With its dual stick controls the PS Vita is the natural home for first-person shooting on the go, and Resistance: Burning Skies is the first game to try to deliver on that promise.
But aside from the leap into portable form, fans of the PlayStation 3 series will find Burning Skies as familiar as their favourite bullet-ridden (or moth-eaten) jumper. As at home, Resistance dishes out a story of 1950s man versus ugly extra-terrestrial invaders and their arsenal of badass alien weaponry.
At first it looks like Sony has successfully brought the console experience to its new handheld intact. Burning Skies captures the look of the series and does an excellent job of using the touchscreen to make using the game’s multi-tasking weapons second nature. The Bullseye gun, for example, uses the shoulder buttons for firing and aiming while tapping the touchscreen lets you mark which enemy your bullets should fly towards.
But on closer inspection things start to unravel. There are game design ideas that were dated a decade ago, such as unskippable cut scenes and a reliance on invisible walls to keep players from wandering in the wrong direction.
Then there are the real clangers, like the unexciting level design where a predictable cycle of tight corridors leads to wider arenas where multiple waves of aliens and a boss encounter are followed more often than not by yet more tight corridors. Or the moronic enemies who bob up and down like fairground ducks waiting to be riddled with bullets.
The multiplayer is no saviour, either – novel for a handheld but not a patch on what we’ve come to expect at home.
Burning Skies is, then, a disappointment. It’s probably enough to mildly entertain the unfussy first-person shooter fan, but it’s far from being the moment that the Vita showed the world what its dual sticks could do.