Sony Bend Studio's last PSP game wasn't that great. In fact it was awful. But by the simple fact of giving people the option to use auto-target, their latest game Resistance: Retribution plays a bit like a proper console shooter game as it does make use of the face buttons (which emulate the functions of the right analogue pad rather shoddily) less important. Still even though Resistance: Retribution looks like a third person shooter, it is actually more similar to a first person game.
Toggling the up button allows you to switch between auto and manual aim. Most of the time you will likely just ignore them as manual mode is simply too difficult to use (it zooms in a bit). The left button reloads your weapons and pressing the right will cycle through the available weapons. Firing is via the right shoulder button whilst the left shoulder button offers an alternate fire (if available). Sony Bend has also coded in options that will allows you to customise the speed and acceleration somewhat though I think the default setting was perfect. You can also turn off aim assist and auto recentre if you feeling a bit superior. Weapons includes an automatic, rifle, grenades and rocker launcher. No doubt more will be uncovered in the full game.
Auto aiming works well. As enemies enter the area covered by your weapons reticule you can merely press the right shoulder button down to lock on the enemy and let it do the work. At most you will need to run around for cover, kill a bunch of close enemies, switch to the rocker launcher and aim at ranged enemies like giant robots. I was fairly surprised by how intuitive the controls were considering how much I hated the PSP version of Syphon Filter. Here I found the gameplay to be of second nature, so well done to Sony Bend in getting at least the controls right.
The visuals are rather impressive. The frame rate is very smooth and never stuttered despite the number of enemies and special effects. While the grotto is fairly limiting (there is no sense of epic scale in the demo), the graphical details are still incredible. The load time seems to be very quick, not surprising considering I was running the demo from a Memory Stick. Perhaps the only issues of contention I can think of is the lack of anti-aliasing filter, and it doesn't look nearly as pretty as God of War: Chains of Olympus (which I doubt any developer can surpass except maybe Ready at Dawn themselves).
Resistance: Retribution certainly looks good and the gameplay seems to be working fine. In a year where one isn't expecting plenty of quality games, it is one of the few PSP titles (including Dissidia, Disgaea 2 and Patapon 2) I am actually looking forward to.
This impression is based on the demo. Resistance: Retribution is due out this March.