Resistance: Burning Skies
PLATFORMS: PSVita | GENRE: FPSz
The PSVita is here, and the game that gets the title of “First FPS on a dual-stick portable device” is Resistance: Burning Skies. However, those who already have the Vita (and I doubt many of you do) might want to give this one a miss.
Story-wise, there is a lot to be desired. Burning Skies is set between the first and second Resistance PS3 titles, portraying the Chimera invasion of the US. You play as Tom Riley, a firefighter in 1950s New York, whose desperation to save his wife and daughter from the Chimera drives him to take part in the resistance. Though this seems like it would make for a strong narrative, only the beginning and end stood out to me. Tom is a stale, undeveloped character. He barely talks, and shows very little emotion. Other characters in the game aren’t too interesting and serve only to fill video game stereotypes — including the love interest, which is weird when you consider Tom’s marriage.
Controls? They’re pretty good, making appropriate use of the two analogue sticks. Burning Skies delivers a great on-the-move emulation of a console FPS, thanks in no small part to the Vita. View control and the cover system work as well you’d expect from a console title, which is amazing for a portable game. The touch controls are great as well. You can use the front screen for secondary ammo shots and throwing grenades, which doesn’t seem too gimmicky. On the other hand, the rear touch panel does get a tad annoying. You use it to control sprinting by double tapping the back. This is very gimmicky, and at times a little frustrating because I haven’t adjusted my grip from PSP to Vita. Since you can actually use one of the directional buttons on the device to sprint, the control feature might as well not have been added to the touch panel. That would have saved me a few WTF moments.
One very irritating aspect of the game is the cutscenes. These occur between every chapter of the game, which is pretty standard, but they are riddled with problems. First off, the cutscenes artefact. Quite noticeably, too. This would be bearable if you didn’t have to watch them every time you started the game. That’s right: every time you load a save, you have to watch the previous cutscene. Though this is helpful in refreshing you on the story so far, it takes a couple of minutes to get through. Considering this is a portable game, it’s bordering on insanity. Simply adding the ability to skip would have made this far less of a hassle. Everything else graphics-wise is pretty good for a portable game. The Vita has a great screen, but Resistance doesn’t take full advantage of it. Having said that, I doubt Resistance would be as good on any other portable.
I couldn’t play the multiplayer because of some connection issues, but from what I’ve heard I didn’t miss out on much. All in all Resistance: Burning Skies is a good portable shooter that shows off what dual-sticks on a handheld device can do. If if it weren’t for those frustrating cutscenes I might be a little more sympathetic towards its other shortcomings. The game does show the foundations of a bridge between console and portable gaming though. Don’t go running to the Meridian to buy it, but if you want a Vita and are a fan of shooters, think about the bundle offer.