Posted on May 29, 2012 AT 12:39pm
Resistance: Burning Skies is the first game in the Resistance franchise for the PlayStation Vita. The franchise is known for crazy weapons, big open battlefields with crazy set pieces, smart AI, and a story that really sucks you into this crazy alternate 1950s world. The question is can Burning Skies hold up to the series’ incredibly high standard?
Well when it came to the story, the developer, Nihilistic Software, hooks you in early. You play as fire fighter Tom Riley who is sent on a normal assignment to put out a fire and search a building that had an aircraft crash into it. Turns out that the ship was the first of a Chimeran invasion of the United States. Riley at the start of the invasion makes sure his family escapes to one of the camps, and then he joins the resistance in the fight against the Chimera. It is at this point that the story becomes pretty dull for a while. It just gives you a list of excuses to go travel around and fight Chimera until the last two levels where the game puts Riley’s family in danger. The game tells you very little about Riley or any other character so it makes it hard to care about them. For most of the game you won’t really care about anyone until the last chapter. In the game’s last chapter when the game tries to be emotional, it just comes out kind of hollow because it didn’t build these characters, but the story was not bad and I could see it keeping fans of the series at least somewhat entertained. I can say it was interesting to see the initial Chimeran invasion of the United States.
The game does look pretty good, and while it doesn’t hold up to Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, it manages to look great even though you will feel more could have been done. The game is colorful with plenty of varied environments, but I did notice some jagged edges and some geometry just looked odd. Most animations looked stiff with the exception being facial animations, which look great, and the same can be said for the character models.
Music is superb; the soundtrack fits the tone of whatever is happening on screen from the emotional moments to the intense firefights. The voice acting is fine, none of it is out right bad, but outside of Ellie and the radio announcer, no one really stands out as anything more then average. My biggest complaint when it comes to sound design is the guns. In the previous Resistance games and especially in Resistance 3, guns sounded powerful like they were really tearing through enemies, in Burning Skies even with my headphones on, most guns and explosions sound like cheap fireworks going off.
As for the gameplay it’s solid. While not exceptional, it isn’t bad either. You basically go from checkpoint to checkpoint fighting enemies and occasionally taking down a boss. There aren’t many big set piece moments; the ones that are in the game aren’t really impressive while some can be just frustrating. The regular shooting is fun and the difficulty is just right not too hard or too easy. I didn’t like the fact the game only had eight weapons, most of which, other then the Auger (a gun that shoots through walls), are pretty standard guns you would expect in a modern day setting not a sci-fi game and especially not the Resistance franchise. This is a shame because all the other Resistance games had crazy weaponry like explosive pistol bullets, a gun that fires razor blades, and a poison gas gun. The fact is, Resistance: Burning Skies is nothing but standard rifles and machine guns. For long times fans of the series, this is going to be a pretty big issue. The AI is reasonably intelligent, while they do not aggressively flank and go after you like in the console games, they do put up a good enough fight to keep things interesting. Now having an ok single player is fine if there is plenty of content. Unfortunately this is not the case, as my first play through lasted five hours. There really is no replay value other then the one or two trophies you will miss the first time through and collecting Intel to flesh out the story.
Then there is multiplayer which feels really shallow. There are only three modes: Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, and Survival. In Survival, one person starts as the Chimera and as they kill someone, they become infected and join the Chimeran team with the last human standing collecting the victory. The multiplayer allows at most only eight people and it can be fun, but there isn’t much to do especially without local multiplayer. Like every other shooter now days, there is an unlockable and perk system that is based around your multiplayer level. You level up by doing well in the multiplayer, which unlocks better perks and guns.
For the most part, Resistance: Burning Skies, while not amazing, is a solid shooter. Vita gamers starved for a new truly quality title to sink their teeth into are better off looking back towards the recently released, Mortal Kombat or Disgaea 3. If you are a big fan of Resistance or shooters and own a Vita, it is worth a rental.
Final Score: 6.5/10
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