I could pretty easily make the argument that Resogun is still one of the best games available on the PlayStation 4. Its visual style is superb, the music is catchy and fun, it plays well, and it’s appealing to many types of gamers. With that in mind, and remembering back to how good the first expansion pack was, it was with an easy smile that I dove right in to the second add-on, Resogun: Defenders.
Before we really dig into the details, it’s worth noting that a sizable update for Resogun went live just before Defenders was released, and all of the content included in that update is free for everyone, whether you’ve purchased any DLC or not.
This content includes a new ship management and selection UI, new menus for accessing all the single-player modes, and a new leveling system that adds a bit of progression across all fronts of Resogun. Finally, the much-loved photo mode has been added, allowing you to pause the game, zoom in on the action, and use the PS4’s screenshot capability to capture stills of whatever you please.
Although not a part of the Defenders expansion, the new leveling system is definitely worth talking about. It’s a system based on CP (challenge points) that starts you at level 1 and progresses based on pre-set tasks you complete in each mode. You don’t get CP for just killing enemies and completing any stage but there are so many objectives that net you points toward your next level, you’ll stumble across them without even trying. These objectives are broken into two categories, Challenges and Feats.
Challenges are very specific objectives that can be attempted right from the menu, and while some of them are quite difficult, the payout is worth it if you can come out on top. Feats are more long-term tasks that can be accomplished passively by just playing the game. Granted, some of them are mode/ship specific but I racked up quite a few of them by just playing the modes I wanted to play without worrying about them.
Once you go behind the paywall of the Defenders add-on, you’ll find two new modes to play with, Protector and Commando. Protector (seen just below) is a very unique mode that has you building new cities on the planet by rescuing humans. This mode is all about progression and Housemarque did a wonderful job adding new abilities and spacing out the advancement so it feels just right.
You start out with very modest ship abilities and it only takes a few saved humans to complete you first city. Every time you bring back new humans, you’re rewarded with new ship abilities or level enhancements. Some of this we’ve seen before, such as shields and the restoration of bridges in the level, but several of them are brand new, such as a super boost that allows you to plow through enemies for a prolonged period of time and at much faster speeds than the normal boost. There’s also an upgraded overdrive with more power, greater range, and a prolonged duration.
One of the things that really makes protector mode great is the upgrade to how many humans you can carry at once. It starts at just one but increases with your progression, which is nice because the cities require more and more humans to build as each game moves forward. Then there’s also a teleport ability, which lets you immediately send any humans you’re carrying to the city you’re constructing, without having to manually deliver them to the pad at the front of the city.
If you’re thinking this all sounds like a variation of what we already know and love about Resogun, you’re partially right, but it really goes further than that. It’s not just rescuing humans in the Protector mode but it’s also repelling large ships that come in and try to destroy each city. And then there’s the volcano, which appears after the successful construction of each city and rains down lava rocks on your head. And all that is aside from the mix of old and new enemy types that constantly fill up the screen while questing for your demise. It’s such a varied combination of objectives and enemies and it all works together very well.
The other new mode, Commando (seen just above) is something truly different. You control a surviving human on the ground as he protects a house from falling rocks and enemies. He’s given his own upgrades, such as a very powerful machine gun, speed increases, bombs, and a temporary shield for the house. There are also new enemy types that seem to be exclusive to this mode. I enjoyed my time with Commando and I love his hollywood-style action hero theme, but it feels like too much of a departure from the standard formula to enjoy for the long term.
Like the previous modes, both new game types have co-op available, and Commando even has its own competitive option. The co-op works well in both modes and the cooperative effort was very necessary and very fun while playing the Commando mode, but the competitive multiplayer was a bit of a letdown. You’re tasked with either killing your opponent or blowing up his house. If you choose the former, the game devolves into just shooting and jumping. If you choose the latter, a good bit of platforming is necessary to grab explosives, and the platforming itself just doesn’t feel very good.
After spending a good amount of time with Resogun: Defenders, I walked away completely satisfied with what I got for the money. Although the Commando mode wasn’t much more than a distraction, and the competitive multiplayer that came along with it didn’t impress, the Protector mode and the co-op across both modes made it worthwhile by itself. The way Protector advances as you play just feels great, and its finely tuned difficulty makes it easy to dig into but difficult to master. Overall, Defenders is an easy recommendation for anyone who already owns and enjoys Resogun.