Resistance is one of my favorite franchises of the generation, and I was saddened to hear that Insomniac would be halting work on the series. On the plus side, Nihilistic has taken over to create Resistance: Burning Skies, which should be one of the first AAA blockbusters for Sony’s new PlayStation Vita. For the very first time, we get the benefit of dual analog sticks for a handheld shooter, and that feature alone should be a game-changer. Beyond that, you should expect an entertaining campaign and what we assume will be addictive multiplayer.
The game is developed specifically for the portable unit in question; it isn’t a port of an existing console title. Furthermore, the story features an all-new hero and a plot penned by William C. Dietz, author of “Resistance: The Gathering Storm” and “Resistance: A Hole in the Sky.” The setting will be 1951 and the Chimera are swarming all over the eastern coast of the US, so it’s time to drive them back once again. Fresh protagonist Tom Riley – just a simple firefighter from New Jersey – will soldier forth in an attempt to restore some semblance of order.
The game will indeed take advantage of the Vita’s touchscreen capabilities. Melee attacks are performed by tapping the knife icon on the screen, and you can even control a grenade throw with this nifty tech. Basically, if you press and hold the grenade icon, you’ll bring up the aiming reticule, which you can then drag across the screen to target the desired the location. You’ll also be able to access your weapon’s secondary fire with the touchscreen; for instance, to enable the Auger’s always-useful shield, you’ll place both thumbs in the center of the screen and then swipe them apart.
I’m assuming you don’t have to utilize the touchscreen commands; if you want, standard buttons should suffice. As for the multiplayer, it’s bound to be a big draw. Over time, this series has toned down the sheer number of players per round; the original boasted 40 and the sequel pushed that number to an almost unheard-of 60. But it came back down to 16 in the third installment and in Burning Skies, up to 8 players will be supported in online multiplayer. Three modes will be available: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Survival.
Obviously, two of those are self-explanatory, but Survival is new and very cool. It was outlined in a recent PlayStation Blog post: It’s humans vs. Chimera; six players start as humans and two as Chimera. Obviously, the latter side is at a disadvantage to begin but the alien’s human victims are resurrected as Chimera. The winner is the human player who stands alone. As for the general layout of the online multiplayer, you’ll have the option of three preset load-outs before starting a match and as was the case in R3, you get XP for kills and assists, which in turn unlocks new abilities.
Lastly, the Vita’s Near functionality should be in play as well, which is great news for fans of the handheld. Overall, this game could be one of the big reasons to own the Vita this year, and that goes double if you’re a fan of this great franchise. Resistance: Burning Skies is slated to arrive on May 29.
4/23/2012 Ben Dutka