Playable for the first time in the good old U.S. of A, Resistance: Burning Skies brings the much-loved Insomniac shooter to Sony’s sexy little Vita. Developed by Nihilistic, Burning Skies is a brand new game in the series set during the invasion of the Chimera -- basically right before Resistance 2 with an all-new and axe-wielding protagonist.
As firefighter Tom Riley, you are thrown right into the heat of things with the Chimera invading a burning New York City. While Resistance’s last portable effort on the PSP was by no means a slouch visually, the graphical fidelity that the Vita brings to the handheld market is instantly noticeable with Burning Skies' fire-saturated vistas.
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The bulk of the demo mainly showcased the game's use of the Vita’s power -- both visually and technically -- but fans of the console games will feel right at home with this new entry in the series. The traditional dual-stick shooter set up is in use; the triggers zoom and shoot, and the face buttons handle things from weapon switching, jumping, and crouching. While the Vita may lack the extra buttons a DualShock has, it more than makes up for it with its touch-screen controls.
An axe icon is always on the screen in the lower left hand corner which allows for instant melee attacks with a quick tap. The fact that it is so close to the buttons as well makes it far from cumbersome to use. My only gripe really with the playability of the demo on hand was currently there was no way to sprint. Hopefully this gets worked out as the game is still far off, but since the analog sticks on the Vita don’t double as buttons this does pose a small design threat.
Where the Vita’s design shines in Burning Skies is in its use of touch during combat. Resistance’s guns have always been about their awesome secondary fire modes and the Vita’s touch makes them even sweeter. The Bullseye gun in the demo was the only gun which showed off the touch control, but the experience was fun nonetheless. Swiping a finger over a group of enemies highlights them and tapping fire unleashes the furry of the Bullseye’s homing shot. While using this function does take your hands off a stick, the accuracy, quickness, and added level of interactivity of this feature made the action feel even more personal.
Resistance: Burning Skies looked and played fantastic and the added interactivity of the Vita’s touch screen only further enhanced the experience, while not feeling tacked on. The game is still pretty far off -- as no date was given -- but from what was playable at PAX, it’s shaping up to be another stellar installment for the FPS franchise.