Resistance: Burning Skies was a game that caught my interest a fair bit, simply as a result of my own skepticism regarding the success of emulating a first-person shooter on a handheld device. Would Burning Skies be as lacking as expected, or would it be able to take advantage of the PlayStation Vita’s hardware to finally deliver a good first-person shooter experience?
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Genre: Action//First-Person Shooter
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: July 12th, 2012 (JP); March 29th, 2012 (NA); June 1st, 2012 (EU)
Taking place in August, 1951, the east coast of North America is under an alien invasion. Despite the bleak situation, fire fighter Tom Riley stands up in the fight against the Chimera, motivated by his desire to return to his family.
Burning Skies keeps to the same structure as its console brothers as a first-person shooter in which every weapon has their own unique alternative fire. The PlayStation Vita lacks the extra buttons to emulate the experience efficiently. Instead, the title takes advantage of the Vita’s touch screen to enable alternative fire–a method which meets great success. It’s definitely nice to see developers take advantage of the Vita’s “gimmicky” features effectively, rather than using it as an actual gimmick.
Visually, the title also successfully portrays its setting which furthers the player’s immersion. Regrettably, there are some graphical issues and blurred textures leading to a slightly less visually appealing experience. Additional details, such as closing in on the face of an enemy Chimera that Riley has just attempted to melee and not even making some of their complicated faces messy.
Riley accidentally interrupted a good game of Chimera hopscotch.
Despite Nihilistic’s effort though, the story was somewhat dull. There was a lack of real character development throughout the campaign. Enemy units became repetitive to the point that completing the story got less challenging, rather than more difficult. The title’s approach to upgrading weapons was interesting in concept; however, each weapon upgrade was easy to find and, disappointingly, wasn’t even very useful. The campaign length is short too, spanning roughly eight to nine hours long. This is pretty average for a first-person shooter, but it also loses the potential Burning Skies had to engage the player in such a way that they could be immersed even further into the possible lore. As it stands, the fictional world just wasn’t explored enough.
Multiplayer is composed of the most common three multiplayer modes to launch with a title: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Survival. In Burning Skies, the player can compete in matches across six maps with up to seven other players. For some strange reason, players who have not completed the title’s single player campaign will be kicked off of the multiplayer mode and forced to start the campaign.
Ultimately, Resistance: Burning Skies feels like a relatively average shooter. It doesn’t perform spectacularly, but despite a few minor hiccups (and one bizarre design choice regarding locking the multiplayer) it delivers an adequate experience and nothing more. Fans of the franchise will probably plough through the campaign once and then forget about it.