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Time Crisis: Razing Storm Hands On Preview

I made it a point to hunt down Time Crisis: Razing Storm at this year's E3.

As a fan and owner of the original three main-series Time Crisis games, when I heard Namco was launching a new Time Crisis title, I made sure to schedule some time to hunt down and play the game at E3. To my surprise, Namco-Bandai's booth didn't actually have the title available to play, so for the first two days of E3, I didn't manage to find the game. Then, on the last day, after playing the Little Big Planet 2 demo in Namco's booth, I happened to find a second set of Move-compatible games against the back wall, behind all the PS3 titles, almost as if they were hidden away. It turned out these titles were various third-party Move games, although it seemed all the reps available at the demo corresponded to each game's respective company.

Anyway, Time Crisis: Razing Storm was the game with the longest line out of all of them, so as I waited, I watched. The players were playing the two-player Arcade mode, which, for once, at least according to my Time Crisis experience, was altered quite a bit! Traditionally, past Time Crisis titles have full-size split screens in order to manage an arcade feel. Unfortunately, that means that unless players set up some kind of LAN or online mode, it would be impossible to play without severe window alterations, like drastically reduced screen sizes or aspect-ratio stretching. This time around though, Time Crisis takes a page from the more traditional rail shooters, and puts both players on the same screen. How? It substitutes the duck-and-cover maneuver for something more akin to a riot shield. Release the action button, the shield comes back up, and the protagonist is protected from attacks, but unable to fire.

Most notable from my impressions at E3, Razing Storm is compatible with Move, the traditional PS3 controllers, and GunCon controllers. Unfortunately, I was only able to play with the Move controller, which quickly, very quickly, lost calibration and started trending upwards in aim. While I fired, the on-screen targeting reticule, unfortunately necessary for aiming with Move much akin to many Wii rail shooters, seemed to bounce around a bit. I didn't get enough hands on time to see if that was an in-game effect or a problem with Move itself, so I thought it best to mention it here, noting that it felt a little natural and awkward at the same time.

Bear in mind I have not played any version of Time Crisis 4, so my impressions will mostly compare and contrast the original three titles in the series. For one thing, enemies were less colorful, and operated much differently than they did before. While the series' traditional color-coded enemies were present, their armor and clothing was better camouflaged, and so priority enemies were more difficult to detect and pick off immediately. By each normal enemy is a small meter that quickly fills. When it does, it means the enemy will actually hit the character if the bullet isn't dodged. I was used to a flash on the screen, paired with a large, red bullet, so I found myself getting hit a lot more than traditionally. As I said before, enemies looked a lot less colorful, even though they maintained some of the color-based nuances from earlier titles. The same goes for the boss I saw: While the boss seemed to be a giant, rocket-launching robot mech, it looked a little bit less grand than prior fights in the Time Crisis line.

In addition to the Arcade mode present in Time Crisis: Razing storm, there will be a first-person, single player story and an online versus mode. Not only that, Razing Storm includes the arcade version of Time Crisis 4 and another rail shooter style game, Deadstorm Pirates. Time Crisis: Razing Storm looks like it could be a great addition to the series, despite the changes in direction from prior titles. While it could be fun with Move, gamers experienced with the GunCon or DualShock should find a familiar, solid experience if the final product winds up like my experience at E3.



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