attention to the first handheld entry in the Resistance series, Retribution. The game just went gold, and Sony held a demo session recently wherein the press got their sweaty hands on Retribution's multiplayer action.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I pinned down Bend's Chris Reese for a quick interview which we cut with a generous amount of gameplay footage. And since you kids do love your video, here it is!


  



Bend has clearly applied the lessons it learned while making the Syphon Filter games, since Retribution also presents multiple control schemes that variously map aiming and character moving to the analog stick and face buttons. Once you've got the controls tweaked to your liking, you'll notice a generous auto-aim feature once you jump into the action. Anyone who's tried to aim precisely in other PSP shooters will already know the aim-assist feature is a godsend, and I have a feeling it will make the core shooting in Retribution a lot more enjoyable than it would have been with manual aiming.

The four-on-four multiplayer works over both local wireless and the Internet, and there are five modes available. You're probably familiar with free-for-all, team deathmatch, and capture the flag at this point. The two unique modes are Containment and Assimilation. Containment puts two control points on the map, signified by large coolant nodes, and your team gains points by controlling one or (ideally) both of them. Unlike most conquest-style multiplayer modes, though, you don't capture a node just by hanging out next to it for a minute; you have to destroy individual panels on the sides of the device, which you can do up close or from afar. So there's a little more strategy involved in node capture than you'd expect.

Assimilation starts all but one player off as a human. If you're the odd man out, you'll be a monstrous cloven, and you'll convert each player you kill to a cloven fighting on your side. The round is over when everyone has been converted to cloven, or the time runs out.

The game has a fairly robust persistent character progression feature for a handheld game, since it ties into Insomniac's MyResistance.net web interface to keep track of your stats and performance. You can rank your character up as you play and unlock a few goodies to boot.

Retribution's weapons lineup is inspired by the crazy weapon designs Insomniac keeps coming up with for the PS3 Resistance games. All the weapons in the PSP game have an alt-fire mode that produces pretty different and unexpected effects from their respective primary fire. One gun pops up an energy shield that you can hide behind for a few seconds, while another slows down movement on your end (and time for the player being aimed at) when you zoom in with it. Figuring out when to use the alt-fires in conjunction with the regular weapons to get ahead in the scoring seems like it will offer a decent amount of depth.

Aside from the necessary auto-targeting and the light tactical nature of the secondary fire modes, Retribution's multiplayer action feels pretty standard as third-person shooters go. But the game practically turns mid-match taunting into an art form. When you kill someone, you can hit a taunt button to hurl a gleefully ridiculous barb that you've unlocked by ranking up. On the demo unit I was playing, my character broke out into a goofy dance with disco music playing, and I understand there's also an officially sanctioned teabag maneuver. The taunts give a laugh-out-loud contrast to the otherwise grim, serious tone of the game.

Even after almost four years, I'm still not entirely sold on the PSP in its role as a supplement to big-console gaming; the system's quirkier, portable-friendly titles, like Patapon and Work Time Fun, have been more to my liking. But if you are in the market for a robust portable online shooter, Retribution looks like it will be a good bet when it ships in mid-March.




25 Comments
Posted by Brad
Of all the developers trying to shoehorn console-style shooters onto the PSP, I think Sony's Bend, Oregon studio has been among the most successful. They've been holding it down the last few years with the two portable installments in the Syphon Filter series (Dark Mirror and Logan's Shadow), and now they've turned their attention to the first handheld entry in the Resistance series, Retribution. The game just went gold, and Sony held a demo session recently wherein the press got their sweaty hands on Retribution's multiplayer action.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I pinned down Bend's Chris Reese for a quick interview which we cut with a generous amount of gameplay footage. And since you kids do love your video, here it is!


  



Bend has clearly applied the lessons it learned while making the Syphon Filter games, since Retribution also presents multiple control schemes that variously map aiming and character moving to the analog stick and face buttons. Once you've got the controls tweaked to your liking, you'll notice a generous auto-aim feature once you jump into the action. Anyone who's tried to aim precisely in other PSP shooters will already know the aim-assist feature is a godsend, and I have a feeling it will make the core shooting in Retribution a lot more enjoyable than it would have been with manual aiming.

The four-on-four multiplayer works over both local wireless and the Internet, and there are five modes available. You're probably familiar with free-for-all, team deathmatch, and capture the flag at this point. The two unique modes are Containment and Assimilation. Containment puts two control points on the map, signified by large coolant nodes, and your team gains points by controlling one or (ideally) both of them. Unlike most conquest-style multiplayer modes, though, you don't capture a node just by hanging out next to it for a minute; you have to destroy individual panels on the sides of the device, which you can do up close or from afar. So there's a little more strategy involved in node capture than you'd expect.

Assimilation starts all but one player off as a human. If you're the odd man out, you'll be a monstrous cloven, and you'll convert each player you kill to a cloven fighting on your side. The round is over when everyone has been converted to cloven, or the time runs out.

The game has a fairly robust persistent character progression feature for a handheld game, since it ties into Insomniac's MyResistance.net web interface to keep track of your stats and performance. You can rank your character up as you play and unlock a few goodies to boot.

Retribution's weapons lineup is inspired by the crazy weapon designs Insomniac keeps coming up with for the PS3 Resistance games. All the weapons in the PSP game have an alt-fire mode that produces pretty different and unexpected effects from their respective primary fire. One gun pops up an energy shield that you can hide behind for a few seconds, while another slows down movement on your end (and time for the player being aimed at) when you zoom in with it. Figuring out when to use the alt-fires in conjunction with the regular weapons to get ahead in the scoring seems like it will offer a decent amount of depth.

Aside from the necessary auto-targeting and the light tactical nature of the secondary fire modes, Retribution's multiplayer action feels pretty standard as third-person shooters go. But the game practically turns mid-match taunting into an art form. When you kill someone, you can hit a taunt button to hurl a gleefully ridiculous barb that you've unlocked by ranking up. On the demo unit I was playing, my character broke out into a goofy dance with disco music playing, and I understand there's also an officially sanctioned teabag maneuver. The taunts give a laugh-out-loud contrast to the otherwise grim, serious tone of the game.

Even after almost four years, I'm still not entirely sold on the PSP in its role as a supplement to big-console gaming; the system's quirkier, portable-friendly titles, like Patapon and Work Time Fun, have been more to my liking. But if you are in the market for a robust portable online shooter, Retribution looks like it will be a good bet when it ships in mid-March.




Staff
Posted by Double0hFor

meh

Posted by JoelTGM

Pretty cool to see multiplayer games working well on a handheld device.  Still would have been better with dual analog sticks.

Posted by Aberrant

I like larger scale battles than 4 on 4. I will probably pass.

Posted by BlackIrish05

I need a good PSP shooter. Hope its good

Posted by Will1Lucky
DOUBLESHOCK said:
"Pretty cool to see multiplayer games working well on a handheld device.  Still would have been better with dual analog sticks.
"

If you own Resistance 2 there is the ability to use a PS3 controller with the game.
Posted by Kohe321

I'll probably pass on this as well. It's like Jeff said on the Bomcast, I can play games like these on my home console, and they are better there.

Posted by TheMustacheHero

The only game you really need for your PSP is Monster Hunter 1 or 2 They last forever, and are great fun with friends. I'll pass on this. Seems a bit boring, especially since everyone looks the same also.

Posted by Aaron_G

I'll wait on this, one, he didn't sell it to me.

Posted by theMcNasty
@DoubleOhFor

You said it buddy.
Posted by Jayge_

Fuck yeah. Sony Bend games are amazing. Syphon Filter DM and LS and especially Combat Ops were amazing and fun online. This looks to be even better. lol @ the people meh'ing it.

Posted by PremierOctopus

I really should get Work Time Fun.

Posted by welshy023

It looks sooooooooooo much better than those gameplay videos show.

Posted by JJOR64

That looks pretty good.  Might have to pick it up.

Posted by Emandudeguyperson

This game is total bullshit, I know it sounds weird to say this, but THAT GAME IS JUST WAY TOO SIMILAR TO THE SYPHON FILTER GAMES!!!

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

brad, give me your beard!

Posted by hyperslug

You failed hummaniy, nice job ;D

Posted by sarahsdad
Emandudeguyperson said:
"This game is total bullshit, I know it sounds weird to say this, but THAT GAME IS JUST WAY TOO SIMILAR TO THE SYPHON FILTER GAMES!!!"

Considering how many times I've replayed the psp syphon filter games, I wouldn't mind a similar game, made by the same studio.
Posted by Media_Master

good for psp

Posted by AspiringAndy

I've  played the demo of this.
One thing that caught my eye was that the reload sounds are exactly the same as Spyhon Filter.

Posted by Jayge_
AspiringAndy said:
"I've  played the demo of this.
One thing that caught my eye was that the reload sounds are exactly the same as Spyhon Filter.
"
So are the default aiming reticules, as is the shaking animation when shooting an automatic weapon, and many other things. It's the Bend engine.
Posted by Karmann

I'm probably gonna get this game, not a resistance fan, but I really like the SF games. The PSP is a great platform, screw the nay-sayers. Nothing like some awesome REAL gaming on the beach, in bed, or on the bus/plane. none of that handicaped, retro, semi-game crap on the old gba and ds. Not a fanboy, I just like it as a piece of tech, as a product, it's probably the videogame purchase I have been most satisfied with. I never really got into any of my ds games, although I was ADICTED to some of the stuff on my gba, but I have a gba emulator on the psp, so that's covered. Anyway, this looks great, lets hope the crappy wifi signals I get on the road are enough for multiplayer...

P.S. Dam, this comment turned into a rant, sorry.

Posted by fastech
Brad Shoemaker is great. i really enjoyed playing Resistance 2 and i look forward to playing retribution online. GIANTBOMB IS DA BOMB!!!!
Posted by JJWeatherman

Nice I this game looks cool. Honestly I just want ANYTHING worthwhile to come to the PSP. As of late its all been crap. Also, I live in Oregon so... go Oregon?

Posted by mymother

this is MY MOTHER'S SHOW MUST ENJOY OR U WILL GET FCUK BY MY MOTHER