The era of the Playstation 4 is here. Big AAA titles are needed to exemplify the PS4’s awesome hardware. But it also needs good support in the form of Playstation Network titles. Housemarque had a crack at this with Super Stardust HD for the PS3, and it worked. Resogun is their step-up to next-generation gaming, and it most certainly works.
The game borrows various aspects from its older brother; it focuses on a space ship flying around the screen trying to eradicate alien scum with cool laser weapons that go pew pew pew. You also have a unique environment to move around in; although instead of a 3D planet you could fly around on previously, you’re stuck to a more linear 2D left or right choice of moving.
I don’t know if Resogun even has a story but to be honest I don’t really care as that’s not what this game is about. It won’t suck you in like Mass Effect or Uncharted would. It delivers epic gameplay of the highest order. I think each level represents some kind of alien facility you need to destroy and the aliens are called Sentinents building a massive disintegration weapon called “Resogun”. Yeah. That covers it basically.
Each level has 10 humans, who for some reason are held captive, and you have to destroy all enemies in the level whilst being mindful of the humans. Every so often “Keepers” will appear and if they are not destroyed within an unspecified amount of time then a human is lost. If your multiplier is not high enough then the human is lost. But if you do kill these distinguishable glowing enemies in time then you can rescue the humans and take them to a nearby rescue portal which credits you with a point’s bonus, a temporary shield, an extra bomb or extra life. You want to save them as you get useful bonuses for doing so, plus hearing “human lost” makes you want to flick your own eye in disappointment.
Humans are a sub-plot to the main level. A bar at the bottom of the screen shows how much of the level you’ve completed and during the course of this mesmerising gauntlet you encounter multiple types of enemies. Some are dainty and annoying whereas others take a heap of abuse before submitting. Once you’ve survived the level using: bombs which clear the screen of enemies, boosting which gets you out of almost-death predicaments and your overdrive; you have a boss to face. Oh and overdrive is basically a monstrous laser you can activate when you’ve killed as certain amount of enemies relevant to your ship’s overdrive attribute.
The boss battles are very different. That was one thing that disappointed me with Super Stardust. I can’t think of any testing or interesting boss battles from it whereas Resogun has 5 unique battles that I think are enjoyable in their own way. For instance, one is a moving cartwheel, one is the multiplying cube of destiny and the final boss which I’ve called “Spike”. Purely because of the weird difficulty spike between it and the previous 4 bosses but it’s creative and fun nevertheless.
Power-ups also appear sporadically which can increase your overdrive power and also your main weapon. These are useful for the boss fights in particular and getting through difficult waves of which you think there is no end.
In order to complete these 5 perilous missions you can choose one of 3 ships that have characteristics which are better suited to different players. If you like your vehicular experience to be of the ninja kind focusing on speed and movement with less fire power; then you should choose Nemesis. If you’re more of the Andre The Giant type where you prefer overwhelming power at the expense of speed and movement; then you should go with Phobos. Ferox is the middle ground and in my experience I found Ferox to be better as it cleared levels quicker with its terrific firepower and awesome overdrive.
In many ways, Resogun feels like the natural successor to Super Stardust. It has 5 levels, the same method of gameplay; but the PS4 qualities quite literally shine. You’ll be struck by its ostentatious looks. People would argue that’s a bad thing but I wouldn’t in this case. Resogun has every right to put itself out there and captivate people with its ravishingly stylistic design and powerful graphics. For a PSN game this is a great way to start.
Enemies shatter into millions of pieces which look cool and as you progress the level through the level the buildings start crumbling and disintegrating before your very eyelids. The explosions..well…they just look awe-inspiring. I won’t spoil what it looks like but when you beat a boss, the end result is worth admiring over and over. Bombs send a massive blue shockwave hurtling around the planet and your overdrive can only be described as the result of powerful tesla coil tornado that rips apart anything in its path.
It’s weird that one second I’m appreciating the show before me, yet I’m finding myself finding the humans cute. For some reason they have incredibly gentle, cute high-pitched voices and utter things like “thank you” and “ow”. Their obvious damsel in distress roles do actually make you want to save them. They also make you want to shoot them as for some reason you can juggle them by shooting and it’s a skilful way of getting them to safety; you can simply throw them too.
The soundtrack is a master class in head-bobbing trance tracks that help dictate the flow of the game. Weapons sound great to use and by playing Resogun with the all-new Dualshock 4 controller; you get a variety of instructions and information said to you by the female voice coming from the controller’s speaker. She will alert you that human’s are in danger, what item you’ve picked up, your score multiplier has increased, that you’ve completed a phase of the level etc. It’s a nice way to make use of the new technology at Housemarque’s disposal. Better than Super Rub ‘a’ Dub anyway….*shudders*…..
The content I played of Resogun was terrific; sadly there just wasn’t enough of it. I’m fully aware we are as early as can be in the PS4 life cycle and time is required to fulfil its maximum potential. But 5 levels weren’t enough for a game that is so enjoyable and so well executed. Perhaps a slightly cohesive story could have been made with an extra 5 levels and then we’d be talking about an all-time classic. Perhaps future DLC will support the game, which I hope it does, but I’ll have to settle for these levels.
True though you can play them co-operatively on and offline; plus of course there are the leaderboards and 4 different difficulty levels offering very varying levels of patience and skill.
If serious time is invested into a fuller version of the game with new elements to expand the gameplay and a story; then I would happily pay full price for a title like that.
+ Exceptional gameplay formula
+ Thumping soundtrack with nice controller integration
+ Remarkable visuals
+ Achieves the rare feat of having good bosses
- Too short
- A decent story is in this game somewhere
I really enjoyed playing Resogun so much and Housemarque’s reputation is growing as they are taking on more and bigger projects. They have a special understanding on the side-scrolling shooter genre and I’d like to see them go further with Resogun. It’s extremely fun and the visuals are so spectacular it’s like a New Year’s firework display you could watch repeatedly. The inclusion of more levels and, I know I said it’s not what it’s about but, a story with more substance could really propel this game to new heights. It’s a game I want more of and it’s a game everyone should play.