|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: Nihilistic Software|
|Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release: May 29, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 544p||Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence|
I might have assumed that multiplayer was to be the game's saving grace since single-player is only five or six hours long. Six all-too-brief missions with an uninteresting story that uses its main hook—the player character is a firefighter—in exactly zero compelling ways. You won't really care about what's going on, which would be fine if the gameplay was interesting. But it's not.
Burning Skies reduces the Resistance experience to a set of shooting galleries, with enemies popping up in predictable patterns (seriously, if you pay attention at a part where you're dying, you can just memorize enemy patterns by rote and find an optimal way to kill them). The environments feel cramped and the graphics are early-PS2 quality on most fronts, especially with regard to the solid blocks of shiny hair that top characters' heads. There's not a lot of enemy variety, for the most part, and two very similar set-piece battles against massive Chimera. Further, enemy bodies don't remain behind for long, by which I mean at all. They hit the ground and almost immediately disappear, even after cinematic melee kills with the fire axe, which is especially jarring.
There's even a scene that goes for both pathos and shock value near the end of the game, spoiled by the graphics engine: it's impossible to tell if the shrunken arm of an infected character is the result of the Chimera virus or an unintentional error with the model. While we're on that, making you complicit in assisted suicide through an unavoidable touch of the screen seems awfully trite; Snake Eater did it better by offering the ability to look at one's surroundings while Gears of War 2 took it in the opposite direction and made it a non-participatory cinematic. This is a case of the middle-ground not hitting as strongly as either extreme.
Resistance: Burning Skies feels like an unfinished proof of concept. It works, in that it functions and does what it promises to do, and even has some great ideas from a technical perspective, but the game that surrounds it never put me on the edge of my seat, or compelled me to play through it, unable to stop at a checkpoint and take care of important events in real life. It doesn't suck one in and its multiplayer, despite a level-unlock system and eventual access to the upgrades from the campaign, feels tinny and incomplete.
This almost feels like a trend, as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, a launch title also based on an existing PS3 property, was not as great as its big brother predecessors, but that was a launch title and feasibly rushed out the gate. Resistance: Burning Skies had months after that for spitting and polishing to occur, so why does it still feel so rushed? What's its excuse?
P.S. Nihilistic, if you're going to have people full-on cursing in your alternate-reality 1950s alien invasion game, throwing in silly exclamations like "Jeepers!" during your climactic ending sequence provides neither contrast nor humor. It just seems silly and denigrates the moment.
Date: June 1, 2012