One of the most exciting features of the Vita for core gamers is simply the fact that it's got two analogue sticks. Screw the touch-both-sides stuff, the motion sensing, the dual cameras, the 3G whatsits and the social doo-dackies; you can play real FPS games on it, without compromises.
It's exactly that which the developer is captializing on. Introduced for the first time at Sony's Gamescom 2011 press conference, Resistance: Burning Skies is intended as a pure, no-holds-barred, first-person shooter. It's not a pocket version of anything, it's stand-alone and intended to engender the same reactions and focus in players that would normally be playing on a console. It is, in other words, a first; never before has a handheld game been able to replicate the console experience quite as literally.
But that doesn't mean that's all it is. It would be a pretty weird Vita game if it didn't use any of its (extensive) unique feature set. To this end, it sports comprehensive touch-screen support, including an anytime-access virtual button that lets you use your melee weapon whenever you want, and secondary fire for most of the weapons that lets you do context-sensitive stuff that makes sense for that weapon. For example, the alt-fire for the all-new cluster-fire gun lets you target a bunch of enemies at once for the multi-shot weapon to obliterate, while the grenade can be targeted precisely simply by touching where you want it to go.
That doesn't mean that Vita tech has been shoe-horned in, according to the developers, with the various options selected based on what the team believes works for a given situation. We haven't seen everything they're talking about either, with a hinted-at (but not detailed) weapon that utilizes the Vita's back-touch in some way.
The all-new story stars a new hero, Tom Riley, as he reacts to the Chimera invasion as seen in Resistance 2. The game allegedly tells Tom's story in a completely seamless way, with no loading screens to interrupt the flow. Players can upgrade their weapons as they choose, thanks to tech they find while they level. Specific details as to how this might work were not revealed, however the suggestion was that players can elect to spend this tech resource on improving things like fire rate, magazine capacity, or other statistics.
Visually the game is certainly superior to something on PSP or, perhaps, PS2, with some long draw distances and some of the larger enemies in particular looking visually sophisticated. It is very clear, though, that it's not up to the level of the PS3 - a theme that has been consistent with all Vita games we've played so far (and we've played them all). If you're still under the illusion that Vita is a PS3 in your pocket, you need to let that one go. It's great, and the most powerful handheld around, but it's no PS3.
There will be multiplayer, of course, however Sony are keeping how that might work under their hat for now, so we can only speculate... our best guess would be some traditional modes, along with some sort of social interaction... There's also hints of some sort of link up to Resistance 3 being possible down the track, but the way in which this information needed to be teased out of the developers lends credence to their words - in particular
The Good: A real FPS in your pocket
The Bad: Can look a bit... crude
The Ugly: Baddies that explode into tiny chunks