Resistance: Burning Skies Review
Ultimately, what can be taken away from this is that first person shooters work on the Vita, this just is not the game to showcase that.
Resistance Burning Skies takes place between the first and second games of the series as the Chimera launch their attack on American soil. You begin the game as Tom Riley, a firefighter and seemingly instant alien exterminator as he tries to save his family. You also have a companion, Ellie who does liven up the experience and adds more weight to the story than Tom’s one note goal. Things happen in the game but I never felt any real connection or gravitas towards the events. Initially you are called to handle a fire and then out of nowhere, the Chimera attack. With almost no explanation Tom Riley is able to grab the alien weaponry, operate it and has the skills to lay waste to the oncoming hordes. Unless I missed something, from my understanding you are just a firefighter. As the game progresses, you run across war torn areas, make shift camps, and facilities. There is also a plot involving humans experimenting on trying to control the Chimera. Animated comic style cutscenes occur between chapters and it is somewhat interesting to see the panic, misdirections and wrong decisions made as the Chimera attack, but even these are plagued by bitmapping and jagged screens.
The Resistance series can be defined by two main points; putting you up against daunting odds and weapon variety. Burning Skies accomplishes one but fails as the other. Given the limitations of the handheld, the Chimera come at you in smaller groups; skirmishes never being more than six enemies on screen at once. Things dwindle down to even smaller numbers when the larger creatures attack. Even the smaller spider like aliens and crazed zombie like aliens attack in small manageable groups. It is a far cry from the intensity and pressure that the console versions put on you. They do provide a decent challenge though, rarely missing and able to focus a lot of fire in your direction.
To combat the invaders, there is a good deal of varied weaponry with secondary functions as well. There are returning favorites like the Bullseye with its tag system, the Carbine with its grenade launcher and the shoot through walls Auger. I did miss the Magnum with exploding bullets, but new additions like the shotgun/crossbow combination are effective in their own regard. You are given access to all weapons at all times and each have 6 upgradeable functions with two active at once for each weapon. Upgrades are accomplish by finding Grey Tech across the levels, which look very similar to the Tesseract in the recent Marvel Movies. All weapons have a secondary function which are accomplished via touch screen controls. The touch functions are also used for melee and grenades. Sprinting is accomplished by double tapping the back pad. All in all the touch screen functionality is sufficient; at times I wanted to throw a grenade but ended up firing the secondary weapon mode but majority of the time I did what I wanted. The dual sticks work well and fortunately and positively the brightest spot of the game is that the controls are solid.
The mutliplayer is solid albeit a bit bare bones. There is deathmatch, team deathmatch and survivor. Survivor entails the Chimera team converted the humans to aliens as they kill them leaving just one human alive against all odds. It is a decent diversion, when you are able to get into a match but overall feels like something from last generation. In fact the majority of the game seems like a shooter from the PS2, Xbox days. The graphics for the guns are impressive but the environments and character models lack the detail we are used to in shooters this day or even in other Vita titles. New York is being attacked and there is no real sense of scale or peril. We see a few people running down the street and two or three aliens shooting at them. There are also slight bugs throughout, like aliens clipping through walls, disappearing and reappearing. The sound effects for some weapons are weak, while others are appropriate. At times the score is impressive but it only drops in and out at dramatic moments while the majority of the game is absent of music. I will cut some slack for it being a first generation Vita title, but the game needs some serious polish and work if the series will continue on this handheld.
The Resistance series has waned in popularity and sales throughout the three PS3 games, but there should still be a certain standard for this new iteration to attain to. Resistance 3 is arguably the best in the series and to follow that up with this is a shame. Even though it feels dated, the game works and the six hour campaign has some fun moments, especially with the boss fights. The multiplayer is a pain to get into games but it is at least serviceable when you do. The game also has ridiculously easy platinum trophy if you are collector.Ultimately, what can be taken away from this is that first person shooters work on the Vita, this just is not the game to showcase that.