Vita-love meltdown – Resistance demo impressions – Gravity Rush demo impressions

I’m sitting here right now in a state of, well, I’m not sure what it is.  I wouldn’t call it “rage” as I don’t think videogames are capable of eliciting that out of me.  But I’m certainly not happy.  I made this site a few months back because of the general excitement I felt about the Playstation Vita.  There were a lot of naysayers and ITS DOOMED-sayers but they were easy to brush off with a rather full launch with a wide breadth of games and a piece of hardware that was second to none.

But I’m starting to feel fatigued.  Obviously work on this site has slowed down lately, part of that is Vita-fatigue, part of it is that there just isn’t anything to write about.  Mortal Kombat came out at the very start of the month and now Resistance is coming out at the very end and there hasn’t been a goddamn thing in between.  I still play my Vita daily, as the 29 games I own still offer 100s of hours of shit to do – but I like new stuff. I want new stuff.  Badly.

So today was a day I was looking forward to.  There aren’t many Resistance ‘super fans’ on the planet but I am pretty darn close to one.  Hell, I even picked resistance 2 as my game of the year in 2009, and people who like Resistance don’t even like that game.  But late last night the reviews started pouring in for Resistance: Burning Skies and they were quite scary.  Jim Sterling decided to troll everyone by giving it a 2.  IGN made a pretty decent case for it being extremely average in a review that ended with a 5.5.  There were higher scores, but they were all from smaller sites that are typically just excited to get review copies for anything.

The metacritic score has slowly crept its way up to 60.  But I got so scared off by the reviews that I decided to rent it instead of buying it (so expect our review even later than usual).  I am installing the demo as I type this though and will give my impressions in real-time.  I almost had a coronary earlier when the price was listed as $39.99 on the store, but they fixed it, and it now has the proper 10% discount (which still isn’t enough Sony, you are extorting money from those of us who want to buy games from you and not from a store – why would you do that?).  I also have Gravity Rush sitting in the pipeline.

These games have a bit of significance.  The Vita needs something – anything.  And I already feel like it’s too late for Resistance.  Even if it ends up being my favorite Resistance game ever, there’s no way it’s going to fight through the tide of bad press.  So that leaves Gravity Rush, which is already scoring well.  And then there’s E3, which I don’t think is going to knock our socks off as much as we would like it.  At least the rumors I’ve been hearing haven’t done much to my socks.

Ok starting up the stupidly sized (over 3GBs!) Resistance demo now…

I’m starting to come off the ledge, guys.  Phew.  The game is pretty good.  Well, I guess it depends on what you’re looking for.  If you are part of the segment of people comparing Vita games to console games (or even worse – high end PC games) you will find this to be very, very average.  If, like me, you find the idea of a first person shooter on a handheld to be quite novel, the game comes across as pretty awesome.

The demo itself is very long – thank jumpin’ jesus – since it’s actually the full game download at 3.1gb.  I felt like I played for at least a half hour.  You get to try 3 different guns, you get to check out the upgrade system and you get several cutscenes and the demo concludes with a boss fight.  Like I said, it’s pretty hefty for a demo.

The controls feel great.  Much like Unit 13 it’s a piece of cake to move/aim/etc.  I’m not sure how I would stack up online against someone with a dual shock, but the controls are more than adequate for what it is.  The guns feel great, in typical Resistance fashion, but they are lacking some oomph.  Actually what’s lacking is the biggest issue I had with the demo – the sound design is TERRRRRRRRRIBLE.  It’s really, really bad.  Like I-don’t-know-how-they-shipped-a-game-with-sound-like-this bad.  The guns sound like they are coming out of an AM radio.  And this was with headphones on – it’s even worse through the Vita’s speakers.  Now, I know that we aren’t looking top of the line sound on a handheld – but the sound in this is so bad it actually detracts from the game.  The direction sound is horrid.  There were times I thought someone was shooting to my right, turns out they were behind me.  Other times it sounded like people were in front of me but they weren’t.  Guns are never louder or quieter – there is just one volume.  So a gun being shot at you from 100 yards away sounds the same as right next to your ear.  Yeah, the sound is bad.

The cutscenes were pretty bad as well, but I expected that.  It is a B-team working on it, afterall.  But, really, that ends my complaints.  I had a lot of fun playing through the demo and if I didn’t already have it in the mail from Gamefly I would probably buy it right now.  I still might, if I can convince my wife.

I think the metacritic score of 60 is pretty much on the mark.  The game isn’t amazing, it has issues, but if you are excited to play it – you will find a lot of fun there.  If you are looking to hate it, or looking to hate the vita in general, the game could also help you do that.  It’s very middle of the road.  But right now I’ll take middle of the road – i was starting to fear it was gonna be far worse.

Ok, now it’s time to toss in the Gravity Rush demo….

Wow!  Now that’s how you do a demo.  I knew going in that it was short, as people all over twitter had been complaining, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  The game teaches you how to play – how the gravity mechanic works – how combat works – and then you play for about two minutes, kill a big dude and then title screen.  It leaves you wanting more which is exactly what a demo is supposed to do.  I NEED THIS GAME RIGHT NOW!

When i first was learning the gravity shifting it felt weird.  I don’t think that was the game itself as much as it’s just a new mechanic for a game to employ so it took a bit to wrap my head around it.  It also allows you to aim where you want to fly to with either the right stick or the gyroscope.  After I got comfortable with it I found it very fun to traverse the environment. Once the tutorial scooted me along to the combat I was completely in love.  It feels great.  The game looks amazing, has wonderful sound including a soaring orchestral soundtrack, the controls are spot on.  Everything is as good as I had hoped.

Whew.  Almost lost my Vita hype earlier today.  But I’m still on board.  This summer will be a trying time for Vita owners after Gravity Rush is finished as there doesn’t seem to be any more big releases until September.  But, it’s the launch year, lulls are to be expected.  Lets just hope that Sony shows us something at E3 and some smaller titles come out on the PSN to fill the void.

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4 thoughts on “Vita-love meltdown – Resistance demo impressions – Gravity Rush demo impressions

  1. Resistance along with Uncharted and Killzone was the reason I bought a vita. I love that console experience and want Sony to continue investing in titles like Burning Skies.

  2. Thanks Pete, no demo or game on the Aussie store yet so this was a nice taste of what to expect. As I have become a fellow vita hyped (thanks to you), I am sure looking forward to these games making it to my console.

  3. Horrible sound design as you stated. But the AI is also rank. Stood in front of that miniboss point blank and he couldn’t hit me. The level design is so generic, its basically just a shooting gallery in that demo. The controls work well, framerate’s ok, but seriously, how is this a $40 game with a short 5-6 hour campaign and a broken multiplayer that still isn’t working properly. Even when it does, people will play for a few days, get bored and then it’ll be a dead zone. Only 6 maps and 3 game modes.

    On a side note, Sony screwed some early adopters who paid $39.99 for their digital downloads before dropping the price down to $35.99 a couple of hours later. Those guys are now out of luck as sony is NOT going to refund them the difference.

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