Resistance: Burning Skies Review

Resistance: Burning Skies (Available only on PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1 to 8
Genre: FPS
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Nihilistic
Release Date: May 29th, 2012
PSN: Online Multiplayer

Parent Talk: Burning Skies is rated M for Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board because of blood and gore, intense violence, and strong language.  There are scenes where people get decapitated; dead children lay in the streets and other moments featuring gratuitous violence.  While not at the same level as some other M-rated games, clearly this one wasn’t designed with children in mind.

Plays Like: This is the very first FPS I have ever played on a portable that controls exactly as if it were designed for a console.  The dual analog setup is excellent.  That said, the linear narrative and watered down gameplay make this Resistance feel like an early console FPS, and far removed from the franchise its supposed to be apart of.

Review Basis: Finished the entire game on Normal difficulty setting.

Resistance: Burning Skies is an extremely missed opportunity.  Taking place just as the Chimera invade the US, I felt Nihilistic didn’t do enough with the storyline to showcase the shock and awe that would have ensued during an alien invasion.  I mean just imagine the chaos!  As already mentioned the gameplay doesn’t hold up particularly well either.  So what went wrong?

The Great:

Hands-down the very best aspect of Burning Skies is that it proves the Vita can handle a console-like FPS on the go.  The controls are exactly as you’d expect for a twin-stick FPS, they’re spot-on perfect.  While the rest of the package tears away at the seams, it’s obvious another FPS will rise from the ashes to show us all how it’s done.  Perhaps this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified will be just that game.

The Good:

+ Cover mechanics works well for the later portions of the game when the environments open start to open up.  This allows you to pop your head out and take a few shots before ducking back behind cover.

+ Typical Resistance weapon loadout means you won’t see very many surprises, but the weapons featured here are some of the best, including the Carbine, Bullseye, and the much-loved Auger.

+ Weapon enhancements add some variety to these classic weapons.  Players can alter each weapon by selecting two of six different available enhancements.  These range from stronger ammo to increased range, added scope, etc.

+ Touch controls take some getting used to, but they initiate secondary fire on all weapons, and allow players to throw grenades, and perform melee attacks.

+ Some impressive boss rights are another big highlight.  While not overly challenging, they fill the screen nicely, and give you a glimmer of excitement from the previous games in the series.

The So-So:

+/- Nice visual effects are offset by the repetitive corridors that make up the majority of the campaign.  Every building or cave only has one way to traverse it, leading to linear gameplay.  This lack of variety highlights bland level design.

+/- The five hour campaign is fun, but there’s very little incentive to return, even with the New Game + option, which keeps your weapon enhancements for your next play through.

+/- Online multiplayer is fun, but not as deep as you’d expect for a modern FPS.  Up to eight players can choose between three gameplay modes, deathmatch, team deathmatch, and survival.  As you play you gain XP, which can be used to unlock new weapons.  With no voice chat options outside a private party, and limited matchmaking, there’s not much to get excited about.

+/- The audiovisual presentation is a mixed bag.  The audio is virtually non-existent for most of the game, and the graphics verge from excellent to low res.  The soundtrack picks up when you’d expect, but don’t expect the presentation values seen in the PS3 trilogy.

The Bad:

– The story is a huge disappointment.  The Chimera attack the US, and we’re not told much else except that protagonist Tom Riley is trying to locate his family.  There was so much potential for greatness here, but with virtually no cut-scenes, or fleshed out dialogue, players never feel the urgency or chaos that they should.

– The Chimera have been severely downgraded.  No longer will they swarm you in high numbers, nor will they try to flank you.  Every time a battle begins, the Chimera ignore everyone else and come straight for you.  They also take time to get to their shooting positions, which allows you to run up to them and take out most with a simple swing of your fire axe.

The Ugly:

The lack of facial animations really put a strain on some of the key scenes.  You’ll meet several characters who will be blown away right in front of you, but given the lack of emotion they show, you won’t really care.

The Lowdown:

I’m sad to say that the overall package just doesn’t come together as well as the Insomniac-developed Resistance trilogy did on the PS3, nor the Sony Bend developed Resistance: Retribution.  With such a small emphasis on the storyline, and the watered down gameplay, fans will likely be highly disappointed if they’re just coming off Resistance 3.  As a long time fan of the series I did enjoy the quick play through, but expected so much more.  I’m fairly certain you’ll agree if you decide to give this one a spin.

Final Score: 5/10

4 thoughts on “Resistance: Burning Skies Review”

  1. Well that’s too bad :(

    I already purchased my copy but didn’t try it yet…

  2. It’s as I said at the end Pat: “As a long time fan of the series I did enjoy the quick play through, but expected so much more.” That about sums it up perfectly. It’s far too linear and while some of the set pieces work well, others fall really flat. It just never really “gets there” if you know what I mean. Coming off of Resistance 3, this is WAY too watered down. Still, I hope we see the developer come back in a big way because there was so much potential for greatness here, it just never made it all the way through.

  3. Really looks like Sony rushed the developer there…considering that they’re relatively unheard of, they probably cabed in and tried to do the best in the limited time they had, which is impressive. Obviously not good enough for us, but still an honest to God effort from them. It’s unfortunate, but hey…that’s life.

  4. Yeah I think the story went something like that. It’s clear these guys tried their best, and the effort is a solid one, it’s just that the rest of the series is so high quality that it’s hard moving on to something much more simple. I do wish these guys had another chance though, and that they were given the budget to go along with it.

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