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Resistance: Burning Skies
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Platform: Playstation Vita
Release Date: 31/05/2012
Price: $38.73 (Available Here)
Resistance isn’t new to the portable scene after the release of Resistance: Retribution over on the Playstation Portable. However, as that was a third person shooter, Resistance: Burning Skies is a first person shooter with dual stick controls. It is a first for the portable scene. Behind the game is Nihilistic Software, developers of Playstation Move Heroes, so that may worry some. However, Nihilistic does a great job in delivering a console FPS experience onto the Playstation Vita, with excellent controls, great multiplayer and effective use of the touchscreen. However, Nihilistic seems to forget to develop a story of Resistance standards. Poor level design, some interesting choices in gameplay and overlooking an excellent soundtrack also mar the game.
In Resistance: Burning Skies, players will be controlling a new character for the series. He goes by the name of Tom Riley, a fire fighter residing on the East coast of the United States. While fires are no match for Riley, he is thrown into the war with the Chimera after they begin their invasion of the US. As the Chimera invade, Riley is forced to leave his family behind (similar to Joseph Capelli in Resistance 3). He joins and befriends another fighter in the resistance by the name of Ellie, a companion that sticks with him throughout the game.
The story is basic at best. Riley feels and acts as an inferior Capelli. In fact, the story between Burning Skies and Resistance 3 strike similar chords. Both are fighting for their families, but Capelli’s fight is more emotional and involved. With Riley’s fight, it isn’t developed enough. In fact, it feels like a fight for the United States than family. It’s a fight fought once before and it is fought poorly. This also reflects on how Riley develops as a character. There is no real development. Riley doesn’t really learn any lessons. He is simply a bore. Players will actually lose motivation to fight for his cause. The tone of the story is also poorly executed. Rarely players will feel the absolute need for survival, which needs to be established. It is the same problem Uncharted: Golden Abyss faced when that was in development. Uncharted is considered a storytelling masterpiece in the video game industry, but Drake’s first portable outing didn’t match those expectations. Sadly, in a series where the story is considered its strong point, Burning Skies fails to deliver the same standard.
If the game lacks in story, then it must be made up in gameplay. Well, it does. Resistance: Burning Skies is the first portable dual stick first person shooter. That second stick really does help play a first person shooter on the go. This isn’t close to a console FPS experience; it is a console FPS experience. What makes the Resistance series great is the arsenal of weapons available. Throughout the game, there will be eight weapons available, plus Riley’s fireman axe for melee. The Bullseye, Carbine, and Auger do make a return. Nihilistic opted with the weapon wheel found in Resistance 3, allowing the player to carry all of the weapons. This brings in a level of strategy that is rarely seen in first person shooters. However, Nihilistic did add something to the mix: upgrades. Each weapon is allowed two equipped upgrades out of six, adding more strategy to the mix. Players can have extended clips, less recoil or even more powerful shots. This brings more strategy into the mix and allows players to experiment with different weapon layouts.
A gameplay feature that made the Resistance series unique is the secondary fire. Nihilistic had to figure out how to implement the feature seeing the Vita is void of a second set of shoulder buttons. This is where the touchscreen comes into play. Each of the eight weapons all have a different way to activate their secondary fire. A Bullseye tag, for example, simply needs the player to tap their finger over the desired enemy. The Carbine’s grenade launcher is done the same way. The Auger, however, requires the player to drag their fingers in opposite directions in a horizontal line. The actions can be quickly executed and will not affect the gunplay on screen. The alternative fire is simple to use and cleverly designed. As for other controls, grenades and the axe are used via the touchscreen. The rear touchpad is used for sprinting by double tapping it. However, it would be better to hold down the down d-pad button, as it is the physical button for sprinting.
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