Time Crisis 4 PlayStation 3
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: Namco Bandai
Release Date: Out Now
When it comes to light-gun based shooters, the Time Crisis series is easily one of the most popular. Time Crisis 4, which comes complete with an orange-coloured, wired light-gun, is the first game in the series to arrive on the latest consoles. There’s also some unexpected FPS action to be had here which takes full advantage of the dual analogue sticks that are on the light-gun. It’s a game that fans of the series will enjoy, but it’s not without its share of disappointments which will probably make the game less appealing to those who aren’t hardcore fans of light-gun based shooters.
Time Crisis 4 offers a variety of modes for you to enjoy. Arcade mode offers the classic, on-rails light-gun shooter experience for up to two players. Complete Mission offers a change of pace with FPS action that offers over a dozen missions. Crisis Missions, which is initially unavailable, and Mini Games (for either one-player, two-player simultaneous or two-player alternating) make up the list of modes. Disappointingly there are no online multiplayer modes on offer, which seems strange given the increased emphasis on online play with this generation of consoles.
The game may be on the PlayStation 3 but in many ways the game offers up the same Time Crisis experience that you’ve probably been accustomed to for years. The Arcade mode is a very familiar on-rails experience where forward movement is controlled for you. Enemies do their level best to get in your line of fire (some do make use of cover however) and once you’ve defeated all of them in a specific location you’re automatically moved on to the next position where more enemies will come at you with all kinds of crazy weapons ranging from rocket launchers to axes. There’s even a biological enemy called ‘Terror Bites’ which come at you in swarms and need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. The Complete Mission mode does attempt to freshen things up a little by being an FPS rather than an on-rails experience. The two analogue sticks on the light-gun allow you to play as you would on any other console FPS, albeit far easier to aim than in most console shooters.
When played with a friend and as a single-player and when played in small doses Time Crisis 4 is quite enjoyable but there are some major problems here that prevent the game from being as good as it should be. Probably the biggest problem is the controller itself. It’s clearly been designed for right-handed gamers only and whilst I had no problem with the controller (as I am right-handed) I can’t see how a left-handed gamer could possibly use the controller without using it as a right-hander would. The reason for this is the handle that juts out to the left (which houses one of the analogue sticks) and there is no way of alternating which side the handle juts out from making it really awkward for left-handed gamers. The length of the Arcade mode only lasts for about an hour from start to finish, which is very short. Sure, if you’re playing on one of the more challenging difficulty levels you will get more from it but even so, it’s not going to last very long at all. You don’t even have the option of an aiming reticule in the Arcade mode and initially this can make hitting enemies in the distance far more challenging than you might think. Whilst the Complete Mission mode works well in terms of controls etc., it’s a rather bland affair and not anywhere near the quality of the average FPS title.
Seeing as Time Crisis 3 was a PlayStation 2 title and that Time Crisis 4 is on the PlayStation 3, you would certainly hope that there’s been a big leap in terms of graphical quality. Whilst the game does look sharper, undoubtedly as a result of running at a much higher resolution, the game doesn’t look as good as you might have hoped for. In fact for a PlayStation 3 title, it’s a rather basic looking game. The game has fairly decent load times but you can opt to install game data, which seems to shorten the load times, if you wish.
Time Crisis 4 won’t cause deaf gamers any real problems. The movie that plays when the game first loads up isn’t subtitled but it’s of no importance and can be skipped. The main game is subtitled, so you will be able to follow the game’s important dialogue. There are no character names placed alongside the dialogue so it’s not always crystal clear who is saying what. Transmissions you receive mid-mission (in Complete Mission mode) do have a character portrait next to them, so you’ll know the speech isn’t coming from a character directly involved in the mission. Tutorial messages are shown in text and you’ll see text warning you when you need to reload and notification when you’re using the best weapon for a specific enemy.
Hardcore Time Crisis fans will enjoy what Time Crisis 4 has to offer but the game doesn’t feel like it has evolved much at all and those looking for some kind of wow factor will be disappointed. The big new feature of course is the Complete Mission mode which takes you away from the on-rails experience. Whilst Complete Mission mode isn’t bad, it is rather bland and doesn’t compare well with other console FPS experiences. Maybe if the Complete Mission mode had a worthwhile storyline and had the mission been interesting it may have had more appeal. The real choker has to be the lack of online play however. It’s not too big a problem if you can play co-operatively with a friend but for those who can only play solo it’s a real disappointment.