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PSP Review – Resistance: Retribution

March 25, 2009 Written by Richard Allen

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Resistance: Retribution is the latest portable conversion in Sony’s roster. Retribution helps to fill in some of the story events between Fall of Man and Resistance 2. It was Developed by Bend Studios using an enhanced version of Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow engine, with various frame rate and visual improvements. The weapons wheel is back, which gives you an awesome arsenal at your fingertips. You will need it; from start to finish, Retribution is an incredibly action-packed experience.

This tale introduces James Grayson as a renegade element in the British Marines. Bitter at the hand fate has dealt him, he goes AWOL and takes matters into his own hands. Destroying any Chimeran conversion centers he comes across. While his vigilante efforts are revered, he is eventually captured and imprisoned with a death sentence. His life is spared when a local resistance group know as the Maquis require his expertise in Chimeran ass-kicking on a delivery mission. The Maquis take James on a European tour of Luxembourg, Paris, Rotterdam, Warsaw and Bonn; the backdrop is very much like Fall of Man.

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Grayson meets the Maquis

There are enemies-a-plenty in Retribution. Some you will remember from Fall of Man, and some from Resistance 2. It’s pretty much an onslaught from start to finish, with the difficulty really amping up at the end. The enemy AI isn’t groundbreaking, but you will often find enemies taking cover. Some enemies will run up straight to you, and the aim assist can provide some frustration if it accidentally selects an enemy in the distance. The pace of the gameplay is broken up with some neat underwater areas, as well as a fun-to-play vehicle that I don’t want to spoil for you. It wouldn’t be a Resistance title without the customary pieces of intel scattered throughout the game. They have also included a skill point system which works as an internal achievement system. Graphically, this game really impresses. Some of the levels look like they are pulled right out of Fall of Man, albeit scaled for Sony’s handheld.

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Any Syphon Filter PSP fan will feel very comfortable with Retribution. It utilizes the same forgiving face button look control mechanism that rewards for precision when used. The cover system is easy to use and generally doesn’t get in the way of things. While the lack of jumping is noticeable at first, the level designs never really offer too many places you would want to jump.

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Infected mode changes things up as Grayson is all decked out with orange eyes, and wears an SRPA outfit. You ‘infect’ your copy of Resistance: Retribution by connecting to a PS3 that’s running Resistance 2. And it’s not just a simple change in character appearance, as you’ll notice some dialog alterations in the cutscenes, as well as a difference in his attitude and his offhand enemy-finishing quips. While you are infected you will be able to regenerate health, but the aiming assist is disabled. Fortunately, the PSP Plus feature helps out nicely with Infected mode since it allows you to connect a Dual Shock 3 to your PSP and control Grayson that way.  When I first heard of this feature it sounded gimmicky, but I found it to be a great deal of fun. The only bad part about PSP Plus is it’s a dramatic reminder that your PSP is missing a second nub!

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The eight player multiplayer offers replayability in several varieties. Game modes include the usual fare of deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag, as well as containment and assimilation. Containment is very similar to Meltdown (from Resistance: Fall of Man). The mission is based on keeping control of coolant nodes with points based on ownership. Assimilation has one player playing a Cloven while the rest are Maquis. The object is to survive the longest as a Maquis, which cannot kill the Cloven. Every Maquis killed by a Cloven respawns as a Cloven. It’s a unique take on the original Resistance’s conversion mode. Stats can be tracked via MyResistance.net, similar to R2, which really fills out the mulitplayer experience with near-console quality.

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Overall presentation and gameplay will offer up hours of chimera-stomping enjoyment. Some of the early levels are very tutorial-based, to the point of being a shooting gallery. The action picks up pace steadily which offers quite a challenge near the end. Some of the baked lighting techniques and effects are pulled off nicely. The story and dialog help answer a few questions. Although the dialog isn’t its strong suit, the story really does flesh out and expand the Resistance universe.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score


Intense action that never lets up.

Production value sets a new standard for PSP.

Forgiving look mechanism makes the game very approachable.

9 out of 10