by Matthew Thompson (Images-Sony/Housemarque; this game’s page can be found here)
Resogun was pretty much the sole reason I would turn my PS4 on early in its life. But it was a damn good reason to do so. Its addictive shooter gameplay was a blast, but at some point along the way I hit a wall in terms of upping my score and the game faded to the background for a while. That is why the recent update and DLC is such a nice addition to the game. It has really given Resogun a shot in the arm and got me back on the horse chasing down that elusive high score and trying to stay ahead of my friends on the leaderboards.
Before I discuss the new Heroes DLC, I want to talk about what the free update will bring to anyone that has the game. Unfortunately the leaderboards have been wiped due to a rebalancing of some of the mechanics. It is hard to gauge all the differences without more time poured into it, but I have noticed a few big changes. For one, Overdrive is not the big score getter it once was. That along with the fact that Phobos weapon has seemingly been nerfed makes that ship a little useless in my eyes. High boost and agility seem to be the way to go and I prefer both of the other ships’ weapons.
Of course, the biggest addition in this update is the new ship editor. With this you can not only customize the look of your ride, but also find the ideal set of attributes and weapons to make a build that suits your playstyle best. I can’t say I’m the most creative when using these types of tools (I made a pretty standard green and black ship), but it is nice to have it exactly the way I want from a skills standpoint.
The good news is the community has already made a ton of wonderful creations. That includes iconic ships like Star Wars’ X-wing and Mass Effect’s Normandy, popular game characters like Sackboy riding Swoop (the new bird character in LBP3) and Ratchet and Clank, and plenty of crazy original creations. You can download any of these into five available create-a-ship slots and play with them anytime. I do think it would be nice to be able tweak stats of downloaded ships. As cool as some of these creations are, many just do not fit my playstyle. But that is a minor issue in what is a really nice free addition to the game. The update also added a local co-op option, but I have not been able to sample that myself.
Now onto the DLC. The Heroes pack contains two new modes. The first is Survival and it has quickly become my favorite mode to play in Resogun. I honestly figured this would be an endless version of Resogun’s Arcade mode, but Housemarque has made enough tweaks here for it to feel like a unique mode of its own. Survival is wave-based and you only get one life. A new day/night cycle and weather system give it a distinct aesthetic while new enemies and power-ups mean there is plenty of things to learn to adapt to this tricky new style of Resogun. There have also been tweaks to the multiplier system (you no longer have to be constantly active to keep it growing) and humans come down on parachutes and no longer have to be brought to escape pods. Simply grabbing enough will grant you some kind of power-up. And I love the new power-ups. There are shields and bombs as well as ones that give you a brief upper hand on enemies by slowing down time or giving you an ultra-powerful weapon along with invincibility. Leveraging these against the wave-ending Sentinels, bosses that will clear the screen when destroyed, is one of the many ways in which strategy plays heavily into Survival. This mode is a total home run and the perfect addition to the base game and I love how its endless nature makes me feel like there isn’t a cap on my scoring potential like the original Arcade campaign.
The second mode, Demolition, is a totally different beast and acts as a nice change of pace from the other options available in Resogun. Here you use small bombs to knock around a “Wrecking Ball” to take out as many obstacles and enemies as possible. But you have no other weapons or abilities at your disposal. After you get your ball going you have to dodge all the stuff flying around the screen while you charge another bomb. There are some power-ups too that when hit by your ball or your bomb add more chaos to the mix, but also help you gain more points. Think stuff like multi-ball and one that gives your bouncing wrecking balls a little more oomph as they pass through. It feels like part Resogun, part brickbreaker (think the old-school Breakout or the PS3’s Shatter) with a dash of pinball thrown in. I don’t like it nearly as much as the more traditional modes in Resogun, but it is still a nice addition to what else is on offer. I also really like how it gives a shorter alternative to the other modes. Once you start shooting for high scores in Arcade you are likely going to be there for 20-30 minutes. Demolition typically takes less than five (at least for someone who doesn’t excel at the mode like myself!). So it is good for when you want to play some Resogun, but only have a few minutes.
If you were ever addicted to Resogun and want a reason to jump back in, the Heroes DLC is a no-brainer. Survival will likely be your new obsession for the next couple weeks. Demolition will probably be a little more divisive, but I found it to be a nice change of pace from the other modes as well as a quicker alternative to the longer-lasting Arcade and Survival modes. Admittedly Resogun isn’t for everyone, but for fans of the game like me this DLC and the new Ship Editor are great ways to freshen up one of 2013’s best games.