The Average Gamer

Resistance: Burning Skies Review (Vita)

Ever since the PlayStation Vita’s dual-analogue sticks were announced, I’ve been dying to get my hands on a portable first-person shooter. Resistance: Burning Skies is the first FPS to be released on the handheld, and it goes a long way to show both what the Vita is capable of and respecting the phenomenal Resistance franchise with a great handheld release.

Resistance: Burning Skies tells the tale of New York fire-fighter Tom Riley, who is caught in the middle of the Chimera’s East Coast invasion and has to fight to save himself and his family. Armed with his trusty axe, and a shed-load of weapons, Riley joins fellow resistance fighter Ellie to save his family and as many people he can along the way.

Playing through the opening stages of Burning Skies makes you realise how everything just works. Nihilistic have done a great job using the front and rear touchpads to compensate for the lack of R2 and L2 shoulder buttons. Double-tapping the rear touchpad will make Riley run, while the HUD includes icons for Riley’s axe and grenades. By clicking and dragging the grenade icon, the game will enter slow motion, allowing you to place the indicator where you want the grenade to be thrown.

This new level of accuracy and accessibility is great, and combines really well with Resistance’s excellent cover mechanic. The screen never feels cluttered by these icons, or by the HUD in general, allowing you to focus on the frenetic combat.

Each gun’s secondary fire works in the same way. For example: the Bullseye’s tag function works by touching an enemy, locking your gun’s fire to them for a short duration. One small issue is that interacting with doors also works in the same way, so you may accidentally fire your carbine’s grenade launcher when you want to open a door, killing yourself or very nearly doing so.

One of the best things about Resistance has been the weapon wheel. Burning Skies has eight weapons in total, most of which you will find yourself using often, but you will of course have your go-to favourites. There is also a weapon upgrade mechanic that allows you to add one active and one passive upgrade to your weapon from a list of three. By finding “Grey Tech” littered throughout the levels, you can enhance each of your weapons how you see fit. Your Carbine can have a much faster reload and more powerful grenades, or a scope and increased range, depending on your play style.

Burning Skies’ campaign is fun to play, but the story doesn’t offer anything to really sink your teeth into. Its pretty simple from the outset, and merely serves to move the game from point-to-point.

The good thing is, this doesn’t interrupt the exciting gameplay. There are, however, some pacing issues at certain points. You will encounter crazy difficulty spikes and find yourself dying countless times when you have been progressing well up until then. This is particularly true of the last level, which begins to swarm you with a ton of enemies, and negates its own cover system by encouraging these Chimera to flank you from every direction. What also hampers your ability to deal with the Chimera is Burning Skies’ very slow aiming, even at max sensitivity. I can imagine experienced FPS players becoming infuriated with Riley’s slow aim.

The multiplayer is fun but nowhere near as extensive as other games. Its great for a portable, but I doubt people will choose to spend much time with it. All the guns from the main game are available, which can have two different upgrades attached out of a choice of three per slot.

The limited amount of customisation options means that there isn’t much to invest in the multiplayer, but its fun while it lasts. Players can join games of either four or eight players in Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch and Survival. Again the lack of modes means the multiplayer will be shot-lived for players, and something to be enjoyed in short bursts.

Resistance: Burning Skies is an excellent FPS, not only for a handheld, but a good FPS period. While the graphics aren’t stellar, the gameplay is excellent and offers great replayability with new game+ and decent, if not extensive, online multiplayer.

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