Posted on June 3, 2012 AT 02:25pm
You would’ve figured that by now, after 3-4 months of release, there would already be a franchise trying out the new dual analogs on the Vita to see if we can finally get a true FPS on the go. Well happily there finally is with Resistance Burning Skies but is it everything we could have hoped for? If you’re a Resistance fan, no. If you’re just looking for an FPS on the go, it kind of does the job. Burning Skies is such a mixed bag it’s hard to recommend. Everything it does right manages to get pushed back with everything that’s wrong and sadly there’s more wrong then right.
Let’s start off with the story (which most Resistance fans will be truly disappointed with). Your name is Tom Riley. A New York firefighter going on another job to save civilians only to get put right into the action of the first North American attack by the Chimera. During the attack you lose the location of your wife and daughter, who happen to get kidnapped by the Chimera later on, and you team up with a freedom fighter named Ellie to take out the Chimera. Why? No idea. You just end up together to find Riley’s wife and daughter and that’s it. There’s no back story to any of these characters and you never get to really know Riley. By the time a main scene in the game comes up, there’s no emotional attachment to him that regardless of how bad it is (which it is bad) you really don’t care. The scene happens and you move on.
All the characters are so underdeveloped, you begin to think if Nihilistic Software just made the game for the sake of making the first FPS on the Vita or had the thought process that no one plays Resistance for the story but only for shooting bad guys with semi-cool guns. Either way, they showed at the end of the game just how useless and a waste of time the Burning Skies story is. If you’ve played the Resistance franchise, you know what happens to New York by the time you get to 3. After playing Burning Skies, you’ll literally think to yourself, “What was the point of all this? Riley does absolutely nothing to help New York in the long run”. While it’s completely noble of Riley to kill the Chimera and carry people out of any burning situation, what he does is truly irrelevant to the overall Resistance story.
As any Resistance game, there are a lot of Chimera to kill. The first-person controls on the Vita do happen to work well for Burning Skies. Utilizing both analogs to move and shoot do as advertised without much of a complaint. There is a cover system, which is used by pressing circle behind any big objects, and you can pop in-and-out of cover when you need to. I like to play my shooters with low sensitivity and I would mostly recommend it unless you like the quick movements. Just be sure to play around with the settings so you get the right feeling because due to the small analog, it will go faster than your expecting.
Due to the lack of buttons on the Vita, most notably the subtraction of an extra L&R bumper, melee and grenade tossing have been subjected to the front touch screen. While it works well, and the game will be sure to make you use that touchscreen at any time, the area they’re placed in isn’t a good one. The melee button is to the left but right next to the left analog. I’ve had instances where I’m in the middle of a firefight against the Chimera, only to have my huge thumb accidently tap the melee button when aiming just to see my character swing an axe at nothing. This was the cause of some deaths or close deaths and became annoying at times. You’ll also throw grenades, which is just above the melee button but not in such an awkward spot, by tapping and dragging the grenade to the location you want it tossed.
Aside from melee and grenade throwing, you’ll also use all the weapons secondary fires with the use of the touchscreen (eight in total). Some of the secondary options for weapons like the Carbine, Bullseye, or the Sw.A.R.M will have you tapping or swiping on the enemies you want to fire at. However with the Mauler, Auger, and Mule; you’ll need tap and swipe a specific direction to activate the guns secondary. In the middle of a firefight, this can be quite annoying but not as annoying as opening a door or picking up an object, which has to be done by touching the screen, and accidently using one of the guns secondary fires. Not only do you waste the secondary, but you get to eat whatever explosion to the face it gives you.
The rear touchpad is used but only for running which is done by holding up on the left stick and tapping the touchpad twice. It actually doesn’t work all that well and you’ll be able to get comfortable pressing the d-pad down while holding up on the left stick as the easier solution.
Playing the game on normal, it would seem like the AI was there so you can play around with the touchscreen options and see how cool it is to kill them with something like the Bullseye. If you don’t know what the Bullseye does; you get into cover, look up to see where your enemy is, tap on him to activate the secondary, go back into cover, and just fire the gun until he’s dead. The gun sends a direct line to your enemy in which the bullets will travel regardless of where you are or what you’re looking at. Pretty cool but cheap huh? Even big bosses like to eat these secondary fires and become fairly easy to defeat (aside from the last boss)
The further you get into the game though, it does get harder and at times frustrating. The Chimera start to flank or just become so overwhelming that you’ll miss someone and they’ll end up shooting you right in the back and directly next to you while your focused on someone else. In areas where I died, the games poor checkpoint system would help with any frustrations you may already have. Sometimes, I’d start a ways back from where I originally died, and other times I’d respawn before an important moment in the game and have to listen to the same conversation over and over. This was especially true before the last boss where I had to listen to the same conversation 25 times. Yes, that’s about how many times I died at the end and I’m just taking a guess. It could have been more.
When the story is complete, or you lose interest in killing over 1000 Chimera, the multiplayer is your second option and could have been the savior of Burning Skies. Other then the fact it isn’t 3G enabled and you can only connect via Wi-Fi, there are only a few options to keep you hooked: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Survival. Survival being the only unique mode of the three in which humans face-off against Chimera and any humans killed turn into the Chimera until there is one left and they must do everything to survive until time runs out. Obviously the deathmatch modes are as explainable as a ham & cheese sandwich so I don’t really need to explain it. The only thing you need to know is that each deathmatch can hold either 4 players or 6-8. There are a handful of maps to play on, perks to gain when you reach a specific level, and you can customize one of three different loadouts to your liking.
There isn’t much to say about the games presentation other then the orchestral score that comes on at times. It actually sets the mood well except it isn’t used when it should be. With headphones on, gun fire sounds good and killing an enemy with the Mule sounds pleasantly awesome. The varied environments are stale to say the least with nothing really memorable, even when inside a Chimera. Overall it’s just okay.
SUMMARY: It’s noticeable that Nihilistic Software didn’t put the same amount of love into Resistance Burning Skies as Insomniac did for the PS3 counterpart. The story is pointless, the multiplayer is okay, and overall Burning Skies suffers by only focusing on making an FPS for the Vita. Don’t get me wrong, at times this was a fun game but the further I got, the more I realized the games shortcomings and grew frustrated as the game entered it’s conclusion. The only other good thing I can say to come out of this game is that it shows a first person shooter can work on the Vita. If I were to review this game on that alone, it would get a 7.5 with the deductions being grenade throwing and melee being subjected to the touchscreen. But that’s not the case.
- THE GOOD: FPS Mechanics on the Vita work well with a lot of Chimera to kill and some cool weapons to use
- THE BAD: Multiplayer is not available on 3G and with limited options. Touchscreen controls can get annoying
- THE UGLY: Burning Skies story is not just forgettable, but makes no sense in the Resistance Universe
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