When people use the term “arcade shooter” any number of titles might conceivably come to mind, but one of them would almost certainly be Time Crisis. The problem, however, with the term “arcade shooter” is that very first word: arcade. It brings to mind the sensory experience of a physical arcade, lights flashing in a seizure-inducing neon strobe, the unending cacophony of a hundred simultaneous adventures. But mostly, it conjures the image of standing in front of a gun-game – plastic orange weapon in-hand – firing madly at the screen and then down again to reload.
Area 51, House of the Dead, Time Crisis…
But transition those to the dual-analog experience of a next-gen console and things have the potential to go a bit awry. The blocky arcade graphics suddenly seem so unabashedly last-gen; the visceral interactivity of pointing a gun and pulling a trigger vanishes in the grip of a single controller; and the games never seem as fully featured as a tried-and-true, Call of Duty-style first-person shooter. We recently sat down with a nearly complete build of Time Crisis: Razing Storm to see if it’d suffer the same fate.
First and foremost, Razing Storm offers a number of unique gameplay experiences by including Time Crisis 4, Deadstorm Pirates and the namesake Razing Storm adventure. So there’s certainly enough packed onto the disc for any Time Crisis enthusiast to continue blasting for quite some time to come. And that’s not including the additional modes, namely a co-op, two-player shoot-‘em-up; the full story mode; a sentry mode in which four players attempt to quell a prison riot; and the online multiplayer battle arena.
The title for the PS3 is fully Move compatible, but in the brief time we had with the game, getting the motion controller into that gun-game sweet spot proved nearly impossible. The calibration would never quite center, no matter what our position, and having to swing the reticule to far the edges of the frame to look in any direction made it a slow, painful affair to even turn around. We imagine that with some additional effort one might be able to put everything in order, but the controls never seemed particularly tight even when working correctly.
Playing the game with the standard dual-analogue controller proved to be an easier experience, but the lackluster graphics and arcade spirit of the title just screamed for a light-gun. Without one, the title just feels like a very primitive FPS game, even with the addition of mildly destructible environments. I have to admit that it was reasonably amusing to shoot out wooden walkways beneath enemies sniping down from above, but the awkward G-action cover system – which allows players to tilt the controller up to take cover and down to pop back out – was clumsy at best.
At the end of the day, there’s certainly no shortage of material and game modes, but the experience begs for a physical gun to heighten the enjoyment of blasting fools into oblivion…