Resogun is the third of the PS4 launch titles that I was eager to try, and coincidentally also the first I played. The reason it is the last I’m reviewing, despite me playing it first, is that it is the game I’ve kept going back and playing when given a free moment with my PS4. It’s hard to review a game when you just can’t stop playing it, after all.
Bullet Not-So Hell
Clearly inspired both by modern twin-stick shooters and classic Arcade Bullet Hell games, Resogun offers a fantastic middle ground between the two. With easily accessible controls, and difficulty settings to cater to almost anyone. I tried out the three difficulties available by default, and they offer a very steady learning curve. The easiest is quite slow and allows someone who isn’t familiar with this style of game to really get their bearings, but then the difficulties ramp up rather quickly with the third one being enough to really put me through my paces.
The game does feature a brief and token storyline in which you are rescuing the last humans from these various dying worlds in order to bring them to a new planet for them to colonize: Earth. Each of these worlds is themed a little differently, introducing new enemies and new special mechanics. One example is an ice themed world with little ice blocks you can break to create a temporary area that freezes all enemies. The worlds are all the same basic shape, to add a bit of consistency, but with different enough environments that it never feels truly repetitive.
In The Driver’s Seat
Resogun handles like a dream. Not only is the PS4 controller incredibly accurate, but the controls in this game are just absurdly perfect. I was never left feeling as though I died because something didn’t work – which is how it should be. When I die, I want to know it was my fault, and Resogun gives me that. This is exactly the type of frustration I want from a game – the type that encourages me to improve, rather than making me want to throw blame. It creates a tension that is just immensely satisfying, and that is missing from so many games these days.
Adding another element of control are the 3 different super abilities: Boost, OverDrive, and Bombs. Boost is fairly descriptive, you fly forward at ultra-high speeds and destroy anything you come in contact with(short of bosses of course), releasing an explosion at the end. You can only do this every so often, but what makes it really strategic is that destroying enemies while boosting refills your boost meter. OverDrive makes you invulnerable and unleashes a massive laser obliterating anything in its path, even dealing massive damage to bosses. Bombs, on the other hand, are exactly what you’d expect: they blow up everything around you.
There are three different ships you can choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The first ship, the Nemesis, is fast with longer Boost and a weapon with more area of effect but less overall damage. The Phobos is slower yet has dramatically longer Overdrive with a smaller area, higher damage weapon. The final ship, named Ferox, falls in the middle. Each ship will cater to a different playstyle, but I found the Nemesis to be the easiest to use mostly due to the more frequent availability of Boost.
Voxels are a hot topic in game design lately. Not having a deep understanding, I won’t try to explain them to you, I’ll leave that for Wikipedia. I am bringing this up because the Voxel is what makes the graphics of Resogun so spectacular. By using these, they are able to create a level of detail in destruction that is utterly fantastic.
When you destroy enemies, every piece that they are made up of – and I don’t mean electronic components – explodes in a fascinating burst of colour and light. If you destroy them using Overdrive, you get that same explosion but in glorious slow motion. It is an almost addictive level of beauty to expose your eyes to, and I cannot praise the execution enough. But they take it one step further when you finish a level. After completing one of the game’s worlds, everything except your ship explodes in an unparalleled display.
Resogun really takes advantage of the console. It uses the processing power to give an unprecedented level of fidelity to the graphics, proving that complexity and realism are not the only ways to improve graphics. It uses the network functionality for constant leaderboards and online play – which is an intriguing and unique experience on its own. But the most interesting aspects are how it makes use of the controller improvements.
My favourite part of the controller it makes use of is the speaker. It seems like a silly thing to be impressed by, but certain audio cues (the ones that would be originating from your ship) are presented to you via the controller’s speaker. It creates a level of almost 3-dimensional sound without the need for an expensive stereo system, and truly gives a sense of connection between you and the game. It would be nice, as that style of sound depth can cause issues for some people, if there were an option to have all audio come from the television, but nonetheless it is a fantastic touch.
As a final footnote, this game does support the Vita’s Remote Player feature. I gave it a try, since I wanted to play away from my tv for a bit… and it works fantastically well. I noticed very minimal lag, and the controls worked as you’d expect. The only awkward part I saw was that the R2/L2 buttons were emulated by the corners of the rear touchpad which, while a relatively good solution, left me wasting bombs occasionally when I shifted my grip on the Vita. Not likely to be desirable if you’re trying to compete on the leaderboards, but not a big enough deal to be concerned about overall.
This game does a fantastic job of selling me on ‘next gen’. From the fantastic voxel-based graphics, to the incredibly tight controls. While it doesn’t really give us fascinating new AI concepts… it does a great job of making me keep coming back to my PS4. With a controller change as drastic as the PS3 to PS4, this is probably the best thing Sony could have on their new console – a game that makes you constantly use and appreciate the new controller.
Resogun is easily the best next-gen game I’ve played, and one of the most fun games I’ve played this year.