Resogun - Review

Author: Mattia "Zave" Ravanelli
Date: 2020-07-30 23:56:33
Kaalilaatikkoche is a delicacy consisting of eggs, minced meat, cabbage and milk, all cooked in the oven, as well as Patakukko (fish and bacon on a crust of bread) or Sikka, raw salmon kept in salt. But the Finnish national dish, for gamers all over the world and not just for instance in Helsinki and its surroundings, is mainly retro. Served for free through the millions of tables in the PlayStation + restaurant, it is accompanied by a condiment based on blazing lights and a chopped particle that is unrivaled. Because this is Resogun, the umpteenth jewel signed by the Nordic team of Housemarque, the same already responsible for Super Stardust HD (PlayStation 3) and Super Stardust Delta (PSVita), in addition to the essential Outland (PS3 and Xbox 360).

If you have a PlayStation 4 you have to download Resogun, all the more considering that, as anticipated, it is offered in "free" form (quotation marks) to the subscribers of the PlayStation + service. Especially since it is one of the best games available today for the new Sony flagship and, in general, a splendid piece of video game, capable of combining the essentiality of the shooters-with-spaceships of a bygone era, with the power and the technological style of today. But there would be no bombastic explosion or number of enemies (aka polygons) on the screen that would keep, if the idea behind Resogun was not effective, a problem that thanks to the class and experience of Housemarque no one finds himself having to face.

Put aside the spherical planets of Super Stardust HD, the team conceived a new / old shoot'em up with a frantic rhythm and a hypnotic grip. Impossible not to fall into the vortex of Resogun, capable as it is of combining the typical immediacy of the genre, an enviable depth, which rests its feet on a few but very effective rules, which in turn wink again at the remote past of video games ( a warm greeting to Defender, vintage 1980). The five levels of which Resogun is composed are organized in a circular way, as if it rotated horizontally around a tube, without ever having to worry about going into or away from its "heart", but simply continuing to blast (yes, the I wrote for real) everything that moves, in an ideally eternal movement, in which the head and tail of the level coincide seamlessly.

But it is only an ideally eternal movement, because each level is characterized by phases that sanction its start and end, accompanied by the usual (and spectacular and passionate and intelligent) challenge with the final boss. What matters, however, is all that intervenes between the first blow exploded and the last particle of the boss sent to the creator. Like the best video games, Resogun manages to propose itself at different levels: there are those who, just starting out, will simply aim to stay alive, after choosing one of the three available spaceships (well diversified in terms of power and speed), who will try to raise the multiplier beyond belief and who, finally, glimpsed the matrix and completely lost in its code, will aim for the perfect result. A potentially stratospheric number generated by the killed enemies, by a multiplier never "lost" on the street (I will explain shortly), by the rescue of all humans (ditto) and by the use of zero smart bombs. All of this, of course, without ever losing a single life.

The management of the multiplier is precisely one of the most galvanizing, effective and successful aspects of Resogun, which is no small thing considering the genus of belonging of the last born in the Housemarque house. The more enemies you hit, the more the multiplier goes up, but if you do not detonate any felon for a little more than a couple of seconds, you risk painfully resetting the magic number. A mechanic that puts a total frenzy on the player, constantly looking for new swarms of enemy robots / drones / flying capsules, perhaps carried out using the turbo to move quickly to another area of the level. But be careful: the turbo is not always available, after each sprint you have to wait a few seconds for the bar to reload. Turbo which, moreover (and according to Super Stardust-iana tradition), can be used as a means of attack, since it makes the player momentarily invincible and ends with a small but lethal explosion that brings with it everything that surrounds the spaceship protagonist.

What about humans? Here is Resogun's elementary but fascinating stroke of genius. Each level is anticipated by the game's only formal request: "Save the last humans". Poor green pixel-ant creatures suffer the shame and drama of segregation inside cages that can be shattered destroying waves of particular enemies, called "keeper". Resogun trusts the player, his desire to discover and experiment, so he tells him practically nothing. We start the first game and we are only aware of the fact that there are these cages and that, at a certain point, different enemies (marked by a green glow) appear announced by an off-screen voice. After their destruction, the human can exit the cage, but must be reached, collected (before a tractor beam hurled by the most classic of UFOs does) and brought safely to one of the flying bases that orbit around the top of the level.

Easy right? I miss for nothing. Also because then there are the keeper who must be killed in the right sequence and even the very mysterious humans who manage to escape on their own (it's not true, it's all tied to the multiplier active at a given moment) or who die just as mysteriously in their cage (see previous parenthesis). In short, Resogun is made of small and subtle unspoken rules, which make the exploration of its mechanics more fascinating and engaging. There are those who, around the world, have experienced this badly, accustomed as it is to the titles that pitilessly feed the player. Yet this is precisely one of Resogun's most successful ideas, its ability to create an aura of mystery, to be solved by chatting with other fans, a bit like in that masterpiece that responds to the name of Fez.

To complete the package there is an online cooperative mode, the possibility to choose between four difficulty levels, trophies conceived with the same intelligence that pervades the whole game and of course the exciting climb to the leaderboards. The control system is practically perfect, the only criticizable aspects of Resogun are resolved in the rather reduced upgrades for the main weapon (but, if desired, it is a choice that matches the desire for essentiality of the game) and in the actually rather poor number of levels available.

I played Resogun thanks to my very own PlayStation + subscription, completing the five levels on the Beginner difficulty, but dedicating practically all my time to the Expert level. My current record in this category is 18,492,900 points. But the final goal is far from being achieved.