Resistance: Retribution Review

  • Posted March 17th, 2009 at 23:22 EDT by

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Resistance: Retribution

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On a handheld that hasn’t had many must-own titles lately, Resistance: Retribution is an enthralling experience that portable gamers shouldn't pass up.

We like

  • The aim-assist, which has been improved on from past Sony Bend titles
  • The well-developed character of James Grayson
  • The stellar replay value

We dislike

  • The lack of true challenge until late in the game

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Resistance: Retribution is the latest third-person shooter from Sony Bend, known primarily for its Syphon Filter titles on the PlayStation Portable. Announced last year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sony Bend and Insomniac Games worked closely together in order to develop a title that helped gamers understand what went on in Europe between Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2. This was a time period of much doubt and uncertainty as the Chimera were driven back by Nathan Hale, yet in some odd turn of events managed to strengthen their forces in order to bring the war to North America. Retribution is a successful bridge between the two games.

Taking place roughly two weeks after the conclusion of Fall of Man, gamers take on the role of James Grayson, who vows he will destroy every known Chimeran conversion center. Grayson is thoroughly well rounded and not just some British badass who feels the need to take out the invaders. No, he has motivation; he has a driving ambition and reason behind his feelings. After all, who wouldn’t feel the need for vengeance after being forced to put a bullet in your own brother’s head?

Grayson’s tale is an unfortunate one. Grayson, a highly ranked British Marine, walks into the wrong conversion center at the wrong time. While removing a Chimera who was performing the conversion process, he and his squadmates quickly find out the man on the table is Grayson’s brother. Rather than deny the inevitable, Grayson is forced to take care of his brother with one pull of the trigger, which not only shatters his brother’s skull, but Grayson’s mind as well. From that point forward, our boy James is no longer the same man. Abandoning his squad, Grayson seeks out other conversion centers, blowing them up one by one until his eventual arrest. He sits in a jail, working out, waiting for his turn to come in the form of an execution.


With the arrival of the French Resistance (who knew?) named the Maquis, Grayson is absolved of his past crimes in order to help them fight against the Chimera in hopes of delivering a serum that could prevent further Chimeran conversions. The Maquis – led by Raine Bouchard – gives Grayson orders with little respect, but Grayson has his own gameplan, and he executes commands in his own style. This is where Grayson sets himself apart from other prominent figures on the PlayStation Portable. One of our favorite moments comes when Bouchard asks Grayson not to blow up a conversion center, which he conveniently 'forgets,' sending the thing into oblivion. It's small acts like this that help give Grayson his own defining qualities. He’s not the quiet protagonist that’s going to doggedly take orders and trudge along; instead, he’s going to swear, kill, and do things his own way, and that’s why we love him.

The gameplay mechanics that Sony Bend has included within Resistance: Retribution feel comfortable if you’ve played one of their Syphon Filter titles for the PSP. The developers utilize the same control mapping: analog-controlled movement with face buttons designated for aiming around. The R shoulder button fires and the L shoulder changes your firing mode between primary and secondary fire. The D-Pad is also thrown into the mix and each direction offers a different result; for example, pushing right or holding right will either let you scroll through your weapons or bring up your weapon wheel. This system – albeit not perfect – is a great way for making up for the lack of a right analog stick.


Sony Bend has made a lot of improvements within Retribution that fix the annoyances that some gamers found within the studio's similar Syphon Filter titles. Take the cover system, for instance. In Syphon Filter, PSP owners had to struggle with taking cover, pushing a new button to lean out or in, lining up your shot and then shooting or they could just use the standard cover fire. In Retribution, however, Grayson will duck behind cover automatically and with a press of the R button he’ll peak out to shoot at enemies locked in on his crosshairs. This subtle change has allowed the game to become very user accessible and friendly to the casual crowd.

One of the negatives ... (continued on next page)

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