Touching the screen to open doors is only the start of the game's irritating, look-at-me touchscreen features. While bullets and weapons can be collected simply by running over them, you have to stop, look down and tap an icon to gather weapon upgrades. Touching is also entwined with your gun's alternate fire, usually requiring you to forgo aiming or moving in a firefight while you poke at something. Tagging an enemy with the Bullseye's homing marker, which lets you easily fire at quick-moving enemies or around corners, can only be done by touching your target. The worst offender is probably in deploying the Auger rifle's shield. You place two fingers (usually thumbs) on the screen, together, and then drag them apart horizontally as if you're opening an adorable, annoying little coin purse. It's a poor gesture to perform, and a downright rude one to receive from the developer.
Even the weapon upgrade system, which should be a simple matter of selecting things from a menu, becomes a weird, eye-rolling process of spinning a cube around to find a symbol that corresponds with your choice of augmentation. The only source of entertainment from all this comes from the laughable cutscene explaining it: Your colleague in resisting, Ellie, picks up a glowing block from the back of a truck, immediately knows to slam it against her rifle (thus popping in a grenade launcher), and carries on as if that isn't the most jarring and bizarre thing ever.
Ellie, as it turns out, has other suspicious and clearly supernatural talents. If she's feeling protective of you, she can transform into an immovable object – usually in a narrow corridor or stairway – and save you from progressing into another deadly shootout. Better yet, she can beat you to an important location by teleporting, or by traversing mysterious paths where none visibly exist. If you ever see her going left when you go right, you'll usually discover that her path is a cul-de-sac.Resistance: Burning Skies
is unflinching in its linearity, and rarely makes an effort to obscure its tunnels. This isn't about being linear in general – it is linear in a granular fashion, and almost never allows for interesting encounters, flanking opportunities or agency when moving between bits of cover. Levels all feel constrictive, and the dour color palette doesn't help the dull nature of its locations. The start-to-sewer time is awfully short on this one.
Go ahead and append tiresome, circle-strafe-to-win bosses, unskippable cutscenes, forgettable multiplayer modes and questionable checkpoints (enjoy walking through a long, twisting corridor every time the final monster smashes you!) to the list of complaints. It's like being in a box-ticking race with Nihilistic. They're hitting everything that would make this a portable first-person shooter – factually
– while you check everything that makes it a poor shooter in general.Resistance: Burning Skies
elicits leniency because all of its accomplishments are cupped in your hands, but those accomplishments are so few in number that they're not worth picking up in the first place. The Vita can and will do better than this hot lump of coal.
This review is based on the downloadable version of Resistance: Burning Skies, provided by Sony.
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