Review – Time Crisis: Razing Storm
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Release Date: October 19th, 2010
Format: Retail (Move, Dualshock3, and Guncon 3 compatible)
Players: 1-4 Offline, 2-8 Online Battle
What I Liked:
Three games on one disc
What I Disliked:
Time Crisis 4 split-screen
To begin this review I would just like to say that upon purchasing my Move controllers on September 17th, I reserved Time Crisis: Razing Storm. I am a huge fan of the Time Crisis series. I’ve beaten every game in the arcades several times. I knew before the cashier started his normal “would you like to reserve CoD, MoH, Halo 13, etc.” rant that I wanted nothing more than to ensure that a copy of Time Crisis had my name on it and that on October 19th, I could walk in, buy it, walk out, and play it until my arm ached and my Move controllers no longer lit up. To my disappointment, my arm is fine and my Moves are still glowing.
Time Crisis: Razing Storm is a hefty package. For $49.99, you’ll be able to play Deadstorm Pirates, Time Crisis 4, and Time Crisis: Razing Storm. All three of the games have leaderboard support, which is nice. Razing Storm has a lot of content, including a couple of off-the-rails FPS-esque modes. The major problem with Razing Storm, and the entire package as a whole, is that you’re not going to want to play much of it.
Time Crisis 4 released for the PS3 three years ago with Guncon 3 support. Well, it’s back again, only this time it adds Move support for those without Guncons. The first thing I noticed when playing Time Crisis 4 is the crosshair. I had never seen a crosshair in a Time Crisis game before, so this was a bit unsettling. After getting over that minor issue, I delved into its awful, awful, practically unplayable split-screen mode. Since the two player controlled characters shoot from different locations, splitting the screen is necessary; I understand that. To maintain a consistent aspect ratio, the two screens are small squares set side-by-side, something akin to RE5 or Lost Planet 2’s co-op modes. On my 42″ TV, I didn’t want to play more than ten minutes with my roommate. Well, I didn’t want to play more than five minutes, but at about the two minute mark, both of us had to recalibrate our Move controllers. The crosshair, it seemed, had slid out of place. At first I thought that maybe it was an issue with where I was sitting or if I wasn’t remaining stationary. This problem popped up several more times in the next few days. I went out, bought velcro, and mounted my PS Eye to the top of my TV. This helped a little bit, but even earlier today I spent an unforgivable amount of time in the calibration screen. In playing through the game on Single Player (it clocks in at about a half hour, max), I realized that Time Crisis 4 just isn’t that good of a game. Captain Rush is unbelievably annoying since he spends most of the game in front of you begging to get shot. There’s a section in the second area where he’s literally swinging from a tree in front of you. Luckily the game doesn’t penalize you life for shooting allies. Time Crisis 4 is fun in the arcade, with its dual screens and its force-feedback guns. It translates poorly to the home setup.
In Deadstorm Pirates, there is no ammo, which means no reloading, which means no ducking for cover. This was initially off-putting to me since I favor arcade shooters like Time Crisis over games like Gunblade N.Y. I quickly acclimated to the non-stop shooting and proceeded to play Deadstorm Pirates for an hour or so. My roommates and I swapped in and out upon deaths and, though it was present, the sliding crosshair problem wasn’t too evident. Deadstorm Pirates may not look as good as Razing Storm or even Time Crisis 4, but it’s so much more fun to play than either of the two. The game promotes cooperative play by creating a power shot when the two players’ crosshairs are close to each other. The voice acting is so bad that it’s funny, and the steering minigames are pretty fun. The way you steer with the Move controller is by guiding the crosshair around an on-screen wheel. At several points throughout the game, you’ll be prompted to either dodge enemy attacks or steer your vehicle accordingly. The game is split up into four different areas, each with its own boss, as well as a final area that contains a multi-staged boss battle. Aside from the special shot that appears at certain points, there is only one gun to be shot, but that’s not a major problem. The whole game will take less than an hour to beat, but you’ll likely revisit this one several times.
Which brings us to Razing Storm. Time Crisis: Razing Storm is essentially Time Crisis 4 meets Deadstorm Pirates. In Arcade Mode, you have a shield to duck behind when enemies fire at you, but you won’t need to reload since you’ll be continuously shooting. The game switches weapons for you at different points throughout the story, keeping the action fast-paced. It’s so fast-paced, in fact, that the Arcade Mode lasts only about twenty some-odd minutes. The other modes included in Razing Storm are Story, Online Battle, and Sentry. In the Story and Online Battle modes, you’ll be able to move your character using either a Dualshock or Navigation controller. You could then use the Move controller to turn and shoot, but I highly advise against doing that. (To turn using the Move controller, you aim off the side of the screen.) When I first played online, one of my friends held the Dualshock controller and I shot with the Move. It’s a somewhat novel experience for sure, but that doesn’t make it a good one. I soon ended up switching to using the Dualshock for both moving and shooting. By positioning the crosshair at the center of the screen, I had successfully transformed Time Crisis into a run-of-the-mill FPS. The level designs aren’t bad, but unless you’re playing in a full game you’ll be doing a lot of wandering. At the corners of buildings and behind sandbags there are green arrows that indicate a “G Action” spot. To perform G Action, stand on the green arrow and point the Move controller up off of the screen (or tilt the Dualshock upwards). You’ll enter cover, like in the arcade version of the game. The problem with G Action is that it’s unreliable and largely unnecessary. There are experience points and support items to be gained, but nothing really stands out about the online battle mode once you drop the Move controller. The same can be said about the Story mode. I played through two very lengthy levels before deciding to return to the title screen. In Sentry Mode, you play as a stationary guard who must snipe prisoners while they’re trying to escape. It’s a fun mode that supports up to 4 players taking turns.
So, there you have it. Razing Storm is three games in one. My major problem with the package is the inaccuracy of the gun calibration. I’m not sure if the Eye is trying to track the Move and dynamically calibrate while you’re playing, but the fact of the matter is that pressing start to recalibrate your gun all but ruins the fun of playing. There’s no option to turn off the crosshair, probably because if you lost the crosshair you’d have no idea where you were shooting. I think the fact that you’re continually shooting helps to mask the calibration issues in Deadstorm Pirates and Razing Storm. To be honest, those two games are fun to play, even with a friend. Unless you have a very large television and nerves of steel, skip Time Crisis 4’s co-op. Overall, my expectations for this game were largely unmet, but if you like Time Crisis, it’s worth checking out. Two out of three ain’t bad.