Due to the arcade nature of TC, it was never a stunning title when it came to its graphics; Namco focussed more on the gameplay element of the game. But with the power of the PS3 console, it would be a safe assumption that Namco have realised that their games have much more potential for success if they improve their graphics beyond that which the arcade machine could offer. Added to its potential success, Time Crisis is landing more or less at the beginning of Move’s life cycle, so it won’t be competing with any big titles out there that support motion control. Therefore it will only have to compete with the more family orientated Move shooting titles, so if it can hit it right, then there’s potential for a strong sell.
One thing that is evident in this title is that not only has motion control being included in Razing Storm, Namco Bandai have also turned it into a more conventional First Person Shooter, by granting you full control over your character. Something that may pull in a new audience, but this may also push their loyal followers away due to this radical change of direction and style. There is some appeal to those who prefer their more conventional arcade style games though, as Razing Storm is only the main game (and confusingly the overall title of the product) and on the disc are Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates, both featuring motion control as well. So with a graphical boost for both of these older titles, and motion control compatibility, it’s hard to see how anyone can resist this tempting package of three quite different games. On the flip side though if the motion control is poorly implemented and the graphics are sub-standard, then Razing Storm could be easily forgotten like its earlier PS2 ports.
Let’s kick things off on a good note shall we? Well here we go, the graphics for Razing Storm have been given the HD treatment they deserve and it finally looks like a current gen title, not a cheap arcade port. They aren’t on standard with the likes of Call of Duty (COD) but they certainly aren’t the worst that you’ll come across this generation,. Its clear that the graphics have been improved for this iteration of Time Crisis, yet there are some gripes with some of its presentation. When gunning down your enemies, there’s no blood or gore, simply a ‘mini explosion’ on their body indicating they’ve taken damage. But, for returning fans of the series, this will be no problem at all as this is what TC has always featured.
Along with its improved graphics are the menus that you will navigate through in Razing Storm, which work well and are no chore. As expected, you have the choice to navigate said menus via the Move or Navigation controller depending on your personal preference, which both work well. Your Heads up Display (HUD) is also something that is not cluttered or confusing; everything is kept to a minimal level, with the occasional environmental action being highlighted in your view/path but more on that in the mechanics section.
The in-game music is also something that must be commended, as it heightens the tension and without it the game would feel, well, flat and boring. So don’t be surprised when you’re knee deep in sewer water and finding your way through it with nothing more than torchlight to guide you, you hear a creepy high pitched accompaniment, leaving you worried about where the next enemy will crop up.
Being a Japanese title, Time Crisis is full of cheesy dialogue which tries to replicate banter seen in Western shooters, which for the most part is actually quite funny and suits the game well. You can’t go into a title such as this expecting a narrative driven story and world class writing as that would be unfair and you’d be doing it a great injustice. If you look at it from an arcade perspective, you appreciate the work that Namco Bandai has gone to in order to make this game firstly and foremost; fun to play, which it is. You can see how the game is tailored to this purpose throughout, with heavy guitar driven musical scores and the overall character design, which sees oversized men taking on equally oversized adversaries.
Following a recent trend Razing Storm is set in the modern day warzone with a few technological advances such as robots making a recurring appearance. If you were being harsh and overly critical, you could say that the opening level is based on the Favela mission in Modern Warfare 2. This does not detract from any of the enjoyment though, and is more of a salute to the quality of Activision’s game and Namco Bandai wanting to replicate their success. Namco Bandai can’t match Call of Duty’s level of detail within each stage though, but then again, Time Crisis was never intended to be a serious title with top notch graphics, so this is to be expected.
Before the whinging begins I’d like to clear something up; I do like, borderline love, my Move controllers and I’m excited to see what else they can do. But, the great success of the motion control (how precisely it can track your movements) is what leads to one of the failures of Time Crisis; the controlling is too precise. The precision is good for sports games, but when a steady hand is needed, like pulling off headshots with a sniper rifle, then it becomes something of a problem. You can turn the sensitivity down in the options menu, but even then it still feels as though your movements are too disproportionate and leaves you facing the floor, or staring at the sun all too often. Given time though, and you’ll become used to the controls and you’ll play with greater ease and accuracy, this is not a pick up and play instantly title when utilising the Move peripheral.
Razing Storm kicks off with you, codenamed soldier Delta1, bombing down a motorway in an armoured personnel carrier in an attempt to rescue your kidnapped president along with your squad mates. Soon things start to go pear shaped as your procession of vehicles gets fired upon by what appears to be a giant spider-like robot, leaving you stranded on the motorway having to battle on foot through the carnage. This may seem a little harsh as you’re thrown into the deep end with little or no hand holding as to the controls and getting used to the Move. Allowing you to get slowly into the action though is the forgiving AI who don’t shoot you with the same accuracy (on normal) that you’d find in other First Person Shooters (FPS) and they more often than not allow to take them out with little or no trouble. That is, once they have taken a silly amount of damage, or so it seems when you use certain weapons, most of which are amply powered, such as the sniper rifle and skewer gun. Yet the machine gun is far too inaccurate and underpowered to worry your adversaries and it’ll leave you praying and spraying bullets all over. Similarly, the Balero cannon/launcher is one of the weirdest guns you’ll ever come across, leaving you confused as to how it actually deals any damage to your opponents at all. But given that headshots are always a one hit affair to down your foes, there’s a little respite in the flaws with the aiming mechanic and a lack of being able to aim down the sight with Move, unless you have one of the added gun holder peripherals. On a positive note though, in terms of structure, the levels in Razing Storm offer plenty of variety when it comes to the enemies you face and the objectives you must complete; the opening level sees you fighting through the shanty town mentioned above, then the next will see you gunning along a dark and dingy sewerage network.
Razing Storm tries to tap into the popularity of the FPS shooter market and steps away from its old school roots of true arcade style play; you now control your character entirely and have a button layout that rivals other titles out there. Instead of aiming off screen, there are specific buttons to reload, to change your weapons and you press L3 or R3 to interact with your environment. Although you cannot crouch, you can take cover behind certain scenery that is indicated by a green triangle on screen which gives you the option to use a ‘G-action’. To do this, you aim the crosshair at the top of the screen which will then move your character into the cover you desire, and to pop back out again you simply aim away from the top segment of the screen and proceed to take down those who are firing upon you before cowering away when you need to reload. This works most of the time, yet when you need to aim up it becomes a problem as the game becomes confused between performing a G-action and aiming at your assailants.
Many FPS games suffer when it comes to their longevity as their campaigns are far too short and/or repetitive, whilst their multiplayer fails to beat that of well-known franchises. There’s no such problem here though, as not only are you treated to the well-designed Razing Storm game, you will receive Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates on the same disc. As mentioned above, Razing Storm gives you a single player campaign to play through, but it also offers you a competitive online mode and an arcade mode too. Unfortunately, the online part of the game wasn’t up and running yet as the servers are not open till its release. Arcade mode harks back to the roots of Time Crisis as you’d expect, with point scoring for killing enemies and hitting specific body parts.
Time Crisis 4 solely offers an arcade experience whereby you fight through differing stages following the old mechanics of TC where you can’t control the movement of your character, which is a perfect distraction from the main game and is far more relaxed. You can’t help but feel that this game is far more suited to what Move can offer, instead of giving you full vertical and horizontal control over your character. The shooting works well and it really is the Time Crisis you got to know and love in those sweaty arcades. So, for that matter, is Deadstorm Pirates but in a much different setting; you’re a young pirate and must fight adversaries such as skeleton pirates and entire pirate ships before they plough into your vessel. The motion tracking also gives you the chance to control certain features, such as turning your ship away from danger by wildly rotating the controller in the desired direction. Both these arcade titles last a shorter length than that of the main game, but they will never age or become boring due to their replayability and variety in gameplay that will see you trying to beat yours, or a mate’s, high scores.
Whilst Time Crisis is not a game that will challenge the best FPS games out there, it is the perfect title that will allow you to have pure arcade fun as opposed to being a game that takes itself too seriously. You can have online and co-op tomfoolery in three different and unique titles, which is good value in today’s climate, and with confidence I can safely say that Razing Storm will stay in your gaming collection for quite some time. Yes the controls can be a bit fiddly at times, but I challenge you not to find pinning enemies to a windmill fun every time you pull off the perfect shot with the Skewer gun.
- The best arcade shooter on PS3
- Perfect value for money
- Plenty of variety
- High quality presentation
Storm Clouds Gathering
- Move is tricky to master
- Takes a while to master
Time Crisis: Razing Storm PS3 Review
Arcade titles dont usually get good treatment when ported onto current generation consoles but Razing Storm breaks the mould and really lets gamers re-live their favourite moments in the comfort of their own home. Despite having a control scheme that will take a while to get used to, there are some excellent moments within once you allow the game to show its hand. If you enjoy your FPS titles without all the frills, then you'll love this game.
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