Man, BlueMaxima — what a machine. This guy is a reader review Terminator. He absolutely will… not… stop, until every last PS Vita game is reviewed. Today he’s looking at Resistance: Burning Skies.
Take it away Mr Maxima!
Resistance: Burning Skies
Vita’s dual analog sticks feel like they’re meant for shooters, and it took this long to get our first FPS?! Resistance Burning Skies is an entry into Insomniac’s series of PS3 games, but can Nihilistic Software stand up to the PS3 level of quality or do they fall right into the mouth of an abomination?
Controls: While the touch based controls take a bit of getting used to (and a setting tweak) they really do feel just right. Aiming is easy with the second stick, shooting is just the way you expect it to be, and touching to throw your grenades / use your special weapons anywhere you like is surprisingly fun to do (crotch shots with a remotely detonated explosive is awesome). There’s a cover system you control with the D-Pad that lets you peek from behind walls and you can peek over chest-high walls without being forcefully snapped to them, and it works really well. The overall feel of the game as an FPS is the high point of this game and it really should set the bar for Vita shooters in the future.
On The Fence
Multiplayer: Playing against random buggers on the internet can be a lot of fun on the Vita…when it works. There’s a few decent levels in there and it controls the same as the SP campaign with your typical-but-still-good XP leveling system included. But long load times, lag and disconnections, lack of game modes past “find and shoot the other guy” and generally big levels that don’t seem to fit 4-6 players (making 2-on-2 games drawn out) seem to restrict this from being “great” instead of “good”.
Burning Skies, Boring Yarns: You can feel how Nihilistic tried to extort the “fight for America” overtones and not focused on character development or the storyline in Burning Skies. Characters are flat and uninteresting with no backstory to speak of, and most of the voice acting is completely average. There’s no twists or turns in the plot to get you into it, the true example of “go here, shoot thing”. It’s not accompanied by any form of “amazing moments” you expect to see in a typical FPS either, so the moment you put down the Vita you’ll just forget about that fireman guy.
Variety: Most of the enemy design are the same 3 or 4 Chimera over and over again – the scorpion-thing, the ones that fly, the two that stay on the ground – there’s only one real part of the game that changes up the enemies and it only lasts ten minutes. Weapons aren’t that much better, with the stand out gun being the one that shoots through walls (although secondary fire modes for each gun help out a bit). Heck, even some of the human bodies they leave lying around have the same clothes on…then you see the exact same people, with those clothes, in the final cutscene, up and walking.
Bugs – Shoot AND Experience Them!: I have a huge list of bugs in Burning Skies – long load times, texture pop-in, collision mask inaccuracies (I’ve shot myself with a grenade when I’ve aimed well over a wall several times), missing sound in cutscenes, lag in multiplayer…the game just seems to have not gone through enough testing to really warrant it’s release. Maybe Nihilistic needed to get it out the door so it could sell before Call of Duty Declassified releases this holiday, but Burning Skies needed a few extra months of bug fixing and polish.
Length and Laziness: This is a complaint around the main campaign alone, but the singleplayer campaign only lasts six hours, which isn’t too bad, especially by today’s standards. But as I said before, they recycle most of the enemies/bosses and a lot of the same environmental design (“chest high walls? Another shooting section!”). What’s worse is that Nihilistic got lazy with the trophies – it is stupidly easy to get all the trophies on one playthrough, without needing to replay a single level of the game. There are hidden “intel” files to find in each level, but there’s no trophy for them, and no trophy for higher difficulties, not encouraging any replay value whatsoever. And even worse? The only multiplayer trophy (a Gold, no less) is to finish one match. Just one!
Nihilistic really had a big project with Resistance – the first FPS on a new console is always a tough role to fill. While they managed to nail it on the most important aspect of that role, the control and feel, everything else feels like a let down – the campaign is short and uninteresting, the multiplayer has major lag and connection issues and technical bugs are everywhere. Unless it’s patched extensively to fix these problems I think it’s safe to avoid this game and hope that Call of Duty brings a much more refined experience.