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Resistance: Burning Skies (PS Vita) Review

/ Jul 2nd, 2012 No Comments

Resistance: Burning Skies (PS Vita) Review
Resistance: Burning Skies Boxart

Resistance: Burning Skies Boxart

Resistance: Burning Skies is a first-person shooter for the PlayStation Vita. This game stands as an inbetweenquel detailing the early days of the American invasion between Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2. Instead of Insomniac Games developing this PS Vita side-story, Nihilistic Software handled the development duties. If that name does not ring a bell, Nihilistic Software is the developer responsible for PS2/GameCube/XBOX game, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, which is notable for Marvel allowing a company other than Capcom to develop a fighting game with their characters.

Gameplay

Burning Skies does not add much innovation within the first-person shooter genre. Everything is pretty by the books. Tom Riley begins with just an axe as he enters the burning building that starts the game off and the player can use the axe by pressing the touch screen. As Chimera start to show up, the gamer picks up a standard array of guns from machine gun to rocket launcher. There are some cooler guns thrown into the mix like the Auger, which gives the gamer the ability to see enemies through walls and obstacles and can shoot through them. In addition, each gun can be upgraded by using Grey Tech (blue cubes) that improves each weapons potency in two areas. To spice things up a bit with the weapons load out, each gun has a special ability that activates by performing a specific action on the touch screen. These abilities help in dispatching the chimera more efficiently. Despite some cool little touches that added some variety to the proceedings, the gameplay is a rote experience in FPS. The coordination between using the touch screen to launch grenades or use a quick axe and firing the main weapon is a bit awkward and most of the time using the secondary weapons is more trouble than it is worth. The multiplayer experience is the same as single player except the player earns experience to unlock better weapons and upgrades. On the bright side, multiplayer seems to have a good number of players actively using it because it took only a few minutes to start up a match. It plays smoothly with no lag, at least with a small match. Larger matches and varying host speeds will likely affect the quality of play. However, the multiplayer experience is a huge draw for most FPS games and the inclusion here should sweeten the pot for fans of the genre.

Story

Resistance: Burning Skies (PS Vita) Review

Resistance: Burning Skies (PS Vita) Review

Set in 1951, Burning Skies documents how the chimera invasion came to America. The protagonist is Tom Riley, a firefighter, who stumbles onto some Chimera in a burning building. As these things go, he starts to fight these freaky aliens because it is a Tuesday or something. So, armed with a gun, the firefighter starts to help fight off Chimeras and protect bystanders (to varying degrees of acuity and success). Eventually, he meets up with his wife and daughter. Rather than let them be causalities of an alien invasion he fights and buys them enough time to get to the evacuation site. As he is fighting the Chimeras to save his family, he meets up with some resistance fighters (the Minute Men) led by Ellie Martinez. Armed with new weapons and a spunky co-pilot, Riley decides to help fight the Chimeras and save more people! All along the way, Ellie and he uncover some weird government weapons project. In the fashion of most government projects, there is more to them than the government leads the public to believe. Scandal, cover-ups, and corruption are all on the menu!

The character work in First Person Shooters is not notorious for being robust, but here it seems downright flimsy. Ellie Martinez is intriguing in a different number of ways, but the gamer never really learns much about her aside from being one of the Minute Men. It is a shame because given the time period of the game, there is a level of depth that Burning Skies could have mined but did not. Then there is Tom Riley, the seemingly forlorn protagonist. The gamer does not get much about him other than that he is a firefighter and wants to save his family, which seems to be his main motivation for fighting the Chimera. As far as reasons, it is at the level of fighting the aliens because they invaded Earth. The player never learns much about Riley during the game, Burning Skies is content with letting his job as firefighter stand in for all his character details. As it goes, Riley is a character implied and suggested. He is a firefighter and the player is supposed to attribute the symbolic ideal of firefighters to Riley to fill out his character. Riley is an indomitable spirit, heroic, selflessness, courageous and tough, but that is more association than outright actions or details. Admittedly, a firefighter being the protagonist of an FPS is interesting and a welcome respite from the Space Marines and Soldiers that the player generally assumes control of in the genre. It is unlikely, but maybe the developers wanted to allude to Guy Montag of Fahrenheit 451 by making Tom Riley a firefighter. However, that may be giving too much credit.

Graphics and Sound

Resistance: Burning Skies

Resistance: Burning Skies

Resistance: Burning Skies is far from the best-looking game on the Vita. The faces are very shiny and lack a wide range of emotion/expression and detail. The Chimeras fare a bit better and look fearsome and well rendered. For the most part, the environments look good, but the abandon buildings get boring after a while and it is not until the last half when the game throws some variety to the proceedings that the environments stand out. The cut scenes are actually cool. They feature the scratchy film style of propaganda movies from the Cold War Era, but unfortunately, that style does not cover up that the scenes are often pixilated detracting from the interesting 35mm footage style.

One of the best aspects of Burning Skies is the score. It is big and orchestral, often kicking in at just the right moment to give the player a burst of adrenaline as they mow through a horde of Chimeras. The piece of music that runs throughout the majority of the game is a delight. The voice work is serviceable with Riley and Ellie obviously standing out amongst the other minor voice contributions. As for sound effects, the guns sound like guns and the monsters give nice death rattles.

Overall

Resistance: Burning Skies will not win any awards or major adulations because it is at its core a competent FPS with enough variety to keep gameplay from getting too stale, but nothing mind blowing. The graphics are slightly better than the average PSP game. It does not show off the potential of the PS Vita, neither in its graphics nor in its gameplay. Credit needs to be given that the game incorporated the touch screen at all, but it neglects the back touch screen (which would have been ideal to use for launching grenades) and the motion controls. The singe player campaign is solid enough and offers about 8-10 hours of gameplay, but it seems clear that like most games in the genre, the draw is in multiplayer. What it comes down to for Vita owners is if they are looking for an FPS to take on the go then Burning Skies is the clear choice. It manages to replicate the console FPS experience with competent enough acuity to scratch that itch on the Vita.

Overall Ratings – Resistance: Burning Skies (PS Vita)

Gameplay:

7/10

Graphics:

6/10

Sound:

8/10

Replay Value:

7/10

OVERALL SCORE:

70%

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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