Resistance: Burning Skies
Aliens take a slobbery bite from the Big Apple in this thrilling first person shooter.
Sony's Resistance franchise is one of the most respected within the video game industry, and the publisher hopes to keep the good vibes going with Resistance: Burning Skies, a brutal and visually stimulating first person shooter for PlayStation Vita that makes use of the system's best features, including dual analog sticks and the five-inch touch screen.
Set in the year 1951 (just before Resistance 2), the game casts players as New York City firefighter Tom Riley, chronicling his struggle to battle the Chimera as the aliens begin their assault of United States' east coast. In the most recent demo, the courageous protagonist wakes up in a makeshift morgue on Ellis Island.
With explosions heard off camera, Riley grabs his familiar looking fireman's helmet and a razor sharp axe, which turns out to be his melee weapon of choice.
From there, he uses the axe to bust through doors and even the Chimera, chopping the creatures to pieces with one powerful swing.
How you do this is what separates Burning Skies from first person games on consoles. You can slaughter enemies the old fashioned way, via the face buttons, or repeatedly press the on-screen fire axe button, located on the bottom right.
Turns out, the touch screen has plenty of functions, starting with the weapon wheel. Again, pressing buttons will let you switch between such deadly toys as the carbine and new additions like the cluster fire gun and chain gun (both of which are Chimeran), or you can simply tap the icon.
From there, squeezing the right shoulder button fires the selected weapon. To ALT fire, though, you press the touch screen. The carbine, for instance, unleashes a grenade, while the cluster fire gun produces homing rockets; all weapons feature upgrades. That said, you paint the targets with a finger and then watch the action unfold.
Even grenades work via touch controls. The developers not only put a separate grenade button on the screen, but they give you the chance to press, hold and drag to the exact location you wish the grenade to go; holding the grenade essentially "cooks" it.
All of this makes Riley a one man wrecking crew, though he's still human, and will therefore need to avoid gunfire at all costs. That's where Burning Skies' automated cover system comes into play. Crouch near an object, and Riley automatically takes refuge behind it. From there, you can tap R to pop out and shoot, or physically maneuver the Vita (using its SIXAXIS technology) to perform basically the same action, tilting forward to peak and then backwards to return to safety.
It's an impressive game, overall, largely because it looks like a big budget first person shooter in the palm of your hand. Sony and developer Nihilistic still have work to do, as the speed and overall fluidity need to improve, but for thus far, both parties are on the right track.
This is especially true as Riley exits a building to discover the full-scale invasion, with large Chimeran ships dropping their payload on New York City, with the Statue of Liberty in the background.
Even better, the action is pure Resistance. The weapons, monsters (Sony promises new ones) and graphics mimic what we've seen in previous efforts.
Now it's just a matter of finishing this baby and getting it in players' hands, which may happen sooner than later, as Sony announced plans to release Resistance: Burning Skies as a launch title early next year. Cross your fingers.