As a fan of all of the PS3 games in the Resistance series I was looking forward to Burning Skies hitting the Vita. With it also being the platforms first dedicated FPS, excitement (as well as the pressure to deliver) was high.
Burning Skies tells the story of firefighter Tom Riley and is set between the events of Resistance 1 and 2. The Chimera invasion hits and Tom gets separated from his family. He has to find them and along the way gets tangled up in taking on the alien invading force.
Development here has been handled by Nihilistic as opposed to Insomniac, who handled the PS3 versions. They do a good job for the most part.
Graphically the game isn’t massively impressive. In general, and certainly in battle, Burning Skies looks fine. However you’ll notice a fair few jagged edges and lots of pixels during quiet moments which is a little disappointing but doesn’t distract during play.
The controls feel good – I tweaked down the sensitivity (as I always have the movement speed pretty slow) and I had no problems at all with aiming or shooting. The cover system was largely redundant in my opinion as I found myself crouching behind cover manually and just popping out when needed.
In true Resistance fashion this isn’t a game about accuracy – headshots don’t kill the Chimera with one shot, you’ll need to empty half a clip into enemies to take them down. I don’t have a problem with that (the Uncharted games are the same for the most part) but people looking for a Battlefield/Call Of Duty type experience will be disappointed.
It’s a fairly substantial game, I didn’t time it specifically but I would say the campaign was around 6/7 hours including retries. I died quite a lot but the checkpoint system was pretty well paced, although there were a few moments where the game sent you back an extra room or whatever and led to a long replay.
I certainly felt like I got my money’s worth from the campaign of Burning Skies but for me the most fun has come online.
This game caters for up to 8 players and has three game modes: Deathmatch (all v all), Team Deathmatch and Survival. Survival was most interesting to me – one or two of the players start as Chimera and the remaining players have to survive 5 minutes. If a Chimera kills a human then that human also becomes Chimera, until there are no humans left (or the 5 minutes is up).
I have had a few issues in terms of getting connected – but it’s just been a case of trying to connect until you do. Once I’ve been in a game I have never been dropped out or lost connection, which I think is really impressive.
I experienced no lag whatsoever, the online runs as smooth as the offline. The maps are well designed and the weapons are really well balanced. I have been having a blast with this online and it’s really shown me how great an FPS could be on the Vita.
Unfortunately that is the biggest compliment I can give Burning Skies, it truly shows the potential for FPS games on the Vita but doesn’t quite fulfil it. This would’ve got a 6 if it was just offline but the online did genuinely impress me, both in terms of stability and balance so I feel it’s well above average.
It’s certainly worth playing through, especially from the perspective of what other FPS’s could build on from this, but if you’re not a fan of Resistance and it’s brand of non-realistic shooting you may struggle to enjoy it. It’s the solid and enjoyable online that sees Burning Skies rise above average.