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'Resistance: Burning Skies' preview: Interplanetary warfare on the go

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Resistance: Burning Skies' screenshot

© Sony


Resistance: Burning Skies sees Sony's interplanetary warfare series make its way to the Vita. The platform has already proven that it can deliver an experience close to that of home consoles, so the arrival of a fully-fledged first-person shooter (FPS) on the platform is certainly something to shout about.

Developed by Nihilistic Software, Resistance: Burning Skies takes place around the events of the second core entry in the series, depicting the Chimera's invasion of America's east coast. It features a new protagonist in the shape of Tom Riley, a gruff firefighter who becomes embroiled in the conflict due to his strong sense of duty.

Players can safely dive into this one without prior knowledge of the franchise. There were no references to the events of the previous games in the segments we played, and the core gameplay will be intuitive to anyone who has ever experienced an FPS. Those familiar with Resistance will also feel right at home. Many of the controls mirror their PlayStation 3 counterparts, and the Vita-specific additions are thoroughly explained via a comprehensive tutorial system.

Resistance: Burning Skies' screenshot

© Sony

Resistance: Burning Skies' screenshot

© Sony



Series hallmarks with touch-screen controls

Resistance: Burning Skies replicates the Chimera-blasting gameplay of its console forbears down the the finest detail. It's a largely linear affair where tactical play is encouraged every step of the way. Using cover, conserving ammo, and switching weapons when appropriate are essential if you want to avoid becoming a bullet-ridden corpse.

Series hallmarks are firmly in place, but the inclusion of touch-screen controls makes this more than a scaled-down port. The front touch-screen has a variety of functions - from opening doors with a single tap, to hurling grenades with a deft swipe - while the secondary fire mechanic of old is also touch-activated. As was the case before, every weapon in your arsenal features a special ability, except here they are harnessed through tap or swipe.

Melee attacks are also carried out through touch functionality. Our leading man carries a robust firefighter's axe, which is immensely satisfying to swing at the Chimeras, but also used to hack through obstacles. The rear touch-pad has been incorporated too, enabling players to break into a sprint by double-tapping the underside of the Vita.

Resistance: Burning Skies' screenshot

© Sony

Resistance: Burning Skies' screenshot

© Sony



The tools of the trade

There's an impressive variety to your arsenal, with many of the guns from the PS3 titles making a welcome return. When armed with the Bullseye, players can tap enemies to lock on before taking them down with a lethal volley. The Mule is a powerful crossbow, which players can load up with devastating napalm bolts by swiping along its hilt.

The Auger has been a fan-favourite since the series launched, enabling players to zap foes through walls. This time around, you can create an energy shield by sliding two digits apart from the centre of the screen. Switching between guns is swift and smooth, thanks to the returning weapons wheel that's activated with the triangle button and navigated with the left thumb stick.

Upgrades are another recurring theme. Player will gather Chimera technology throughout the game, and this can be used to improve various attributes of your weapons. It comes together reasonably well, though we noted some potential issues.

When rising up from cover to reel off a few rounds, switching between primary and secondary fire-power is fiddly. Misfiring your secondary attack through accidental screen prods is also a risk you face. We found that this can occur if your attempt to open a door or activate a switch is slightly off, and is particularly costly if your secondary weapon happens to be a rocket.

Resistance: Burning Skies' screenshot

© Sony

Resistance: Burning Skies' screenshot

© Sony



Blockbuster quality presentation

Resistance: Burning Skies certainly acts the part, and with near PS3-quality graphics, it looks the part too. The character models and backdrops are rich in detail, and there's an impressive level of variety when it comes to creature design. One of the criticisms of the previous games is that you spent too much time battling the same old Chimera soldiers, but that certainly doesn't apply here.

Less than three levels in, the player will already have tackled around ten varieties of foe, from pesky insect-like aliens to screen-filling behemoths. The high production values ensure that battles against these monstrosities are no less intense than they are in the PS3 titles. Whether you're locked in a shootout with a dozen gun-toating Chimeras or fleeing from a burning building, it's a visual and sonic treat to rival the best the Vita has to offer.

Resistance: Burning Skies will no doubt set new standards for the first person shooter genre on handheld platforms, successfully capturing the look and feel of its blockbuster predecessors. The final product, which will include a range of multiplayer modes, looks on course to become a must-have addition to the Vita's library.

Resistance: Burning Skies is released for PS Vita in North America on May 29, and in Europe on June 1.

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