Resogun from developers Housemarque is a high-score shooter and one of the best release titles on the PS4.
When next gen consoles were announced, gamers were treated to some excellent looking games, many with some excellent graphical upgrades, such as Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag and Battlefield 4. As well as some new additions to already existing franchises, such as Infamous: Second Son and the odd new IP in games like Knack.
The standout title though is a relatively small game that showed more about the direction of the PS4 than any AAA title could. The aforementioned games are fine titles, but many of them are essentially slight upgrades on those released on the PS3 and 360. Even the new games, like Knack haven’t set the world on fire and have been poorly received by many corners (unfairly in our opinion). With Resogun though, it shows the new attitude that Sony have and how they are all about bringing great games to the system.
Resogun is essentially their flagship launch title, they wanted it in the hands of everyone who bought the console. They did this by having it as the launch game for PS+ on PS4, the new worlds version of having Alex Kidd in Miracle World as a built in game on the SEGA Master System. Depending on your definition of what they are, this is considered an Indie game, albeit one funded and supported by Sony themselves.
Housemarque have taken a lot of influence from games in the past for this, as Resogun has a little of Defender in it, a bit Geometry Wars and their own previous game Super Stardust. It is a simple to pick up high score shooter, nothing more, nothing less. But what makes it special? Why is it the best game of the launch?
Well it boils down to that simplicity, anyone can pick the game up and play, from your seasoned gamer, to a child or a family member who may dabble with the odd casual game. Thinking back to some of the most popular and successful titles in gaming history, you will notice a common theme. Each of them have really simple mechanics and can be played by anyone from the moment they first start.
Tetris was clear, you moved blocks to create lines and clear them, Pacman, you cleared the level by eating the pellets, Donkey Kong, you reached the top of the level to save the princess. All of these games were clear in their goal, but what kept people coming back was two things.
Yes they were easy to pick up, but to master them required something else, you had to spend time playing them, improving each time you played. Why though? Why did you want to master these games? The answer to that is simple… High Score! It is human nature to want to be the best at something and with high score chasing games, you had that leaderboard, you saw who was better than you the moment your game ended. You had to play again, to beat that person above you.
Resogun has this feeling too. It is simple to pick up and play, moving the ship with the left stick and shooting with the right. If that is all you knew about the game, you could play it, have fun and post a score. Yet the more you play, the deeper you find the game becomes. You have extra abilities, such as bombs, which will clear the level of enemies, or your overdrive, which is a special weapon that will wipe out all in its path. The quicker you kill enemies, the higher score you will get.
It goes further though, maintain a solid pace throughout the game and your multiplier will increase, take too long between an enemy kill and the multiplier will reset. But again there is another level, you can save humans, that once released from their box, can be taken to safety, granting you extra bonuses and points. Save them all and get an end of level bonus.
Humans are released by shooting special enemy types known as Keepers. Once these are killed the human is released and you can save them. Yet it isn’t that simple all the time. Some Keepers need to be shot in a specific order, others will only appear upon reaching a certain multiplier level. Even when they are released you need to manage them, as they can be abducted at any moment. There is a huge risk vs reward mechanic here, do you save the human and risk losing your multiplier? Or do keep the multiplier going and save the human? Can you manage to do both?
This is a game that keeps you on the edge, but physically and mentally. You need quick reactions to stay alive, but also need to be thinking quickly to manage all the elements on the screen at once. With 5 levels on each difficulty and a co-op mode included, there is plenty to keep you going and the increase in difficulty between rookie and Master (let alone Hero) is staggering. Master one and you’ll find the next difficulty is like learning things all over again.
To be the best, you need to spend hours upon hours with Resogun, but as we said, it doesn’t need you to be the best to enjoy, it can be played at a very basic level and it is one the first games in a very long time to nail that same feeling a Tetris or a Donkey Kong could. If it was in the arcades, you’d be throwing fifty pence pieces into the machine at a rate of knots.
We have come full circle in gaming. When Sony introduced the Playstation and with it the jump into 3D graphics, certain types of games were left behind and forgotten about for a while. Over the last couple of years though, these games are making a comeback and are using the extra power of next gen to enhance the best game mechanics out there and just making them look amazing.
Aside from being a wonderful game to play, the visual and audio side is mind blowing. It is a 2D shooter, but the particle effects when enemies are killed, or when a level ends look wonderful and after a while your eyes will feel like they are bleeding. The colour, the sounds, the effects are amazing and in all honesty wouldn’t have been possible on previous generations of machines. The mechanics may be the same, but boy, are they enhanced for the better now by creating an audio, visual experience that the games deserve.
Resogun is free on PS+ and is that good, that you feel like you are ripping off Housemarque, that they should be getting your money for this. You shouldn’t be playing this game for free! If you are one of the few who hasn’t got PS+ you can still buy the game and trust us when we say £12.99 on Resogun is money better spent than on any other title at launch.