Five months into the VITA's life and owners are anxiously waiting for the game that will save the system from abysmal sales. Potential owners are searching for the reason to own a VITA, who's lineup was supposed to be full of AAA console experiences yet whether or not that promise will be fulfilled in the near future remains to be seen. Resistance is not that game.
Don't get me wrong, Resistance is a perfectly competent shooter, and i applaud Nihilistic for doing a decent job given their lackluster efforts with Move Heroes and Conan the video game. But in there lies the problem, in an effort to create a good FPS experience, Nihilistic never strayed from the formula or gave anything that would distinguish this game from other generic shooters other than the Resistance name. The end result is a great shooter outline with failed potential.
The shooting mechanics work beautifully, with the exception of some wonky touchscreen mechanics. You double tap the back panel to run, or simply hold the down button (my preferred option) and use the front touch screen for melee combat, grenades, or interactive cut scenes. The controls work and shooting feels fluid with the analogue sticks, in fact the only problem with the controls is the missing L3 and R3, but one gets used to that after playing.
Because the VITA controls so well, the gameplay doesn't suffer the same problems the PSP had with limited options. This is a full Resistance game with everything you expect, the gameplay is all here with little compromise. Small things like smaller firefights and slightly smaller scale bosses hinder the experience, but that's forgivable given this is the first FPS on the VITA. Another problem with early titles is that the graphics aren't always top notch because developers are still experimenting with the hardware. This subject has divided other critics with one half saying that they are among the best the system has to offer at the moment, and the other half saying they are akin to PSP graphics and Nihilistic has no idea what they are doing.
In my opinion, the graphics are great. They are not amazing, especially after seeing Resistance 3, but they get the job done and some might even say they come close to the first Resistance. The graphics are not nearly as bad as some critics say, the lighting is great and the textures on the weapons are sharp on the OLED screen. Though the game does not run on the VITA's native resolution, the graphics are still passable for an early system title. Uncharted is still the target to beat when it comes to VITA graphics. My only complaint is the unevenness of the graphics, ranging from early PS3 to late XBOX. Another problem is the fact that the animations look downright atrocious. The boss battles are epic and watching giant epic monsters die is satisfying and looks great, but the Chimera death animations leave a lot to be desired. When you kill a chimera, one of three things happens. Either the chimera falls the the ground with a dull thud, it explodes into two chunks that disappear, or it sets on fire and explodes. Only that last animation is done well, the others are just annoying reminders of the limitations the Nihilistic development team has. Whenever you kill a chimera, whichever of the above happens, whatever is leftover will disappear within 2-3 seconds, and it never looks great. One last graphical problem is how some enemies or AI disappear and reappear at random, often making firefights difficult, or making it easy to get lost when your AI partner teleports from one end of the room to the other.
Story-wise the game suffers. You play as Riley and that's about all you know about the character. You know his name, and that his mission is to save his family, but nothing is ever revealed about his personality. It's not very satisfying and there isn't much to talk about here other than it takes you out of the experience having to fill in the blanks when the game doesn't do it for you.
In the end, most people probably bought (or will buy) this game for the multiplayer. That's perfectly fine, it gets the job done but never does more than that. Like the single player, the multiplayer never tries to be more than a basic shootout with three modes. Deathmatch, team deathmatch and infection serve as the only options for multiplayer. There's your basic weapon customization, but it's the same stuff from the single player where, simple things like more ammo or added range. Multiplayer is fun, but you might get bored with it after a short while. If you like old school multiplayer, you'll like Resistance multiplayer. The only real issue is the lag experienced in some matches. While some matches have a smooth connection and framerate, others can become unplayable from the lag/drops in performance.
In the end, this is a game that (in my opinion) has been unjustly punished by critics for not being the system seller many were expecting. The problem here is that many critics had a high expectation for this game to be amazing, and when they got decent instead of perfect they reviewed the game with a negative mindset. The game does not deserve the abysmal reviews it got, but it does deserve a chance to prove itself. It's a great shooter with some minor problems, but that shouldn't stop you from trying it.