Resistance: Burning Skies: review

Let’s get to the crunch; the controls in general are excellent. Aiming, moving, zooming all feels very natural. It’s comfortable, and no cramp develops. Opening doors, using grenades and typical Resistance secondary fire options for the weapons are carried out via the touch screen. It works very well – we heard some reports of people throwing grenades instead of opening doors, or having a sense of awkwardness stretching their thumb across the screen, but didn’t experience any of those issues throughout the whole game.

What doesn’t work so well is sprinting. There is no ‘click in’ on the Vita sticks, so sprinting is achieved by either double tapping the rear touchpad or pressing down on the dpad. The rear touchpad option is awful, but the dpad works just fine and becomes instinctive before too long.

The game itself follows what seems to be less than a 24 hour period in the life of a New York fireman. He is called to a fire which turns out to be the start of the Chimera invasion of the USA. He has the ability to instantly pick up and understand alien guns (as all firemen do), and take on the naughty aliens. The plot line is too unbelievable, with his family running into him whilst on the job. They are then separated, and end up being placed in danger by the government’s evacuation plans. Consequently, a story develops where your character teams up with a lady from the resistance to return them to safety. There is a moment of real emotion in the game, but it stands out like a sore thumb surrounded by an oasis of narrative drivel.

The level design is very linear and the enemy AI, whilst good, is simplistic. From time to time an enemy combatant will try to outflank you, but it’s really just a matter of ducking behind cover and shooting your way through the room or closed-off street, followed by another room or closed-off street. The skill is in balancing your guns and ammunition rather than outsmarting the Chimera.

Whilst it doesn’t look bad, it doesn’t look amazing; it can’t hold a candle to Uncharted: Golden Abyss. While each level loads into the device’s memory an animation is played trying to deliver some wider context to the story. The art style is 2D with a 1950s crackly effect, which is just fine. However there are huge amounts of pixellation and artefacts across the screen. This is unacceptable. In addition the music (which is excellent) often cuts out for no reason, leaving the game very quiet for long periods of time. Whilst some of this might be an artistic decision, some of it just seems buggy.

The campaign will not take you long, even on the hardest difficulty. So once that is completed you’ll want to play the multiplayer. There are very few modes available, with most being derivatives of deathmatch. Once again, it’s great to play a FPS multiplayer properly on a handheld device but it’s too little content. Once a better alternative is released, this game won’t retain its community.

If this was a tech demo we would give it 10/10 – but it’s not. It’s a £40 product which should offer £40 worth of value. The missing music and sloppy loading animations, the short life span and mundaneness of the campaign compounded by a very limited set of multiplayer modes drags this down. So should you buy it? Clearly Sony are banking on people being really desperate to play a FPS on their shiny new Vitas. As long as you buy it with your eyes open knowing what you are going to get (or not get in the case of this game) you will have a good blast. However, if it’s a choice between Unit 13 (which is cheaper, but offers far more gameplay) or Resistance, then our advice would be to let the skies burn away without you.

 

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Written by Steven G

Steven Gurevitz is the CEO of 2002 Studios Media LTD and a founder of gaming accessory company Asiiya. 2002 Studios started off as a music production company, but produces a range of content from videos to videogames. The company specialises in localizing content for global brands. He also owns the Urban Sound Label, a small niche e-label. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor and co-owner CriticalGamer.co.uk. He enjoys FPS, Third person 'free world', narrative driven and portable gaming. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor to CriticalGamer.co.uk.

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