When the Playstation Vita got released in North America and Europe, the number of games available in the line-up was rather promising. Not all of them were worth it, but overall it was a good launch. Now, months later, things have been pretty quiet for Sony's new handheld. Hopefully, E3 will bring some good news for those who bought it, but until then, let's talk a bit about Resistance: Burning Skies. Developed by Nihilistic Software, this prequel is also the first FPS to come to the Vita. Here are a bunch of videos of the final code, along with our opinion about the game.
As you can see in our videos, Burning Skies is far from Uncharted Golden Abyss in terms of graphics. Indeed, colors are more or less washed-out, with a brownish look which may be faithful to the first episode, but which is also the opposite of a sexy-looking game. The six environments included in the single player mode are not really original and look the same, with simplistic design and blurry textures. Moreover, contrary to Resistance 3, story is a bit weak in this new opus, with nothing really immersive to give the player an incentive to go on. Even the way the game is built is a disappointment as you keep fighting the same Chimera throughout the campaign, with only two boss fights in the entire game. As a result, Nihilistic's title lack the pace and grandeur of the other three episodes, making it look like a low budget TV series adapted from a movie. It's a bit of a let down since the game is supposed to tell the story of the early days of the Chimerian invasion in the US.
Now the good news is that Burning Skies is the proof that FPS can be played perfectly on the system. Controls are very similar to what we are used to, the two analog sticks being responsive and precise. There is no real aim-assist feature so it basically means that your skills will be put to the test. That being said, the 8 weapons you are given clearly help, with the lock-on system of the Bullseye and the ability to shoot through walls of the Auger. A few toys are new, but they are quite faithful to the arsenal of the series, so in the end there's a feeling of deja vu. Although the gyroscope function is not used in Burning Skies, secondary fire is assigned to touch controls only. It does not always make things easy, especially when you're supposed to move around, aim and touch the screen to fire a grenade for example, but it works well. Dashing is not really practical either, since you have to double tap the rear pad. Thankfully, the down D-pad button can be used to that effect, and you only need to press it once.
Even though games are rather scarce on the Playstation Vita these days, it is hard not to be disappointed by Resistance: Burning Skies. It may play well, but the different levels are so common-looking and the story so poorly-told that there is no particular sense of excitement when playing. It's not even that the game is really bad, it's just so average that it fails to convince in spite of its responsive controls. Nihilistic Software has proved that playing a first person shooter on a handheld is possible, let's hope it holds the promise of a brighter future. Until then, if you think Gravity Rush is not your thing, then Burning Skies will probably keep you busy for a while in June, especially if you're into multiplayer.