Resistance: Burning Skies Review
- Posted June 13th, 2012 by Michael Harradence
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Despite some notable flaws, Resistance: Burning Skies is still a solid effort and a great start to twin-stick shooting action on PS Vita.
- Great use of PS Vita's touchscreen
- Awesome weapons line-up, affording plenty of diversity in combat
- Twin-stick action translates seamlessly to PS Vita
- Some poor environments
- Visuals are hit and miss
- Short campaign and average story
The release of Resistance: Burning Skies is something of a landmark release for PlayStation Vita, and handhelds in general for that matter. Not only is it another entry into one of Sony’s most prolific series, but concurrently, it’s the first dual-stick shooter on any portable games console, period. Indeed, thanks to the implementation of PS Vita’s twin analog sticks, Burning Skies marks the first time a console-esque FPS has successfully made the transition to a handheld platform. Well, almost. Nihilistic’s apocalyptic blaster may not be the prettiest game on the PS Vita, but it ticks just about every other box out there. Make no mistake, this is one of the biggest games for Sony’s new pocket rocket to date, and Resistance fans especially will want to snap it up on day one.
Burning Skies once again adheres to the Resistance series’ alternate take on history, where an alien-like race known only as the Chimera is methodically laying waste to humanity one country at a time. Set during the early 1950s, the game depicts the beginning of the Chimera’s invasion of North America, and takes place before the events of 2008’s Resistance 2. Rather than hopping into the well-worn boots of stoic baldy Nathan Hale however, players control family man and local fire fighter Tom Riley. After attending the scene of a fire with his colleagues, the action quickly gets underway as Riley witnesses the Chimera’s deadly strike against U.S. soil, and, armed with his trusty fire-axe and an assortment of firearms, takes the fight to the alien invaders. To exacerbate an already serious situation however, our hero also has to worry about the safety and preservation of his missing wife and young daughter in the midst of the chaos. And they say us blokes don’t know how to multitask.
Burning Skies is the quintessential Resistance experience. The game itself doesn’t deviate from the norm in terms of mechanics, but what it does do it does exceedingly well – while throwing in a few unique twists of its own. The controls are fantastic and incredibly intuitive, with the use of the two analog sticks performing exactly how you’d expect. Needless to say, it’s incredibly liberating to play a FPS this way on a handheld after dealing with the inconvenience of PSP input all those years. Touchscreen functionality also plays a part in the proceedings, and I’m pleased to say it works just great, while not feeling overly gimmicky or obtrusive. For example, tap the axe icon in the right-hand corner to perform a melee attack, or quickly make a sweeping movement with the grenade icon to its desired target to unleash explosive hell. It’s accurate, and I found it incredibly satisfying to ‘tag’ an enemy with the Bullseye by tapping the screen before retreating to cover and dispatching them hassle free. Switching weapons is easy thanks to the weapons-wheel (hold down triangle), as is running (down on the d-pad – it works better than it sounds, believe me).
Speaking of weapons, Burning Skies offers up a plethora of Chimera-slaying creations, from rudimentary, human-made firearms to more advanced alien technology. The weapons generally feel pretty weighty and pack quite a punch, giving off satisfying recoils and allowing for a wealth of different play styles. Plus, each one has a second, touchscreen-operated fire option; my favourite is probably the Mule, a Shotgun equipped with the ability to fire explosive arrows. The best part is they can be upgraded via special Chimera-made Grey tech, with six options per weapon. I preferred to rely on greater firepower and capacity for example, so naturally I opted for the upgrades that best suited those parameters. It’s a great addition, and offers a boatload of combinations for each weapon, offering plenty of incentive to try out different tactics beyond your comfort zone. Unlike other shooters, I found the game’s arsenal to be totally justified, and no weapon felt like extra baggage; each gun has its own merits, and the game will make sure you are in a position to have you use each one.
The Chimera themselves come thick and fast, forcing you to adapt your tactics on the fly. Some enemies are easily dispatched with a quick flurry of Carbine rounds, while others require a bit more ... (continued on next page) ----