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EGM Review: Resogun Heroes

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Posted on July 2, 2014 AT 04:20pm

Game Box Hero

Sometimes, a game that that one singular release is all it takes for you to respect its creator. For me, that was the case with Finnish developer Housemarque and their 2007 PlayStation 3 release Super Stardust HD. On the surface, the game seemed like a take on the classic Asteroids with fancier graphics. Once I actually played it, I came to realize it was so much more: a modern twist on the arcade shooters of old, one displaying  an unbelievable level of depth and gameplay polish. Through the base release itself and some smartly thought-out DLC releases, Super Stardust HD became one of the must-own downloadable titles for Sony’s previous-generation console.

When I found out that Hoursemarque’s first PlayStation 4 project would be another attempt to re-imagine retro arcade shooters—this time, side-scrollers such as the Williams Electronics classic Defender—that’s all I needed to hear to get excited. Resogun ended up becoming one of the first free games Sony offered for their new console via its PlayStation Plus service, and for all of us who have felt like total freeloaders for getting such a great game for so little cost, there’s finally a way to kick a little cash back to the folks who have worked so hard on its development: Resogun Heroes.

Guilt isn’t the only reason to pick up this first major DLC for Resogun, however: There’s also the fact that it gives you access to two new gameplay modes that are more than worth the meager price tag Heroes carries. The first of those is Demolition, which hearkens back to Super Stardust’s Bomber Mode by giving players one life and only one means of attack: an infinite supply of rechargeable bombs. The catch here is that there’s also a new item called the Wrecking Ball, and you can use a well-timed bomb explosion to send the sphere soaring around the stage, taking out anything in its path. Because your bombs take a while to recharge, you’ll often be left helpless unless you stay near the Wrecking Ball and its path—of course, one downside to that plan is that it can destroy you just as easily as it can your enemies as it loops back around the playfield.

Demolition is kind of a like a shooter-based take on Taito’s brick-breaking game Arkanoid (which was a take on Atari’s Breakout), especially when you snag a few power-ups that let you have multiple orbs of doom flying in all directions. I really appreciate how Housemarque takes chances on modes like these, counterbalancing the more “standard” gameplay ideas with ones that you may never have expected. Demolition is hard to consider in the more traditional sense of a score-attack scenario due to how much change and blind luck there can be at times. That’s OK, though—this is the kind of thing you play when you want a break from the norm.

That said, Demolition is actually my least favorite of Heroes’ two new offerings—but that’s more a statement on how much I love its companion mode, Survival, and less a comment on its quality. Survival was one of my favorite additions to Super Stardust HD, and I’m almost ready to say that I like Regosun’s take on the idea even more. Once again with only one life to live, you’re tasked with seeing how long you can survive the DLC’s new world, Avernus, in order to snag the highest score possible. Assisting you in that task this time are those little green humans from Resogun’s core game, who now parachute from the top of the screen instead of being held captive in the background. Collect enough,, and you’ll earn power-ups, which range from old standards like weapon upgrades, additional bombs, and shields to new inclusions like slowing down time or sending your weapons into overload temporarily. Survival brings some visual elements never before seen in Resogun, such as day/night cycles and weather effects, and as you’re able to survive for longer and the days tick away, the mode really ramps up in difficulty. There’s a lot going on in Survival, but it never feels overwhelming—instead coming across as just the right blend of control versus chaos, resulting in what is now probably my favorite gameplay experience in all of Regosun, period.

Resogun Heroes comes on the heels of a free update that already added a ton of great new features and options to the game (such as local co-op, better leaderboard options, and a totally unexpected option for creating, sharing, and downloading custom ship designs), and between that content and this new DLC, Resogun has really blossomed into what is easily one of the best gaming experiences on the PS4. I would tell you that Resogun Heroes is easily worth its $4.99 asking price, but I’m going to tell you not to do that—because, instead, you can pick up the game’s season pass for $3 more, netting you not only Heroes but future expansions as well.

Seeing how much variety and longevity Housemarque has packed into the two simple modes of Resogun Heroes, I can say that your wanting those future DLC releases is a pretty safe bet.

Developer: Housemarque • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment • ESRB: E10+ • Release Date: 06.24.2014
9.0

Resogun Heroes expands upon the core game’s already fantastic offerings with two highly enjoyable new modes that offer fans some interesting twists on Housemarque’s side-scrolling PS4 shooter.

The Good Two highly enjoyable new modes that make one of the best PS4 games even better.
The Bad The top score in Survival is currently 2.1 billion – how am I supposed to get anywhere near that?!
The Ugly The amount of times I’ve gotten killed in Survival due to being stingy about using my bombs or overdrive.
Resogun Heroes is available exclusively on PlayStation 4. Review code was provided by Sony Computer Entertainment for the benefit of this review.
Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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