Review: RESOGUN Defenders (DLC)

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Title: RESOGUN Defenders
Format: PlayStation Network Download (836 MB)
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Housemarque
Original MSRP: $4.99 (Single DLC) / $7.99 (Season Pass)
ESRB Rating: E10+
RESOGUN Defenders is exclusive to PlayStation 4.
The PlayStation Network download version was used for this review.
A copy of this DLC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Review of the Original Game:
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Gameplay:
RESOGUN. I love it. Glenn loves it – he gave it a 9/10 when it came out. You love it – the community voted it highly in several categories in the 2013 Golden Minecarts. I’m sure even the developers at Housemarque love it which is why they’re releasing new content in the form of patches and DLC. RESOGUN Defenders is the latest DLC for the game, adding in two new single-player modes and three multiplayer modes as well as a little content related to the most recent patch.

Much like the first DLC, RESOGUN Heroes, Defenders includes one fairly standard RESOGUN mode, Protector, and one non-standard mode, Commando. In fact, Protector mode is very similar to the Survival mode added in the Heroes DLC. And that’s probably the biggest complaint I have about the mode because honestly, it’s more RESOGUN.

… In Commando Mode the player is the human …

As the similarity suggests, Protector is an endless mode using relatively normal RESOGUN rules. The game flow is similar: pick up humans and deposit them to save them. In this case, depositing humans will build up three buildings in the background of a level. Complete all three buildings and the background will “flip” and there will be three new buildings to build with an increasing number of humans required to build them. Of course, the enemies don’t make this job easy. Protectors includes some new enemies out for your head, including a new boss-like enemy the City Destroyer. Every so often, a City Destroyer will attack the buildings and try to destroy them, obviously. If you don’t manage to defeat them in time, the building will have to be rebuilt.

There are some new powerups to help out. Super Boost and Super Overdrive both give a one-time increase to the power and length of those abilities. There’s also a token that allows the ship to carry more humans which is helpful because of the way the mode can swamp the screen with humans. Protector mode is just as much of a blast as anything else in RESOGUN and the new enemies and powerups help breathe some new life into the game.

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But that’s not all. The other new mode is Commando where this time, instead of playing as the ship saving humans, the player is the human. The commando has access to a gun that he can fire in any direction (using the right analog stick) and a few abilities: jump, dash, and bomb, and must defend his house from an onslaught of meteors and other enemies which rain down on the house in waves. There are twenty waves, each with a set enemy pattern, but some enemies drop random powerups to help keep things fresh.

Also, Commando is hard. By myself I was never able to pass Wave seven or eight and even doing co-op (more on that in a bit), my current record is Wave sixteen. I only know that the mode ends because of research. Of course the mode is scored with online leaderboards so anyone who has the skills to beat it can try their hand at increasing their rank. And much like the base RESOGUN game, there seems to be many secrets to exploit that can greatly increase one’s score. Glenn, who I did some co-op with, commented that Commando mode could easily be sold as $5 game on its own and I definitely agree with that. The mode is awesome.

… custom ships can be used in the Protector mode …

The patch that hit alongside Defenders added a leveling up system through a feat system and some challenges. Feats are essentially skill points, gaining the player experience points for things like getting a certain number of kills. Challenges offer a spin on normal RESOGUN modes. For example, one of the Challenges limits your ability to move by forcing you to go only to the right. The RESOGUN Defenders DLC adds some Defenders specific feats and challenges, just to give a little extra bang for that buck.

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Visuals:
The DLC of course looks pretty similar to the base RESOGUN game. The voxel graphics look wonderful on the PS4. I had a small problem in the base game with one or two enemies blending into the background but I didn’t really have any issues with either of these modes so that is a huge plus. For those who haven’t touched the game since launch, Housemarque added a ship editor in a patch and those custom ships can be used in the Protector mode.

If I had one complaint about the visuals in the DLC it would be that I didn’t see any way to differentiate two human characters when playing co-op Commando mode or the Battle mode. This lead to one or two situations where I was unable to tell which human I was controlling and which was my partner/enemy.

… Battle mode introduces a few new powerups …

Audio:
RESOGUN has great music and Defenders adds some more high quality to the mix. There are some new tracks for both Protector mode and Commando mode and they’re both great additions to the RESOGUN soundtrack.

Housemarque’s famous female announcer still comes through the PS4’s speaker at key moments while playing such as when a human is in danger or when a City Destroyer has appeared, and of course to remind you to “save the last human” in Protector mode. The commando in Commando mode is also voiced and it is probably the best part of the audio in the DLC. The commando yells out things like “My house!!” and “What the hell is that!?” but all in a hilarious Arnold Schwarzenegger accent that Glenn and I couldn’t help but mimic in party chat.

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Online/Multiplayer:
Both of the new modes can be played in co-op mode either online or on the couch. Neither mode seems to adjust for two players though, so playing co-op does decrease the difficulty a little bit as each player only has to deal with half as many enemies. But considering how hard Commando is on its own, co-op in that mode is still one tough cookie. Lag-wise, even when I had what the game considered a poor connection with a random player, it didn’t seem to suffer at all.

The DLC also adds a Battle mode. Essentially this is a versus version of the Commando mode where both players are playing as the human trying to defend their home. To win, they must either kill their opponent a set number of times or have the other player’s house destroyed. To that end, Battle mode introduces a few new powerups. One of them causes some meteors to fall on the other player’s house for example. But the main way to damage the opponent’s house is with a dynamite pickup. Get the dynamite and walk it to their house to score some major damage. The catch is that a player who is holding the dynamite can’t shoot their gun and if they get hit, they drop it.

The mode is pretty interesting, and kinda reminds me of the back-and-forth one might see in a game like Nidhogg. On the whole though, I wasn’t a huge fan of the mode. While the dynamite always spawns equidistant from each house, powerups spawn randomly. One foe, who already had the upper hand on me, had two powerups drop near him in a row essentially handing him the rest of that match.

Conclusion:
Anyone who enjoyed the base RESOGUN game should enjoy these new modes. Commando is just awesome, a great spin on the base game. And even if Protector mode is “more of the same,” that same is already great. It’s more effing RESOGUN! Need I say more?

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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