OK, let’s get one thing out in the open straight away: I hate that there are game developers out there flooding the PlayStation 3 world with slightly-upscaled arcade-style shooter games. There, I said it. There’s just something about greedy publishers taking a stand-up arcade game with two germ-ridden plastic guns and a screen that has the words “Press Start” and “3 Credits” permanently burned into it and revamping it for the much more sophisticated, HD world of PS3 that leaves me wanting to enduringly engrave a few words of my own into stand-up consoles everywhere. In fact, there are times when I find myself sitting on the floor in front of my couch, spending entirely too much time pondering whether or not the world really needs arcade-style shooter games on the PS3.
Why, once, I even consulted my vast collection of books on black magic in order to learn how to prevent such travesties from occurring. Alas, it was all for not: Namco Bandai proved to me that their skills in the dark arts were infinitely more powerful than mine when they released Time Crisis: Razing Storm earlier this year.
I suppose if one wanted to defend Time Crisis: Razing Storm on PS3, they could present the fact that the game was developed with the PlayStation Move Navigation Controller (PlayStation’s version of the popular Wii Console interactive controller) — which does not come with the game — in mind. That in itself my prompt some gamers to pick this title up. Another plus in favor of Time Crisis: Razing Storm is the inclusion of a “Full Story” in addition to standard “on-rails” amusement park theme mode that is generally found in arcade shooter games (the camera moves as if it is a railed ride, giving you only so long to accomplish certain tasks).
The difference between the two? “Full Story” mode allows players to move at their own pace in a open-ended environment. Well, actually, that’s only half true: players do get to choose when they can move, but the open-ended environment here is an extremely subdued one — limiting them from choosing where to move. And, even thought the “story” portion of the “Full Story” mode will leave even players with a below-average intellect shaking their heads, it is still not as insulting as the fact that Namco didn’t bother upgrading the AI of the onscreen enemies to meet the noticeable change in gameplay.
In fact, the artificial intelligence in “Full Story” mode is so bad, it has “blonde joke” written all over it. The lesser enemies (the peons) flock out before you; some assaulting you with their fists and slightly hurtful taunts, while others have the audacity to fire their automatic weapons into the air. They also all fall down dead if you so much as fire a half-round of ammo towards their feet. Remember that scene in Hot Shots: Part Deux where Charlie Sheen simply throws a handful of bullets at the bad guys; to wit they all perish? Yeah, it’s like that. On the other hand, the higher-ranking heavies are at least smart enough to shoot at you — although they seem to have issues with staying alive if you so much as obscure yourself from their view (say, behind a doorway) and start shooting at the still-visible butt of their guns.
Worse still, Time Crisis: Razing Storm is very short. I suppose on the “Hard” setting, it might take a couple of hours (dare I say several?) to trounce the entire game. Obviously, Namco realized how brief the whole poorly designed ordeal would take. And so, Time Crisis: Razing Storm comes complete with two additional games: two arcade-style shooter games at that. Yes, as if a slightly upgraded arcade game wasn’t enough to make you grit your teeth in frustration, you can whittle your incisors down to the gums by playing the original arcade versions of Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates — each of which bear the words “Press Start” and “3 Credits” (just so they can burn into your HD screen, no doubt).
In short, Time Crisis: Razing Storm is a poorly executed release — and, even if you like this sort of game, you’re probably going to feel very silly for shelling out the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $59.99 in order to whisk right through it.
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Time Crisis: Razing Storm is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors.