Platforms - PSVita
Genre - FPS
Aust. Classification – MA15+
Publisher - Sony Computer Ent.
So where do you go when the story has ended and there is no other story worth telling? Other than they all lived happily ever after or Chimera instills themselves into society with the premise of "my step-mother is a Chimera". Well in Burning Skies' case it's back to the beginning of course. But this not a prequel - this is a different person's account of the events that took place. A new protagonist and a new perspective. Fireman Tom Riley takes up the reins and weapons to fight for his country rather than just the fires within it. Not only is the story told from a new perspective but the camera angle has also changed, so instead of playing in Third Person (like the other Resistance games), Burning Skies is played out in First Person (FPS) for this outing. This caught me off guard at first as it didn't feel like Resistance, but after about 15 minutes I found my groove and once I had accumulated a few weapons and the action started to heat up everything (except for the camera angle) just felt familiar.
The weapons are familiar but they are now designed differently to take advantage of the PSVita's new features. New weapons include a dual purpose arsenal that uses both primary and secondary ammunition (secondary usually used the touch screen in some way) and firing modes including my favourite, a double barrel shotgun with a mule napalm crossbow with exploding arrows. Not too far behind this was the grenade launcher/Assault Rifle, the Six Eye shoots Burr mines that stick to enemies before exploding, the Bullseye can tag an enemy so no matter where they jump or fly to your bullets are always guaranteed to hit their target and of course the Auger is always reliable for seeing through walls.
The developers have really utilised the new front Touch Screen using it for many excellent features of the game and mostly in relation to the secondary fire or feature of a weapon such as the Touch and hold to tag an enemy. This directs bullets to that selected bad guy without locking on and wherever he goes the bullets follow. This is a great feature and although at first I didn't like using it too often (I like to look at what I was shooting, rather than my finger), but after a while I found it to be less of a hindrance and more of a crucial element. Other things that I considered useful, thanks to the touch screen included the shield that can be activated by a pinch on the touch screen or the Hunter Drone that can be launched and steered using it while it is also used to load and pull back the Crossbow attached to the Shotgun when required was just plain cool.
Using a submenu you can utilise what's called Grey Tech to upgrade weapons, while only two upgrades are available at a time these upgrades include faster firing, additional ammo, extended range, increased damage, improved aiming and less recoil, bigger explosions etc, depending on the weapon of choice. So as usual it is all about the weapons and how they can be made cooler and more efficient, even changing the gameplay environment with something as simple as a touch screen.
I was really disappointed to see the enemies disappear so quickly after being killed and I'm sorry but the cover mechanic sucks. You can't take cover while standing you need to be crouched and even then you can’t use it to peer around doorways or around corners and I also found it was a bit awkward using the direction pad to look over and to the side of objects even when I was in cover and ducked behind objects. The rest of the movement and everything else in the game I found to be quite intuitive and gradual but the enemy AI (Artificial Intelligence) ended up being ANSI (Artificial Not So Intelligent) and on some occasions I could be standing right next to an enemy for about 10 sec before he noticed me, maybe the Chimera needed more eyes towards the back of their head.
Visually it looks pretty good except for the occasional inconsistencies where the landscape lost texture and gave the game a bizarre unfinished look, however this was rectified when I had to go back to the last checkpoint and I didn't notice too many other noticeable discrepancies. As usual the motion comic propaganda posters approach to the cutscenes remains here and suitably so as it is reflective of the time period in which the game is set.
Matchmaking is done automatically in Multiplayer and it seems to do an alright job, but nothing will help how crap I am at FPS games, especially in Deathmatch so I can only judge on everything else in between dying and respawning. It is mostly a smooth ride but I did experience a few system lock ups while playing online. What I really liked was how you can change your load out at every respawn as well so you are not stuck with that piece for extended periods, unless you are one of those who is good at it (nearly everyone but me) in which case it doesn't concern you, so move along, nothing to see here...For the final score and more, go to Maceman Reviews
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