comes to the Vita
but is it ready for an FPS?
series of console first person shooters has never really managed to grab my attention, partly because they seemed like particularly generic shooters brought to life with a dull colour palate and focussed on a dreary alternative history world. That said, last years Resistance 3
was a perfectly serviceable shooter, enlivened by some fun weapons and a plot that at least managed to be comprehensible.Resistance: Burning Skies
has been touted for some time as the first ever portable console FPS which is able to make use of twin analogue sticks for a control scheme which closely echoes that of its larger siblings. It’s a significant enough claim and, together with the strong hardware of the PS Vita
, should make for an above average portable gaming experience.
Developed by Nihilistic Software
(who also brought us PS Move Heroes
) Resistance: Burning Skies
is one of the most fundamentally flawed games I’ve had the misfortune to play in months. It’s all the more frustrating because the basics are essentially in place – the generic story, the weapons and an excuse to introduce those weapons to the faces of hundreds of nasty Chimera types.
And far from being thwarted by bugs, much of the game is smooth, there are no technical defects on screen nor broken levels. Instead, the entire experience feels marred by an overriding misapprehension of what makes for a good game.
Take the controls. Yes, Burning Skies
makes use of both sticks for moving and shooting and that element works reasonably well, with a nice sensitivity to the aiming and an instant feeling of familiarity for those used to playing on the PS3. But Nihilistic
has seen fit to take this competent, significant step forward for portable gaming and hopelessly mangle it with some of the worst implementation of touch controls yet seen.
You want to throw a grenade? You’ve been doing it in shooters for year, just tap a button and leg it away from the shrapnel. Simples. Well not here. To chuck some explosives in Burning Skies
you have to use your finger to tap an icon on screen, before dragging it to your target and releasing, leaving you essentially crippled in game.
The same goes for numerous other actions – including the alt fires on many of your weapons. Using the Auger to put up a handy shield use to take a mere button press, now you’ll have to draw a line on the screen with both thumbs, rendering you immobile. And don’t get me started on the Mule crossbow weapon that requires you to slash your finger across the screen to reload, despite the fact that no other gun requires it. Every sense of fluidy gained by the twin sticks is lost in this manner, even running is a chore – forcing you to double tap the rear touchpad to leg it. Why?!
Sadly, shoddy touch screens aren’t the only problem you’ll find with Burning Skies
. While the graphics are broadly serviceable, there’s a serious lack of detail in everything from the environments to the character models and the animation is shockingly poor, particularly the death throes of the Chimera which repeat over and over. It’s hardly a showcase for Sony’s new system and the presentation is brought down further still by interstitial video sequences which are poorly acted and rife with compression artefacts.
Further issues blight Burning Skies
– why does it even matter that you’re a fireman, why are checkpoints placed so sporadically, often after pointless cut scenes and why are the cover mechanics so shoddy; it’s 2012 for gods’ sake – but I won’t bother you further with them. The game also offers a multiplayer mode which delivers the options you would expect and the more straightforward gameplay does mitigate some of the games more evident flaws. But there’s also nothing unique or compelling enough about the multiplayer to warrant you picking up the game for it.Resistance: Burning Skies
is an inconsequential game. The single player is underwhelming and far too easy, while the multiplayer adds nothing new to the subgenre. Add in some awkward gameplay mechanics and occasionally shoddy presentation and it’s hard to recommend this title, even for those desperately awaiting an FPS on Vita