The Vita needs an FPS and while many may think that Call of Duty could be the game to fill that void, Sony and Nihilistic Software have other ideas. Resistance Burning Skies certainly ticks all the boxes, a single player story campaign, a variety of enemies and weapons to gun them down with and of course, a multiplayer campaign. The package is certainly a complete one, but is there enough quality here to keep players coming back for more?
There is no doubt Burning Skies is a Resistance game, throughout the campaign you’ll have Chimera coming at you from all angles, while the story offers plenty of twists and turns as the main protagonist goes about saving the world. In this latest version of Resistance we follow the story of Tommy Riley, a hard working fireman with a wife and child. Soon into the game he soon discovers all is not well, The Chimera are invading New York, resulting in Tommy putting his axe to one side (for now at least) and taking hold of numerous other weapons. His main aim within the game is to rescue his wife and daughter, although he perhaps finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for when starting out on this quest.
Given that this is the first FPS on the Vita, you’d be forgiven for being a bit worried. The PSP tried and failed in many respects due to the lack of a second analogue stick, the Vita doesn’t have that problem, in fact it adds even more options into the mix thanks to the inclusion of touch screen support. All of this adds up to a different portable FPS experience than you’ll be used to, allowing you to use the second analogue stick as it was intended, while using touch screen controls to attack your enemy with the axe, throw grenades and also use secondary weapons, such as the grenade launcher and drone. If you were worried about playing FPS on the Vita, then you needn’t as it all feels very intuitive and far from fiddly.
One of the main features of Burning Skies is the weapons and there are plenty of them. Holding down the triangle button brings up a weapons wheel which carries all of the arms you have on your person. This allows you to quickly change when you are running low on bullets or if you need a certain weapon for the scenario you find yourself in. Weapons range from your standard guns, now familiar with the Resistance series, to others, such as the Shotgun x Bow, which allows you to fire powerful bullets and also use enemy devastating explosive arrows as your secondary fire. When you add in other weapons, such the Mauler and the Sw.A.R.M (Swift Autonomous Round Missle), which allows you to tag multiple enemies and blow them away, then you can see that you’re not short of options when it comes to making your enemies dismembered heads roll around the various levels.
One of the main additions to the weaponry is the introduction of Grey Tech. These small cubes allow you to add up to six special effects to your weapons. When you find a cube you simply select the weapon you’d like to upgrade and which effect you’d like to use. You can assign six cubes to each weapon, although you can only use two effects at a time. The effects are designed to compliment each other, therefore you may be able to combine an increased grenade capacity with a larger explosion range. Grey Tech is hidden throughout the levels in all manner of obscure places, meaning you’ll need to search it out rather than being handed it on a plate.
As you’d expect, there are a wide range of enemies to face in Burning Skies from Patrol Drone, Leapers and Hyribs to Executioners, Impalers and all manner of large ‘boss’ characters which practically fill up the entire Vita screen. Enemies seem clever enough even on easier difficultly levels, so expect them to charge at you, snipe at you and basically not give you a moments piece as long as both they and your character are alive.
There are six levels to unlock all in, with the latter three taking a little longer to complete than the first. It took me around 8 hours to complete the game, although that included Tommy being killed quite a few times and also searching for Grey Tech. There is also a New Game + mode once you have complete the main campaign, adding in yet another challenge to the main campaign and therefore helping add to its longevity.
Away from the main campaign, players can also partake in some multiplayer thanks to the inclusion of online support. Before you begin you can select the weapons you would like to take with you, such as the Carbine, Bullseye and Hunter. All other weapons are locked until you gain experience. You can also add upgrades to your weapons and gain grenades, but again these options are locked until you gain experience.
There are three main options when playing online matchmaking. There is the ability to choose from Team Deathmatch or Deathmatch, both of which consist of 4 players for a small game or 6-8 for a large game or you can play Survival, which hosts 6-8 players as you try your best to be the last human to stay alive. The maps are not many and are fairly dimly light in places, but they are quite small, making for a tense and fun portable online experience. Finding games online modes will depend on the popularity of the game, however it seems to work well and provides just as good an experience as any Resistance game on PS3.
As far as presentation goes, Burning Skies isn’t exactly up to Golden Abyss standards. The characters look slightly odd and the scenery feels almost rushed. Occasionally you’ll also come across a few bugs (I had to wait as my AI partner shot at thin air for five minutes due to the enemy failing to appear (although it did eventually), however these bugs were a rare occurrence (for me at least), so you shouldn’t let this put you off.
Resistance Burning Skies campaign has a decent enough story, provides a tough challenge and when that’s done, players then have the option to either play again via New Game + or head online to shoot up some fellow Vita players. Resistance Burning Skies may not be perfect, but it’s the only portable FPS experience out there for the Vita at the moment and that could be the only convincing that gamers need.
Rating: Good Review Policy (version tested: PS Vita)
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