When Resistance: Fall of Man burst on to the scene at the beginning of this console generation, it helped set the standard of what a first person shooter could look and feel like on the PlayStation 3. Over the last six years the franchise has grown to see three console releases, as well as a portable iteration on the PSP, and it continues to inspire fans and critics alike with its gorgeous graphics and compelling story. As if it's coming full circle, Resistance: Burning Skies is the first full-fledged FPS to be released on the dual analog stick driven PS Vita. Following in the tradition of its predecessors, Burning Skies is establishing just what this new portable platform can do for the genre.
Burning Skies breaks away from the storyline of the three console games, and takes place in August of 1951, as the east coast of the United States has begun to be invaded by the Chimera. Players step into the boots of firefighter Tom Riley as he tries to help keep the aliens from taking the U.S., as well as find his wife and daughter. For fans of the series, it's a great way to build out the franchise's fiction, and get a up close look at the events of the invasion of New York that otherwise might have been overlooked by the other Resistance games.
Marking the first time that dual analog control has ever been available for an FPS on a portable device, Burning Skies takes advantage of every possible button to help recreate the experience of a console shooter on the go. The controls should instantly feel familiar for anyone that has spent any time with a modern shooter, with a couple of slight exceptions. While you won't be fighting with the controls to aim or move, most players will have the tendency to want to click in the left analog to run, and unfortunately that's just not possible on the Vita – instead this is mapped to the down button on the d-pad. Additionally, the game's developers, Nihilistic Software, took full advantage of the touchscreen, mapping secondary functionality for all of the weapons to the screen, as well as the options to use it for melee attacks and grenades. Sure, it takes a couple missions to get used to, but ultimately players will adjust, and find themselves forming new habits on how to play.
On the graphics front, Burning Skies holds the same ground with any other Vita title. It's not quite PS3 level, but it's better than anything that you would have played on your PS2. The environments are acceptably detailed and the enemies are swift on their feet, and ferocious looking up close. For anyone that has come to expect the utmost best graphics a system can provide (particularly early on in a system's life), Burning Skies delivers, and Resistance fans won't be disappointed.
One of the other things that helps complete the Burning Skies package is the inclusion of multiplayer. The game features three different modes (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Survival) on six different maps, with a maximum of eight players at a time (4 vs. 4) over Wifi. Included as well is the obligatory leveling up, load out options, and unlockables that come along with a modern online shooter. It's really as straight forward as possible, but it offers a nice option for anyone that's looking to get in their multiplayer fix on the go.
Overall, Resistance: Burning Skies is a standout in the Vita's library for so many different reasons. It's the first true FPS. It's the first true portable eight-person multiplayer shooter. It's a new entry into a franchise that fans truly love. Most PS Vita owners will likely agree that one of the reasons they own the device is to compliment their PS3. That being said, it would be an utter misstep to not add Resistance: Burning Skies to your library. You already know you're going to like it; fortunately, it's actually a good game to boot. The best part is, since it has its own independent story, you can enjoy it whether or not you've played the other games or not making it the ideal game for any Vita owner... well, any Vita owner that likes shooting aliens.