Reviews// Resogun

Posted 4 Dec 2013 12:24 by
Resogun Resogun Resogun WAAAAHHHH OOF UH...

That's me doing an impression of Twitter in the days leading up to the PS4 launch. The must-have game of the launch, everyone was saying was Resogun. And... yes, if you have/are soon to get a PS4, you really should get Resogun. It's the... er, the must-have game of the PS4 launch line-up... Quite what that says about the PS4's launch line-up is, I dare say, a topic for an op-ed some other day. But Resogun is certainly very good.

It's an old-fashioned sort of bullet hell, sidescrolling shooter with a wee gameplay twist and a thick old coat of next-gen polish. Plot-wise, you play as a thing that has to fight some other things (the other things are called Sentients) that have enslaved humanity or something and... there's no plot, actually. That's it. There's something quite enjoyable about a game that's entirely comfortable with the fact its a game and doesn't try to dress itself up as anything schmancy like a 'narrative'.

So, you can move left and right and, within screen-locked parameters, up and down. And you can shoot left or you can shoot right. And (here's the thing that sets it apart) each level is a loop, as in the horizontal plane you're zipping around is the outside of a cylinder. As well as staying alive, you're tasked with picking up humans who periodically get dropped from their prisons and into the line of fire. Once you've picked them up, you have to get them to a... I guess it's a teleport station at the top of the screen. In terms of broader mechanics, that's really all that separates it from its forebears such as R-Type.

But while Resogun's core concept is really just a slight twist on a formula that goes back decades, it does what it does incredibly well. Further more, it does it with more visual flair than you could articulate in a sleazy yell as it walked past you in the street.

Resogun is quite hard. I'm always reluctant to say how hard something is for fear of you ridiculing me for being soft, but it's quite hard. I consider myself to be of average skill and reasonably adept at twin-stick shooters, but there was no way I was getting past 'normal' to either of the two harder difficulty levels.

There are moments when the game turns into a right old bullet storm. There are moments when there's so much going on around you it's hard to keep track of everything and all of a sudden a fireball is 'sploding you because you were too busy looking at the three great waves of enemies that were almost upon you from yon thither and you're out of bombs and, and...

But, the thing Resogun does so masterfully, is to make the difficulty rewarding rather than frustrating. You won't get nailed by the same enemy every single time, because although they spawn in familiar formations, they don't always spawn in the same pattern. Rather, every time you die you'll have been this close to nailing it. And it doesn't feel like it matters too much that you're playing the same level repeatedly, anyway.

Because of the differing spawn patterns and because you're insanely unlikely to play a level the same way twice, repeating a level doesn't actually make for a very repetitive experience. Then, when you do nail a level, the pay-off is tremendous. It's helped by a stunning, slow-motion animation in which the stage explodes around your ship as it triumphantly escapes the carnage.
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