Burns is a commanding officer within the US Marine Corps, and leads Bravo Company, the task force assigned to reclaim the space colony from Russian forces. A decorated hero, Burns has been awarded the silver star and the navy cross for his service. At age 48, he still fights with conviction and has replaced more than half of his body with bionics so he may continue to fight..
Burns takes a violent stance against Sam's smoking in an early cutscene, but hypocritically throughout the game can be seen and heard taking swigs of bourbon from his flask.
Throughout the game, he is shown to be a highly pragmatic and ruthless commander who are willing to abandon or sacrifice his men for the sake of the mission. However, despite his ruthlessness and working with Winters for her dirty work, he is an honorable soldier who willing to redeem himself in the end by helping Sam escapes even at the cost of his life. At his final moment, he is shown to care for his soldier at the deep of his heart.
Skill & Abilities
A decorated veteran, Burns is shown to be a more than capable leader. His stoic appearance is not without warrant as he can be seen standing his ground against multiple platoons of enemies in his sight while dishing out substantial firepower with his chaingun.
Despite this however, he can be rather slow, a key advantage that Sam's ARS has in their penultimate battle.
Throughout most of the game, Burns' main weapon is a powerful minigun capable of cutting down scores of Gorgies and other formidable R.I.s. His gun also has metallic plates that fold out of each side of the weapon to act as a ballistic shield which protects Burns from enemy gunfire.
However, during his final battle against Sam, all of Burns' limbs have been replaced with weaponised cybernetics, making him a far more dangerous foe, able to hold his own against Sam for an extended period of time. His bionic enhancements possessed the following features:
- Superhuman strength: his bionic arms could land powerful blows that could knock Sam back several feet.
- Thrusters: his artificial legs sport built-in rocket boosters that allow him to hover across the terrain with great speed, eliminating the weakness of his limited speed.
- Shield: Burns carried an enormous heavy ballistic shield on his left arm that could protect him from gunfire and explosions. It also conceals a cannon that fires explosive shells.
- Gatling guns: the right forearm has retractable twin wrist-mounted four barreled Gatling guns that can fire armor piercing bullets with pinpoint accuracy. Burns first used this weapon to murder Professor Candide, practically tearing him to pieces.
- Missiles: his forearms also contained hidden missile launchers which could fire volleys of small but powerful homing rockets.
- Grenades: Burns was equipped with fragmentation grenades which could explode upon contact with the target.
- Smoke bombs: his arms could deploy bombs that would cover an entire battlefield in a thick smokescreen, making it extremely difficult to fight him.
- Rocket limbs: Burns' forearms could detach themselves from his main body and fire themselves at a target like missiles.
- Self-destruction: as a last resort, Burns' cybernetics possessed self-destruct explosives which could be activated manually. Burns used this in a final suicidal attack to buy Sam time to stop the laser from firing.
He betrays Sam and kills Professor Francois Candide right after the professor has managed to deactivate the countdown to annihilate New York. By then Robert Burns has replaced almost all his limbs with robotics. He explains to Sam that the president ordered that he redirect the space stations laser to Moscow. Sam disagrees and decides to fight for what he thinks is right before Burns had take off, leaving Sam to fight the Marines.
Once Sam was managed to defeat Burns, he redeems himself by helping Sam escape, leaving himself behind because of his injuries. When he has been completely surronded by many soldiers, he decided to self-destruct to aid Sam's escape with his word "My men are dead. I belong with them!" before he dies in the explosion.
- "This the toy you've been working on?"
- "I need to know everything you know!"
- "If it was easy, we would've already done it!"
- "I think I'm gonna need a bigger gun!"
- "Well, well. You're on the battlefield now, Sammy Boy."
- "My men are dead. I belong with them!" - His last words before he dies in the explosion.
- Burns is voiced by Steven Blum, who also voices Grunt, the Shadow Broker, and Wilson from Mass Effect 2. He also has numerous credits on other BioWare projects such as Dragon Age: Origins: Oghren, First Enchanter Irving, and Gorim. In Star Wars: The Old Republic: Andronikos Revel, Baron Deathmark, and many others.
- Burns' line during the cutscene before the first mission, "Come on, you apes! You wanna live forever?" is taken word-for-word from satirical sci-fi film Starship Troopers.
- Burns shares a name with the Famous 18th Century Scottish Poet Robert Burns, although it is unknown if there is was a deliberate reference by the developers or merely coincidence. Burns also enjoys drinking Bourbon which evolved from Whiskey created by Scots who emigrated to America hundreds of years ago.
- Burns is an atheist.