I wanted to write an honest, in depth review, pointing out things that haven't even been mentioned yet, so here it is.
First off, in reviews I've read, hardly anyone has pointed out the Main Menu, and what it's like, nor the loading times. I'd like to jump in, and say that it's great, the layout is well done, it looks nice, and the orchestral music that plays puts you straight into Resistance mode, it sounds awesome. The ability to use the analogue stick or D-pad to manoeuvre through the menu is brilliant, I like how they give you the option for those or the touchscreen, because some people prefer the physical buttons. The load times are quick, you only see the Chimeran skull at the bottom, for a short amount of time, and then BANG, you're at the Main Menu.
Now when I started the Single Player Campaign, truth be told, I wasn't really expecting much, I mean, this is the very first FPS on the Vita, and I had imagined the story, with being Resistance, to be rather average, which I guess it is, but it's insanely fun. I didn't expect what was actually given to me, which was a thoroughly enjoyable Story, with brilliant in game cut scenes, classic cheesy moments, huge bosses, and a good amount of dialogue. The voice acting is very well done, it has a real home console feel to it. Basically, it was way more atmospheric than I thought it was going to be.
There are times in the game where you can hear practically nothing but your footsteps, if you listen very carefully, and I mean carefully, you can in fact hear the faintest cries and screams from people in the background, but you really need to have your volume cranked up to hear them. They should be much louder personally. This does however, give the game an eerie and intense feeling, like when walking through buildings, and clearing out rooms, but certain places do lack ambience, like Online Multiplayer, which I'll come onto later.
The sound and audio of the game is probably its weakest part, in my opinion. In one or two occasions, it completely cut out on me for a few seconds, and then came back again, but this didn't happen often, and it won't affect your gameplay. Practically every weapon sounds good, but the Carbine, the trusty old M5A2 Folsom Carbine, probably my favourite weapon in the franchise, but it really slacks in the sound department with Burning Skies. It's a 7.62mm rifle, which should pack a meaty punch, like it does in its PS3 counterparts, but unfortunately it does sound like popcorn going off in the microwave on the Vita, or like a small .22 rifle. Grenades make a little clap to, a bit more of a beefy explosion would have been nice.
On the plus side, it's far from awful, and it shouldn't put you off the game at all. Coming onto music, the music is what shines with Burning Skies, the soundtrack is great, coming in at certain situations of intensity, or the cheesy moments during in game cut scenes, it's well placed. Although there were occasions where there was no music at all, or it suddenly cut out, which was a little disappointing, but again, didn't affect gameplay. The voice acting though, is superb, I was really impressed with the dialogue, as it certainly adds to the atmosphere of any game, in my opinion. It reminded of Half Life 2 in certain areas, with Ellie talking to you over the radio like Alyx, I didn't actually feel like I was playing a really watered down shooter for a handheld, I felt like I was playing an early PS3 game. Whether it's scripted dialogue from Ellie, or a random survivor talking to you, it's there, and it makes you feel at home.
Talking of feeling at home, the controls, they really are spot on, this might be because it's the first FPS on the Vita, but I cannot begin to explain how well they work. Actually, I can, because I'm about to. Straight away, the analogue sticks are what impressed me, I mean finally, a First Person Shooter on the Vita where we have dual analogue controls! They felt smooth and accurate, enabling me to be more precise, just like playing on my DualShock, bar the vibration. The ability to sprint via down on the D-pad, has been pretty much perfected and nailed already, it works flawlessly, and is as close to L3 as the Vita can get. I highly recommend other developers using this in future titles. You can however, double tap the rear touch pad, which works better than I thought.
The touchscreen controls really surprised me, because they work. Nothing feels too far away or awkward to touch, every element of the game using the touchscreen has been implemented well. The Fire Axe is right there, just to the left of your right analogue stick, for a quick melee attack, and your grenades are just above it. Using a quick swipe for reloading a bolt onto your Mule, or even both thumbs to make a shield with your Auger, it felt easy, didn't feel gimmicky, it just made plain and simple use, of the Vitas touchscreen. The secondary fire of most weapons, works well too, with a quick tap or swipe. I love how the game slows down time as well, when holding down on the screen, it's just been well done and well thought of.
The slowing down of time enables you to be more precise, and doesn't make you feel like you're being rushed, it's a neat little feature. Grenades for example, you can even just tap the icon for a quick throw instead of dragging it where you want it to go, which is a brilliant option in certain situations. If you make a mistake and hold down when you didn't want to, I like how you can cancel it, by dragging your finger to the icon at the top. The ability to take cover behind certain objects is great, and I've been using it a lot. I really like how they enable you to lean out, left or right, which is very handy. Despite the game doing it automatically for you, it never makes you feel like you're locked in cover, which you're not, and I like that, you can move freely.
The sights of each gun are really cool, especially the classic Carbine, I love those iron sights, and I'm glad they're lined up properly like in Resistance 3. The various scopes look great, especially the Chimeran ones, and there's even one which you can add as an attachment to your Carbine. Coming on to attachments, the Grey Tech feature is brilliant, it adds a little bit of replay value to the Single Player, other than collecting trophies. Each of the 6 upgrades for every single weapon will improve your weapon statistically, and even visually, which is cool. Plus the ability to change upgrades during the game is excellent, so you can actually pop the scope on and off your Carbine, as you please, and alternate between upgrades, since you can only have 2 of the 6 at any one time.
The graphics are, actually, pretty good, and your guns look really sharp and smooth, pretty much PS3 quality. Yet the environments tend to be a little drab, and the edges of things can be a bit rough, but I was enjoying the game to much too even care. It's similar to Fallout New Vegas visually, even colour wise too, tends to be dark in certain areas of the game. The lighting is great though, reflecting off of your gun and shiny surfaces, it certainly looks nice on the Vita's OLED screen. I was impressed with the graphics though, because I wasn't expecting Battlefield 3. The characters in the game look good and the Chimera do too, but the death animations could have been a bit better, it would have been brilliant if they were actually using the Insomniac engine, with ragdoll physics, but like I said, I was enjoying the game far too much too even worry about these issues. One thing to mention, the graphic novel cut scenes are nice, but are low quality and insanely pixelated, same with the mini video tutorials that pop up, it's strange, and also disappointing.
On to enemies now, there are a wide variety of enemies to fight, it didn't feel like I was fighting endless waves of the same basic Chimera, and there are a good amount of scripted events that bring out bigger foes, even a new guy called an Executioner, he has one arm which is rather large, due to having a rocket launcher attached to it. A fair amount of enemies make an appearance from the franchise, you've got your Hybrids, Longlegs, Leapers, Grims, plus more, and even some people who are pretty much zombies. There's a nice variety to keep you busy, plus the huge bosses are pretty impressive. One thing to note, the AI is rather poor, and the enemy is easy to defeat, so pop the game on Difficult, it'll make it more challenging.
There are a decent amount of weapons, 8 in total, 10 including Frag grenades and Hedgehog mines, which isn't a lot at all really, compared to home console shooters, but it's enough to enjoy the game. I ended up using the Mule, Bullseye, and Carbine the most, I really think the Mule is a wicked weapon, and whoever came up with it is a genius, because it's a great combination. One thing that I noticed, that I thought was really cool, were the Fire Axe animations, there's actually a few different ways to kill the enemy, with the Grims for example, you can put the whole Axe handle behind its head, and crush its face with your knee. Or you can push them away, and then hack them open like the Hybrids, it all comes down to timing I believe. Each time you pick up a new weapon you haven't used before, a little video tutorial pops up, pretty neat and helpful, just gutted they're extremely low resolution.
I need to mention Checkpoints, as they come regularly, and it automatically saves the game for you. I never found myself appearing way back, when I died, either, which was great. To conclude my view on the Single Player, I recommend it, it's got a rather cliché storyline, but it's great fun, and the cut scenes, dialogue, and unexpected set pieces are what make it thoroughly enjoyable. The bridge mission, alone, was brilliant, it had a real Call of Duty feel to it, in fact, most of the game does, but it sticks to the Resistance name. Don't expect a protagonist who you'll fall in love with, or a story that blows you away, but if you're a First Person Shooter fan, then go for it, it's too enjoyable to dislike. It took me about 8 hours to complete, as I took my time looking for Intel and Grey Tech, so it's not as short as some say. Now onto the Multiplayer, which may well be, the reason why some people are purchasing this game.
The Online Multiplayer, to put it bluntly, is nothing fancy, it's just a plain and simple shooter, which offers an experience similar to a watered down Call of Duty. You get experience points for kills obviously, but you also get them for headshots, killing someone on a killstreak or for being close to death but staying alive, and there are a few more. They all pop up on the screen in a similar way to Call of Duty, and I'm glad they included that notification feature, as it's always given you a sense of satisfaction with online games. Even the lobby screen has the ability to vote for the next map, again, similar to Call of Duty. I've played a couple of rounds in each game mode, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Survival, and they've all been great fun.
When in a game, I've never lost connection, it's always ran smooth, and funny enough, I haven't witnessed much lag so far either. Nihilistic have released a patch as of now, for the issues with joining a game, and it has fixed them for many people, although for me, the problem has remained a few times. I've lost the match connection 6 times altogether, since playing online, but it only happens in the lobby screen. I can find 8 players with ease, it's just actually beginning the round that has been the problem, but from what I've played so far, it's an enjoyable experience.
It does have an old school feel to it, which I love, but there is no mini map or indications of which direction you're taking fire from, and as I mentioned earlier when talking about Single Player, it lacks in ambience, and is very dull and quiet, you can only hear your own footsteps, and you can't really tell where the gun shots are coming from. These problems aside, the gameplay is good fun nevertheless, and there are a few upgrades to unlock as you level up. With the experience points you've earned, you can spend them on upgrades once they're unlocked. There aren't many, but it adds to the replay value. Survival is probably my favourite mode out of all 3, it's a bit different, and rounds can end quickly, but can also pocket you a match bonus of 2500xp within a matter of minutes, which is handy.
I got a notification that I was infected on the lobby screen, and I received a 2.5x bonus for 3 hours, which was pretty cool, and this got me to make the most of it, by carrying on playing. I believe this happened via a friend through the Near app, as I know you can infect other people via the Near functionality. It asks if you wish to share the infection on Near, so I said yes of course, it's a cool little idea that gets you playing. I like the Edit Loadout section with the Multiplayer, and how you can see your character to the right of the screen, the layout of all the menus, as mentioned at the beginning of this review, are great, you've got your Stats, Leaderboard, and most of what you would find in a standard online shooter.
To conclude the Multiplayer, I'd say it's a great start, but there are definitely things to improve upon, yet this doesn't stop you having a good time. It's nothing special, by all means, it literally is, your basic, run of the mill, online shooter, but with it being in the palm of your hands, that's what makes it great fun. I'm hoping everything I covered in this review gave you a good insight into what to expect, as I wanted to be honest about many things, and come onto areas of the game which haven't even been spoken about yet.
Resistance Burning Skies, is in no way shape or form, a poor title, it offers a fun and enjoyable experience, both online and off. Despite the sound issues, the rough visuals in parts, and overall lack of polish, it's still an impressive start to the First Person Shooter genre on the Vita, and just the controls alone, prove that they'll work. I look forward to seeing what the future brings, Call of Duty and Killzone are sure to step everything up a notch, and show what the Vita can really do. I'd happily give this game, an 8/10.