That Other PlayStation Vita FPS (Resistance: Burning Skies)

While the PlayStation Vita never got the amount of FPS games it deserved in light of its dual analogue sticks, the few it received were a lot of fun. Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified had a stellar multiplayer. Borderlands 2 was a flawed port but ultimately a ton of fun. And, of course, Killzone: Mercenary is an incredible game that could be considered the best portable FPS game period. Amongst these is a fourth FPS which is having its seventh anniversary tomorrow – Resistance: Burning Skies.

Developed by Nihilistic, Burning Skies continues the fantastic PS3 series created by Insomniac Games. However, while those games had enjoyable stories and fun levels, Burning Skies heavily misses the mark. Its story is painfully generic; although it connects point A to point B well enough, it doesn’t do much beyond that. In fact, it feels like the developers forgot about the story themselves sometimes, as you’ll occasionally have long stretches without any narrative development beyond random mumbling from the protagonist.

This averageness translates to the levels. The entire game is extremely linear, and while this can work if done right, the levels here feel like they’re like that because the developers wanted to do the bare minimum. They’re playable and even have some cool moments from time to time, but the entire experience is ultimately dull after a few hours. This is exemplified by the lack of any gameplay outside of shooting – again, this could work if the shooting has a lot of depth and/or the level design uses it in fresh and entertaining ways, but the game never elevates beyond “meh”.

Fortunately, the shooting is at least well done. The controls are intuitive, the guns are varied and the enemies, while not as diverse as the main series, are generally interesting, especially the oversized bosses you will encounter throughout. Despite the core shooting being done well, a lot of the equipment is relegated to the touch screen and back touchpad in ways that feel awkward and unnatural, and I consequently rarely used it unless I had to.

Its presentation is superb. Surroundings are detailed and graphically on point, and while some areas were barren, most of the levels clearly had a lot of work put into them in regards to the visuals and aesthetic. The sound is the same story, albeit inconsistent. The soundtrack features nice orchestral scores that always add to the experience in some way. Moreover, the space in between the music is filled with sounds of gunfire and screaming that add tons of ambience and immersion to the playthrough. Unfortunately, there’s also some areas that have no music and/or scarce sound effects (and not scarce in the “ominous silence” kind of way), meaning you can sometimes be sucked out of the moment due to these fluctuations. It’s a shame because, as I said, the sound is generally fantastic when it is there.

Lastly, Burning Skies features a multiplayer mode. I’m not going to discuss this much because, honestly, there’s not much to say here. It’s kind of fun for a few games but, on a console that is also home to Killzone: Mercenary and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (games that have much better and addictive multiplayer experiences), there’s simply no reason to play Burning Skies’. Which is probably a good thing because, on the multiple days I tried to get a game recently, I couldn’t even get into a match.

Overall, Resistance: Burning Skies is just… there. It isn’t phenomenal but it also isn’t terrible, it’s just very, very generic. If you find it cheap or want an easy platinum then it might be worth it, but otherwise I just can’t recommend it because its peers do everything better.

What do you think of it? Do you think I was too harsh, or do you agree with my opinion? Give me your thoughts in the comments or via my Twitter profile @JoshsJots. Follow me there for weekly Vita content, including another article tomorrow.

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