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Resogun Review

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On 12/19/2013 at 12:00 PM by Travis Hawks

The PS4 has its Geometry Wars.

Perfect for anyone who has ever loved a space shooter.

Any game where you fly a spaceship and blast aliens has my interest. Factor in the added tension of rescuing humans, though, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to hate it. I’ve tried to play Defender and its ilk for decades, but could never “get it.” From the mind boggling button layout of the original Defender arcade machine to every reimagining and sequel that followed, the execution just didn’t hit me right until Resogun tweaked it all just enough to enable the concept to achieve its full potential.

Possibly Resogun’s biggest foundational change to the Defender formula is to wrap the playfield around a cylinder. Although this rejiggering of a continuous landscape might seem a little obvious in retrospect, it allows you to see the rest of the playfield without some sort of mini-map stuck in the middle of things. There are other brilliant modifications of the classic concept, like allowing you to toss the rescued humans to safety to save a few precious seconds, turning a close call into a massive achievement.

Add some adored features from Geometry Wars to the Defender formula and there’s even more to get you hooked. Continuous attacks on enemies ups your multiplier, and collecting the glowing squares defeated foes leave behind fills your boost meter -- which lets you unleash all sorts of fury for a brief time and really rack up the points. The boost also helps clear out the screen, but not as well as the bombs that will wipe out every last alien flying your way.  Your bombs are limited, of course, so managing their use is one more thing to keep in mind during the frantic action.

You can start the game on the “Rookie” difficulty, which can be pretty overwhelming at first, but it gives you a chance to prepare for the three higher difficulty levels available (until you unlock one that’s even more insane).  I was instantly hooked on the twin-stick controls and trying to survive until the end of each level, and was glad to try it all again to get a better score. Each difficulty increase has elegant changes to enemy patterns instead of simply dumping more bullet-sponges onto the playfield, making them feel almost completely new each time.  Resogun has nailed that addictive arcade game feel that isn’t easy to harness. I’ve been delving into the game for weeks, making small advances, and thinking about playing it even while I’m not.

The gorgeously composed arenas and ships constructed of miniature cubes that burst and tumble when destroyed are a look unlike any I’ve ever seen. And surprisingly, making the entire game out of little blocks does show off what the PS4 is capable of. Add in intense background beats with warnings and accolades from the controller’s speaker, and Resogun provides an audio-visual experience that enveloped me and often put me in that video game zen-like trance that’s hard to willingly abandon.

My only problem with the game is my own skill level. I’d like to say I’d mastered several difficulty levels, but I’m still struggling to finish the second hardest on my own.  I have been able to pair up with some others to see how crazy things can get down the line with the online co-op mode. Taking down the insane end bosses in the higher difficulties is pretty satisfying, even if it did require me to get a little help from an anonymous online friend.

Maybe as a collective, PS4 owners are desperate for notable, quality content on their new system and Resogun is the only beacon of hope. At least that’s what I thought might have grabbed me when I first started playing, but my admiration for Resogun and the certainty that it’s destined to become a classic shooter have solidified in my mind. If you were prudent enough to hold out on getting a PS4 for a while, make sure you put Resogun on your must-buy list once you do dive in. If you’ve already got a PS4 on the shelf and don’t have Resogun, you are doing it all wrong. 

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Jamie Alston Staff Writer

12/19/2013 at 12:54 PM

I'll definitely check this game out if I get the PS4.  Like you, I could never get into Defender and relying on that stupid map.  I'll probably do much with Resogun.

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