Resistance: Burning Skies Hands-On Preview

By Darryl Kaye on May 4, 2012, 8:32AM EDT

Despite only arriving this generation, the Resistance franchise has become one of Sony's biggest properties. We've had three games on the PlayStation 3 courtesy of Insomniac Games and there was also a spin-off game that popped up on the PlayStation Portable called Resistance Retribution via Sony's Bend studio. It was therefore no surprise when Sony announced that the Resistance franchise would be gracing the PlayStation Vita. And with the game's release looming, we had a chance to check out some of the game's single player campaign.

In Resistance: Burning Skies, you're introduced to yet another new protagonist. This time, it's Tom Riley. Unlike the game's previous protagonists, Tom's role in things is rather different. While Nathan Hale, James Grayson and Joseph Capelli were seasoned soldiers, Tom is nothing of the sort - he's just a fireman who went to help some folks out and ended up facing off against a Chimeran invasion.

Nihilistic Software has been given the task of developing this iteration of Resistance and it's clear that they've tried to utilise the capabilities of the PlayStation Vita wherever possible. This means that many of the weapons will have touch-screen functionality for their secondary fire.

In each of the weapons featured in the demo, there were different gestures required. And in many ways, this whole concept felt a bit awkward. When you're in the middle of a tough fire fight, the last thing you probably want to be doing is taking your fingers off either analog stick or the face buttons just so you can touch the screen where you want a Bullseye tag to fire. It helps that the gameplay slows down once you initiate this action, but it's a bit of a detraction. Melee and grenades are also activated by using touch controls.

To do some of the other secondary fires, you need to do actual gestures, as opposed to just pointing on the screen. To place an Auger shield, you need to do a separating swipe with your fingers and to fire the Hunter drone, you need to swipe in the direction you want it to go. This can then be further directed by gesturing on the screen. Its implementation is just overdone - you even have to tap on the screen to open doors and interact with things. This could have easily been assigned to a button press.

As the campaign starts to play out, you'll end up using the secondary fires around your play style. It's just a bit disappointing the rear touch panel couldn't have been utilised in some way for this. Of course it doesn't have the same visual accuracy and stimulus, but they could have instead been an equivalent to the shoulder buttons that would be there on the home console version. After all, you now have two analogue sticks, so the problems that were encountered with Resistance Retribution aren't there anymore.

Despite only getting to play through a couple of the levels, Burning Skies was still engaging. The array of weapons looks good and there's also a return of the weapon-select wheel, so veterans will be pleased. As you go through the campaign, you will also be able to pick up Intel and there's a basic cover system to boot. Riley also has regenerative health, but it's unclear how this is possible. In the past, it was explained by Chimeran infection.

The Resistance franchise has always been one that offered something slightly different to the first-person shooter genre and while Burning Skies perhaps isn't the best visual advertisement for the PlayStation Vita, it should still turn out to be a pretty solid game and one that's a worthy successor to Resistance Retribution. The game is due to be released on the 29th of May in North America, with a 30th of May release in Europe. If you're a fan of Resistance, this is a game that should definitely be worth checking out. Hell, there's even multiplayer being thrown in too.

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