Resogun PS4 Review: blood-pumping, retro-grade entertainment
- Posted November 28th, 2013 by Timothy Nunes
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Resogun is the perfect game for leaderboard enthusiasts, with simplistic gameplay and application that's challenging to master. Saving the last humans has never felt so invigorating.
- Engaging and simple gameplay
- Co-op play
- Vivacious visuals
- Low replay value
- Narrow maps
Housemarque has made many memorable games over the years, including Gold: Tee It Up!, Dead Nation, and Outland. The one game that the talented team is most known for is Super Stardust, which has been on every PlayStation platform released after PS2. Super Stardust's concept was grounded in an arcade realm of upgrades, survival, and boss battles, and Housemarque hasn’t veered too far off that course with its new title, Resogun. When a concept works splendidly, it needs little tinkering, and Housemarque knows how to create engaging arcade-style games as addictive as they are challenging.
After only a few minutes of gameplay, Resogun comes across as a combination of Defender and Super Stardust with an extra twist that only Housemarque could dream up. Instead of randomly spawning "the last humans" in Resogun's cylindrical levels, Housemarque places their fate with special, green-glowing enemies called Keepers. The player must destroy all Keepers in a wave before they leave the level in order for one of 10 humans to escape from cells scattered around the level. Using the left joystick for navigation and the right for shooting, players must destroy a myriad of enemies and avoid taking damage while picking up humans as they appear and taking them to drop-off points. Fail, and a major boost in points will be lost. In all of the on-screen madness, you're thankfully alerted to the presence of Keepers by in-game narration, which comes through the DualShock 4 speaker (or wired headset). You'll also be alerted when humans are killed because you took too long to save them or when bonuses are awarded.
As explosions take place in Resogun, sections of the map deteriorate into small blocks. During these visual treats, I often reminisced on the first PlayStation 4 tech demo with the million-particle drop. Included in this visual feast is the immense amount of effects and on-screen colors that are constantly bombarding the senses. This is one of the few games in which I've actually worried about seizure-ish impacts, but only because the graphical palette is so vibrantly rich and silky smooth.
The narrowed design of Resogun's cylindrical maps, especially compared to the rotating planets from Super Stardust, feels bland as the game begins. Only a few enemies appear early on, so the experience feels a bit undercooked. However, television real estate becomes taxed as the game progresses, and a feeling of claustrophobia appears under onscreen enemies' overwhelming presence and the small level size. The experience is intense, and I cannot count how many times I've died in Resogun because of something that I neglected to pay attention to, especially later in the game. Enemies fly across the screen in different patterns and speeds, and almost all of them fire weapons. The ability to see and keep track of everything becomes difficult as more and more vibrant colors and effects take over the screen with visual glory. This ties in with the game's significant difficulty, and is one of Resogun's only negative aspects: keeping track of everything gets harder as the game itself progresses in levels and difficulty.
Still, the difficulty of tracking Resogun's enemies, objectives, and hazards isn't a negative I would leverage against the game, but rather one I would put upon myself. Top-tier play requires a massive amount of concentration, and the 45 minutes or so needed to get through all five Resogun maps places a lot of weight on perception and reaction time.
Despite the game's overall difficulty--this is a serious step up from Super Stardust--weapon upgrades can feel overpowered at times. And yet, I'm often grateful for the clever balancing act between stress and relief that seriously powerful weapons afford. Whenever enemies start taking more shots than normal, the only way to survive for long is to upgrade your weapons. Later in the game, as upgrades pile up, the small ship spews missiles and shots from every which way in a wall of destruction, making offense the best defense. I was periodically able to sit in one spot while my auto-targeting missiles did the work for me, only having to avoid projectiles that got too close. A bounty of upgrades must be gathered for such an onslaught of missiles, so the ... (continued on next page)