Outside of the arcades around my hometown, you would rarely find me playing a shoot ‘em up. I felt that type of game was meant to be played on an arcade cabinet; it was part of the atmosphere that I couldn’t find in the comfort of my home. It’s not that fun and entertainment couldn’t be attained with a controller or keyboard; I just really preferred the experience they provided in the arcade. Due to all of this, several years later, you still wouldn’t find me ever playing a game in this genre. That is, until the PlayStation 4 launch title Resogun. This game, while it looked interesting, wasn’t a game I was eagerly anticipating to play upon the purchase of my PS4. But since I had PlayStation Plus, it was the ever-so-enticing price of free! So, I gave it a download and jumped into a territory I hadn’t visited in quite some time.
Resogun’s story is simple; “save the last humans,” but the way you go about this “simple” task is anything but. Commandeering one of three possible ships — all with varying speed and attack stats — around a side-scrolling, circular plane, you’ll fend off a horde of sentient ships and save the innocent humans of the area. In each of the five levels, there are three phases which slightly increase in difficulty as your progress. After the enemy has been dealt with in each level, you’ll face a rather large boss, all with varying attacks and movements not found in the enemies you previously faced. To name a few, some will barrage you with bullets, bum-rush you or be a slow-moving tank with weak spots. It’s a solid setup, and, even after my full playthrough (took around an hour and a half), it was a joy to come back to. With this being a shmup, after all, much of the motivation lies in the need to achieve a higher score. And, because the game’s five levels, loads of enemy types and unique bosses were all so much fun to experience, multiple playthroughs rarely get stale when shooting for that high score. If you turn up the difficulty, gameplay speeds up a bit, more enemy ships surface and even higher scores are attainable. Throw in the excellent online co-op, and you have a lean, mean, super replayable machine!
Amongst your ship’s standard beam cannons, there are some highly unique and stellar ways to go about dispatching your enemies. Overdrive is definitely my favorite, due to the ability to emit a massive, pulsing energy beam across the 2-D plane, causing mass destruction and a hefty boost to your combat multiplier, which, in return, increases your score. However, you can only use it when the green bar located underneath your ship is filled by collecting the green particles left from vanquished enemies. You also have the field-clearing bombs and your deadly boost. Yes, I said deadly. With your boost you can actually smash into oncoming ships without being punished. In fact, each ship impact fills you’re boost gauge (located above your ship) up bit-by-bit. Another cool thing about boost is that, after you let off of it, a blue field radiates off of your ship which does an area-of-effect attack to enemies around you. Power-ups can also be found around the playing field from time to time that will slightly improve one of your abilities. This slight improvement always keeps you up to par with the enemies and you shouldn’t feel overpowered. The game stays balanced throughout.
In between your dogfights, you also must save the humans captured in little square containment pens around the level. The funny thing is that you can’t just blast them open and take them to the safety zones of the level. You have to wait for a group of ships surrounded in a green aura called “Keepers” to appear. Their sole purpose is to lay waste to the humans, so they wont come guns blazing after you, but they’re still a threat to your cause. If you fail to destroy them quickly enough, the human gets killed, which drops the chance of attaining the max score. When you do demolish the Keepers, a green orb opens up their pen, allowing you to snag them up and take them to the safe zones in the level. Something I found hilarious, and even helpful, was the ability to actually bounce up the free human by shooting them, allowing for a skillful-looking drive by snatch up. If you just can’t quite make it to the safe zone, you have the ability to throw the human into the area. It’s dangerous, but, boy, is it handy. I love the way Housemarque went about developing the overall rescue mechanic. It keeps things intense and challenging, even on the lower difficulties.
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