Reviewed: March 4, 2011
Released: October 19, 2010
Time Crisis was always one of those rare games I looked forward to playing whenever we went to Dave & Busters or the other large arcades. It featured a cool plastic gun and a foot pedal that allowed you to duck behind cover and reload your weapons then pop up and shoot a seemingly endless stream of bad guys in a virtual on-rails shooting gallery. To make it even better, the games almost always offered cool cooperative play so you could team up with a friend.|
Naturally, it didnít take long before Time Crisis made it to the home videogame market, and to date weíve seen at least four major releases on the various consoles all leading up to Time Crisis: Razing Storm for the PS3. Previous games made use of the light-gun technology, but with the advent of HDTV and CRT televisions becoming obsolete, light sensors stopped working. Time Crisis 4 tried to address the issue with some infrared sensors you could hang from the corners of your screen, and while they worked, it just seemed like a bit too much effort for too little reward.
Now, with the PS Move, we have a much more precise method of motion input and direct screen access, so itís no wonder Namco is back with another Time Crisis game to see if gamers are still interested in shooting bad guys with plastic guns. Time Crisis: Razing Storm is more of a bundle than a standalone game. The actual Razing Storm game is the only original offering in the group and it clocks in at less than an hour. It also tries to play like an FPS, forcing you to use the Move Navigator or a controller to move around the virtual world; at least in Story Mode. This adds all sorts of control issues that were first introduced in Time Crisis 4 that shipped with that orange gun with the joystick on the handle.
Time Crisis is all about shooting, and it has always worked best when on rails. Trying to put the player in control of moving as well as shooting is not only breaking the rules of the franchise, it just screws up the overall feel and playability of the game. And with no pedal to duck behind cover, you now have to find these green cover zones and flick the Move controller to duck behind or pop up from cover, and they seldom work the first (or second) time you try. Needless to say, there was a whole lot of unnecessary dying related to this buggy cover system.
Of course you can play Razing Storm with a standard controller, which admittedly works better moving with one stick and firing with the other, but it's still not nearly as nice as any other FPS game, plus it takes away from the whole light-gun mentality of the franchise. Regardless of how you choose to play, the game is only four chapters and takes less than an hour to beat, which is pretty lame for a $60 title. You can also opt for the arcade mode, which will put the game back on rails and makes things a bit more traditional and definitley more enjoyable but still just as short.
To help ease the sticker shock and potential buyerís remorse is the inclusion of Deadstorm Pirates and Time Crisis 4. Deadstorm Pirates was probably the best of the bunch, partly because I had never played it before so it was new, but also because it seems the most polished and true to the Time Crisis genre. Time Crisis 4 retained all the problems from its previous release. While the PS Move offers amazing accuracy and light-gun-style gameplay, it canít fix a broken game. Even the online multiplayer is weak and unsatisfactory Ė thatís assuming you can find anyone who is playing.
The presentation isnít going to help either. Graphics are dated, almost to the point where they look like a PS3 launch title. Itís all very flat with low-level textures and almost sprite-like animations. Voice acting is horrible and the music is the generic stuff youíd expect from a 90ís arcade game. Weapons fire and explosions are nice enough and there is a competent Dolby Digital mix that puts you in the firefight.
Time Crisis: Razing Storm is pretty lame, which is sad because this franchise is the cornerstone of light-gun gaming and Sony really has the tech available to make it work. Namco really dropped the ball on this release. If you need a reason to stick your Move controllers into some fancy new plastic gun then try Dead Space Extraction or Killzone 3. Those are far more rewarding shooters and a better bang for your buck.