Old-school arcade action spruced up with next-gen graphics makes for the best PS4 title so far
There are a lot of words you could use to describe Resogun: hectic, mad or exhilarating, but in my opinion, if you really wanted a quote for the box, it would have to be ‘moreish’. Just one more go. Just one more go. Start, die, repeat, Start, die, repeat. It’s the kind of game that you pick up for a five-minute blast and before you know it you’ve lost three hours. Or in my case, three whole months.
Reminiscent of bullet-hell games like Geometry Wars, Galaga, and its biggest influence: arcade-classic Defender, Resogun sees you lay waste to thousands of enemies over five levels. What’s that I hear you say? “Only five levels! How can it last three days let alone three months!?” Well you’re right, it can be completed from start to finish in about 45 minutes. But much like stuffing a quarter-pounder with cheese meal from McDonald’s into your face, it’s the kind of short-lived bliss that you will come back to again and again (only without the carbs).
Resogun hooked me in within 30 seconds of playing. From the start I already know everything I need to play the game – fly around and shoot bad guys. It’s the kind of simple game design that led to the golden age of arcade gaming. Timeless. But then it creates this impulsive desire to improve. I’m not usually one to go for the high score (although that’s there as well), but the design of the game means that as soon as I die, I just have to start again to prove I am better.
Here’s how it does it. Enemies move in strict formations around the player, meaning that after few failed attempts I can begin to predict enemy patterns and pre-emptively strike. The brilliance of this means that after the initial difficulty curve it isn’t about beating the game, it becomes about beating myself. I knew that those enemies were coming in from the left yet I still didn’t move out of the way. What’s wrong? Are they moving too fast? Is the music too loud? Nope, I’m just shit. I’ll be staring at that Game Over screen and have no one to blame but myself, am I just gonna accept defeat and walk away? Not a chance.
Resogun is as straightforward as they come for picking up and playing, but by no means is it that easy to get good at. Juggling smart bombs, boost, Overdrive, and the multiplier while avoiding the enemy swarms and rescuing the ten humans per level. It’s mad. ‘Easy to learn, hard to master’, as they say, and therein lies the reason I keep coming back.
The other massive attraction is just how lovely it all looks. Resogun is a technical marvel and showpiece in game design. Sporting the ever-elusive 1080p and 60fps, its showcase is in its ‘voxels’ – 3D building blocks that make up the levels (as opposed to two-dimensional pixels). There are up to a quarter of a million of these things on screen at once and watching them cascade around you as enemies and environments deteriorate in realtime just screams ‘next-gen’.
The exhilaration of everything on screen hooks you in and the desire to get better keeps you coming back. It’s instant gratification coupled with long-term ambition, and it makes for the most addicting game not just on the PS4, but in recent memory.
There just aren’t many games that can hold my attention like Resogun does. Or, rather, there are far too many games that demand so much of me to get any enjoyment out of them. With the death of Score Attack games and arcade cabinets, all we have left are AAA blockbusters and long-winding Indie downloadables that insist we commit at least an hour of our time for any understanding of what’s going on. A level in Resogun takes about ten minutes to complete, with no introductory fluff or handholding. Short, sweet, and to the point, the way it doesn’t hold my time at ransom makes it so easy for me to give it up.
Resogun is proof that you don’t need a 100-hour campaign to keep me playing for 100 hours. Give me a solid hour’s worth of entertainment and I’ll just come back 100 times. Lightning-fast twitch gameplay coupled with eye-popping graphics and thumping soundtrack. It’s a winning formula.
There’s no DLC as of yet (although there’s some in the pipeline) but it’s a game that doesn’t need DLC. You finish Resogun when you can’t get any better, and that will never happen. Even if you’re not a high score hunter, it’s simply a blast to play again and again. With March on the horizon, with inFamous, Metal Gear Solid, and Thief all dying for my attention, there is always time for the odd game of Resogun. There’s always time for just one more go…
Images: Imgur, Sony computer entertainment