Resistance: Burning Skies - Review

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Release Date: 31/05/2012

Resistance: Burning Skies on PlayStation Vita

First First Person Shooter

Of all the many, many hardware features of PlayStation Vita, it's always been obvious which one is the biggest deal to gamers: dual analogue controllers. The lack of a second stick was the major problem with Sony's original PSP, meaning that while the game's looked as good as their console counterparts, in many cases they could not - by design - play as well.

Now, what's the most popular genre in console gaming? The FPS. And what's the one genre that neither PSP nor any other handheld console has ever been able to deliver convincingly? You guessed it. But all that changes with Vita, and its first full-fat, no compromises shooter is Resistance: Burning Skies.

The Resistance series, as you may know, is best known for Insomniac's trio of sci-fi, alternate-history titles on PlayStation 3. Its Vita debut has been handled by a different team, Nihilistic, but finds itself in the familiar setting of '50s North America, as alien forces launch a vicious assault on the east coast.

Resistance: Burning Skies on PlayStation Vita

Life of Riley

This time you play as Tom Riley, a firefighter caught in the crossfire, whose wife and daughter are captured by the Chimera. So, not only are you fighting to save the lives of your fellow citizens, you're also desperately searching for your family and... Actually, to be brutally honest, you won't really give a monkey's. The narrative is all-too forgettable, and, anyway,you're here for the weapons, not the sob story.

Weapons are what Resistance has always done best. Here, the excellent weapon wheel returns, offering eight firearms, each with a secondary fire option and each with six upgrades to unlock, two of which can be applied at any given time.

The basic run-and-gun controls work well - Vita was designed for this type of game after all. Secondary fire, meanwhile, is handled by the touch screen. When using Bullseye, you can tag an enemy with a touch and your bullets are laser-guided towards it. And with Auger, swiping two fingers apart on the screen deploys a shield.

Touch mostly works well, with fewer of the gimmicks that blighted Uncharted's Vita instalment. Run, for example, is deftly handled by a double-tap of the rear pad, while grenades can be dragged from a fixed panel and targeted precisely. The one big blunder is in needlessly requiring touch to open doors - a silly decision that means you'll accidentally let loose weapons as often as actually doing the thing you want to.

Resistance: Burning Skies on PlayStation Vita

Red Sky At Night...

While the mechanics are solid, what lets Burning Skies down is the experience as a whole - particularly in single-player. An FPS that plays like an FPS might be a novelty on a handheld, but given the power of Vita's hardware we should be expecting experiences on a par with what we're used to on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Sadly, uninspired level design, illogical AI, repeated technical glitches and a disappointing lack of atmosphere result in a six-hour experience that has its moments, but is mostly unsatisfying and short on what gamers would be hoping for.

What rescues the package is multiplayer. Features are limited. There's three modes - Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Survival - for up to eight players simultaneously. But, crucially, it works. There's no discernible lag, you get much more use out of the weapons against human opponents and - let's not beat around the bush - you've never been able to do this before on a handheld.

Burning Skies is some distance from being the definitive handheld shooter. It's too rough around the edges with too little attention given to delivering the quality gamers would expect from elite home console shooters.

But as the first ever proper portable FPS, there's still fun to be had in the bath or on the bus, sniping and shooting friends and enemies. And more to the point, it proves the format works on Vita, which means a truly amazing handheld shooter should be just a matter of time.

GAME's Verdict:

The Good

  • A proper FPS on handheld
  • Multiplayer is lag-free
  • Decent touch controls

The Bad

  • Poor enemy AI
  • Technical glitches
  • Limited online features
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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.

Genre

Shooter

Customer Rating:

No rating yet

SKU:

Reviews-183603
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