Vita Game ReviewsResistance: Burning Skies Review

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Resistance: Burning Skies Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

7.7

Gameplay:

 

7.3

Sound:

 

7.8

Control:

 

7.5

Replay Value:

 

7.1

Online Gameplay:

 

7.0

Overall Rating:       7.4

 

 

Publisher:

SCEA

Developer:

Nihilistic

Number Of Players:

1-8

Genre:

Genre

Release Date:

May 29, 2012

I could never really get into shooters on handhelds. You’re missing such a crucial control element – the analog sticks – that it either feels old-fashioned or just plain clunky. And of course, you never get those super high production values we so often associate with top-quality FPSs. Therefore, I was excited to put the Vita’s sticks to good use in Resistance: Burning Skies, which actually does feel a lot like its console counterparts. It’s just a little underwhelming, that’s all.

In terms of graphics, we get the benefit of some great character detail and spectacular outdoor vistas; the natural and urban landscapes have often been high watermarks of this franchise, after all. The effects are solid and the cut-scenes are well-paced and nicely presented, and as usual, enemy design – especially when it comes to bosses – is quite impressive. But the textures are sort of disappointing and too many of the indoor environments are repetitive and bland, which makes the player pine for the out-of-doors throughout.

The audio has its own highs and lows, as the soundtrack is appropriately epic and fitting (check our interview with the composers to learn more about the fantastic music). The only problem is that Nihilistic doesn’t take enough advantage of those effective tracks. There’s simply too much of an emphasis on the effects and when those dissipate, the music isn’t always given the opportunity of filling the gaps. That being said, the voice performances are pretty good (even if the main character doesn’t talk much) and despite a few audio issues during multiplayer, the sound is solid.

Although the story takes place between Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2, you don’t play as Nathan Hale; you play as Tom Reilly, a New York firefighter who finds himself in a dire situation. The Chimera are running amok in America for the first time and when the invaders kidnap his wife and child, he angrily and desperately steps into the fray. He has earned his hero stripes as a firefighter but now it’s time to engage in a very different kind of “fire fight.” It’s a decent background for a plot, even if it’s a little clichéd and predictable.

Now, the Resistance campaigns have always been relatively lengthy and always – at least in my opinion – satisfying. Perhaps the biggest downside of Burning Skies is that the single-player quest only runs about six hours or so, and worse, too much of the adventure feels repetitive and generic. As I mentioned when discussing the visuals, the indoor environments are a little bland; they’re bare and stereotypical and a little boring. This disappointing feeling kind of infects the rest of the game, too, as the Chimera don’t feel as dynamic as they have in the past.

It’s not that the AI is bad; it’s actually pretty decent. But the pacing isn’t quite as tight as it has been in this vaunted series, and furthermore, the story seems a tad disjointed. There are too many different character perspectives; we’re often left wondering what the main character actually thinks about all this. Then you just head into the action again, hiding, aiming, taking down legions of foes, and generally following a set path. The latter has never bothered me before in the Resistance games, but Burning Skies feels more like a corridor shooter than the others.

That all being said, I think it’s very important to note that overall, this game really does feel like a console iteration of one of my favorite franchises. One might assume this would allow me to be more lenient but in fact, I’m far stricter when it comes to a series I really love. So when I begin the gameplay breakdown with negatives, it’s only because I care. ;) I still have to say I had great fun with the game because in short, just about all the mechanics work very well. Even the touchscreen elements don’t detract from the fun factor; in truth, they enhance it to some extent.

Those dual analog sticks are Godsends. You’ll slide right into the FPS routine as if you really were playing with a controller in your hands. Using the touchscreen to melee, interact with the environment, and tag doomed Chimera with the Bullseye weapon is just a pleasure. On top of which, I’m convinced the developers toned down the enemy difficulty just so you can really appreciate the slick technological capability of the Vita. Normally, I really hate taking my fingers away from the standard buttons but here, I had a blast. I still prefer to use regular means of cycling through my weapons, though.

Oh, and the weapons rock. They rock because they always rock in Resistance. I maintain that Resistance 3 has the single most diverse and entertaining array of weapons of any shooter this generation. Yeah, I said it. And while Burning Skies doesn’t quite measure up to R3 in this regard, it’s still worthy of the franchise name. Plus, with a new feature that allows you to upgrade your weapons with “Grey” tech (produced by the Chimera), you just can’t help but love your ever-expanding and enhancing arsenal. Experiment and customize, baby!

The multiplayer isn’t all that impressive, however, as it’s mostly standard fare for up to eight players. There are only a handful of maps, three modes (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Survival) and the perks are unlockable weapons and mods from the campaign. For a portable experience, it isn’t bad, but it may feel a trifle lacking to those who are used to more robust and in-depth multiplayer action typically found on consoles. Even so, it all works quite well and if you have fun with the single-player, you’ll likely want to give the multiplayer a shot.

Resistance: Burning Skies holds true to the franchise spirit and gives gamers a reason to play a handheld FPS. The weapons are fantastic, the nifty touchscreen elements work nicely and add flavor, and the overall control is responsive and reliable. It’s just too bad that the entire production didn’t live up to expectations. There’s a bit too much in the way of the generic, the been there, done that, and the clichéd. For a portable shooter, it’s really quite good but for a Resistance entry, one finds it somewhat lacking. Still, it’s well worth a look.

The Good: Great music. Touchscreen elements are simple and effective. General feel of a console FPS. Overall control is very reliable. AI is competent, if not necessarily challenging. Totally awesome arsenal.

The Bad: Textures are iffy. Soundtrack not allowed to shine often enough. Sometimes feels bland and generic. Blasé multiplayer.

The Ugly: “This warehouse battle is making me yawn.”

5/29/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (23 posts)

clockwyzebkny
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 @ 10:22:47 PM
Reply

I was planning on picking this up tomorrow but I am not a real big Resistance fan. I only played a couple minutes of the first two ps3 iterations. Never played the third.
However, i would really like a solid fps on the Vita. Not sure what to do.....lol that's funny. I 4got that i planned 2 try the demo. It was downloading in the background and just finished lol I guess i'll try it.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 5 down Disagree with this comment

CrusaderForever
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 8:45:11 AM

I highly recommend you play the demo if you are not a Resistance junky. Also, you should start with Resistance Fall of Man which is an amazing PS3 founder. This is a great series and is the definition of Sci-Fi Shooter. They get better and better as you play too. I haven't finished Resistance Burning Skies yet but i would rate them this way:
Resistance 3
Resistance 2
Resistance Burning Skies
Resistance Fall of Man
Burning Skies may move up but 2 and 3 were so amazing not sure if that's even possible. Anyone on the fence about Resistance should get OFF now and give RFoM a try, it's dirt cheap!

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Fabi
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 10:00:43 AM

Resistance 3 is so underrated, it's a crime. Such a great game.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ZenChichiri
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 @ 10:34:58 PM
Reply

Darn. Kinda sucks it's fairly generic. I really wanted another amazing title for my Vita. Ah well gonna wait for Gravity Rush then. I'll pick this up down the road when it's cheaper.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Fabi
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 @ 10:44:50 PM
Reply

How can someone give it a 2/10 and someone else a 8/10? I really think some people just have it out for Sony. So anytime Sony makes a game that's not so hot, reviewers make it sound like it's worse than it is.

I'm not going in expecting Bioshock 3. It's the first FPS on the Vita. I do think they shoulda taken more time on it, but I still think I'm gonna have a blast for what it is.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 12:29:05 AM

Way closer to an 8. No idea what people are looking at who are giving this game low scores.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

DeusExMachina
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 1:06:17 AM

Fabi Ive asked myself countless times whats up with all the Sony specific bashing for every little thing while M$ and Ninty usually get away with murder.

My ONLY explanation is jealousy.

Serious I can go on all day about this subject.

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Fabi
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 2:31:20 AM

I know, it's just so blatant.

@Ben - That Destructoid review is just ridiculous. In order for a game to be a 2, it has to be nearly broken. From what I can read from most reviews, that is not the case.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 9:59:17 AM

It's Destructoid. That's all you need to know.

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 10:01:36 AM

2/10 is a game that's not simply broken, but is fatally flawed at the software level, as in it has a bug that won't permit the game to be played properly. Destructoid is a P.O.S. review site, and their repeated production of controversial and extremely low scoring reviews for Sony platform games is telling with respect to their bias.

As far as I can see, unless a game has a fatal bug that prevents full play, it would not be scoring in the 2/10 range. The very worse that a playable game that does not feature glaring issues should get would be about a 4/10 and that would be a poor game in a genre the reviewer hates.

Review disparity of this nature is what gives game reviewers and game new sites a poor reputation in general. Personally, I'm of the opinion that the sooner Destructoid it no longer counted as a gaming news site or review source by places like Google and Metacritic, the better. They really are not a reliable source.

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Shams
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 @ 11:02:15 PM
Reply

Dang. I was expecting great things since Nihilistic's Resistance:Retribution was totally AAA. Total downer. Thanks for the timely review, Ben. I'll hold off on Burning Skies.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 1:40:53 AM

Nihilistic didn't do Retribution, that was Uncharted: Golden Abyss's Sony Bend.

Nihilistic did Playstation Move Heroes. I.e. the reason even a 7.4 is better than I was expecting :)

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Shams
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 7:22:49 AM

Thank you. For some reason I always confuse the two.

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 10:09:25 AM

if you want a portable twinstick shooter, why would you take this review as being such a downer. The key thought I got from it was this;

"For a portable shooter, it’s really quite good but for a Resistance entry, one finds it somewhat lacking. Still, it’s well worth a look."

The point being that for a home console title this would be lacking, but for a portable title, it's really quite good. I don't get why people are jumping on the negativity band wagon with respect to Vita. When it was announce people expected a $500 price tag, and it came in at $249.99. but of course we did get to complain about the memory cards. There is a lovely negativity bandwagon forming now though with the clamoring for a price cut - already, and the poor reviews for some games on Vita that really don't deserve such poor reviews. Case in point Resistance. Ben's review seems very fair. It's by no means a negative review. there have been reviews that have given what I consider to be unjustifiably low scores to the game. I mean if you want an example of a Vita game that deserves a 2, 3, or 4 out of 10 review, look no further than ridge Racer for Vita which is an incomplete game at best, and a horribly cynical money grab at worst.

But, hey, don't let me spoil the negativity express...

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Shams
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 2:54:51 PM

I understand. I'm just disappointed that it's not AAA, since, imo, every previous entry in the series has been.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 12:55:23 AM
Reply

"I maintain that Resistance 3 has the single most diverse and entertaining array of weapons of any shooter this generation. Yeah, I said it."
The truth.

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ZenChichiri
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 12:57:41 AM
Reply

They should choose another job for the next Resistance game. "Video Game Reviewer vs Chimera". Too bad video games weren't around then :(

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___________
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 5:51:29 AM
Reply

this games the perfect example of why the journalistic industry holds ZERO credibility these days!
their inconsistency is just down right unbelievable!
i just cant understand how some can give it a 4 or 5 and others can give it a 8!
its a shame its turned out as poor as it has.
insomniac has worked on 2 IPs this gen.
resistance and R&C.
and both are being left by crap games!
shame we have to remember 2 of the greatest franchises ever made like this!

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 8:32:02 AM
Reply

Nice review Ben, a little lower than my score, but a great review.

I bought this last night and played for 2 hours and I am loving it! I give RBS a solid 8. The controls are really good. Nothing like playing a FPS on the Vita with the twin sticks. When I played Unit 13 I just imagined what a FPS would be like and I was right. The touch screen controls are genius! It's so great to be shooting twin stick style and then be surprised by a Chimera and then quickly press the Axe icon on the touch screen to deliver a death blow with the Axe! Love it! I haven't tried the MP yet because I knew it was having problems. I think I am just going to wait until I beat the game and attain the SP trophies. I am not even mad right now that I paid $39.99 and then an hour later Sony dropped the price down to $35.99. This is a true $39.99 game.

So far I am enjoying the story. Tom Riley seems like a great character. The firefighter aspects to the story are cool.

The sound is the weakest part but doesn't destroy the experience. I am not sure why they cannot just cut and paste sounds from Resistance 3 into this game. Must be a property type ownership of assets that a dev must create their own sounds. The textures are a little washed out and kind of reminds me of Mortal Kombat. This must allow the Vita to perform better, not sure what's up with that. Uncharted Golden Abyss didn't have washed out textures. As a matter of fact I was playing Uncharted GA the other day and it explodes with color. Anyways, it's something I can live with.

I really enjoy the fact that the Chimera explode after I kill them. It's a very satisfying technique to remove bodies from the playing field so the game performs better. The weapons are great! The mule is welcome addition and loading the incendiary crossbow by dragging your finger down on the touch screen is a great idea. Cannot wait to see what other weapons are waiting for me. The upgrade cubes are great idea as well. I upgraded my first weapon last night and liked the 6 options they gave me. I had a tough time choosing which upgrade to use.

I don't understand why this game is getting such bad reviews. It's a great "Vita" game for sure. This is not a PS3 game and I think that is was is misleading. For so long the Vita/NGP was known as a portable PS3. It isn't, but it is close, but it isn't up to par with the PS3. The Vita stands on it's own 2 feet and needs to be reviewed as such. I guarantee you that Dtoid's reviewer made this mistake. Nice work Nihilistic I am really enjoying your game!

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clockwyzebkny
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 3:50:55 PM
Reply

Wow Why did my first comment get thumbed down so much? All I said was I was basically on the fence and I'm not a big Resistance fan.

Anyway I didn't get to download the demo yesterday but I still bought the full game during lunch break. Didn't get to play much. But so far the controls are solid The graphics are ok. I'll keep you all posted

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Solid Fantasy
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 4:39:01 PM
Reply

Some solid games so far and certainly plenty of variety but nothing above a 9.5 for the vita yet. Give me a full cannon AAA title and I'll make the purchase.

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Laguna
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 @ 7:47:30 PM
Reply

I thought Uncharted Golden abyss was already a AAA title?

anyways, I think the resistance series needs to get focus. Either be like the syphon filter games on the psp or a new developer for ps3 or ps4.

Use what made Resistance 1 so popular and take the best aspects of 2 and 3.

The games keep changing, we need a consistent identity for the series.

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clockwyzebkny
Thursday, May 31, 2012 @ 6:03:29 PM
Reply

Pretty solid so far. I do like Uncharted and Unit 13 more at this point but that can change. I do prefer the outdoor environments over the indoor. lol

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