Title: Resistance: Burning Skies
Genre: Sci-Fi FPS
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: June 1st 2012
I’ve always been of the opinion that Resistance was a franchise that got a free ride. As the only title of note in the playstation 3s infamously dull launch line-up, Resistance: Fall of Man didn’t have to be great (and it wasn’t), it just had to be good enough to tide the trigger happy shooter crowd over ’til stuff like Killzone 2 arrived. In this regard it was enormously successful and despite its mediocrity, Resistance has become one of the PS3s flagship titles. I guess ‘functional’ sells units when the alternative is Def Jam: Icon.
Having been bored by the first two titles but impressed by the third I went into Resistance: Burning Skies with trepidation. As the first shooter to be released on the Playstation Vita, Burning Skies had quite a lot resting on its shoulder buttons and while it can be charitably described as ‘typically functional’, the truth of the matter is there’s an awful, awful lot wrong here.
The plot follows the efforts of firefighter Tom Riley, as he attempts to find and rescue his family during the chimeran invasion of the American east coast in 1951, directly before the events of Resistance 2. As has always been the case with Resistance, the story is predictable and absurd, but whatever chance you had of being intrigued by Nathan Hale or empathizing with Joseph Capelli, Tom Riley does everything in his power to be as uninteresting and one dimensional as possible. If narrative is your thing, it’s pretty safe to say Burning Skies is not.
That said, Resistance has never been praised too heavily for its narrative prowess. Unfortunately there’s not much here to write home about in terms of gameplay either. The targeting is sloppy and there are frequent frame rate and collision issues. The decision to remove any kind of auto-aim is about as bewildering as the game-killingly stupid a.i. And after Resistance 3 brought in the ability to carry an obscene amount of interesting weapons, Burning Skies disregards it completely and brings us back to dealing with two at a time. Good job, Resistance, I was almost having fun.
Sony are eager to convince PS3 users that the Vita can deliver console quality games in the palms of your hands, something they’ve hinted at with Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048, and although I’m sure they’ll come good on this promise, the cynics are likely to get pretty decent mileage out of this particular train wreck. The bottom line is that this is not the shooter the Vita deserves. The controls work well enough to assure Vita-skeptics that the device can and probably will be home to a great shooter at some point down the line, unfortunately Resistance: Burning Skies is most definitely not it.
You get to shoot stuff, and let’s face it we all like to shoot stuff