10 January 2010
Timeshift - Xbox 360, PS3, PC
If I had a great time playing a game, does that make it a great game?
I think so.
That's why Timeshift, and many other forgotten titles, has a place on this list.
Back when “bullet time” was just a cool idea in The Matrix, the original Max Payne came along and implemented it perfectly into a solid shooter. Since then we’ve played through a variety of time-altering games with mixed results (Blinx anyone?).
TimeShift, a good game on the brink of being forgotten after its release into a flooded FPS market, gets it right. For a somewhat simple shooter, TimeShift takes one gameplay gimmick and hammers it home. The time manipulation works flawlessly and adds just enough variety to make this game a standout despite its high-profile competition.
TimeShift allows you to slow down, reverse and stop time briefly enough to gain a variety of advantages on the battlefield and in the game’s many problem-solving elements. Some of these benefits are obvious: Stopping time allows you to walk up to an enemy and take his weapon. Start time again and he’ll be standing there, defenseless. This may take the sport out of the inevitable kill that follows, but it never gets old. Another trick that runs the risk of being too easy after awhile involves stopping or slowing time long enough for you to aim at an enemy with the crossbow and let the exploding bolt find its doomed target. This also rarely gets old and is a blessing when confronted with a swarm of enemies. The game offers you plenty of places to duck and cover so you can pop up and plug your foes one by one.
Your time-altering abilities also come into play in a variety of nifty problem-solving areas. None of these will give you a headache, but they will provide the satisfaction you’re looking for after you solve them.
It’s always tricky to build a genre game around a new gameplay gimmick, but TimeShift pulls it off where others have failed. I enjoyed the game enough that I would have played through without the time angle. Having it seamlessly implemented into the game is pure gravy.
The story takes you from war-torn cities to vast wastelands to a variety of enormous structures such as wind-tunnel facilities and zeppelin hangars. All are rendered and detailed beautifully. While the character models aren’t going to change the gaming world, they are equally impressive. More impressive are some of the artistic choices sprinkled throughout the game. The zeppelin and dropship design are unique in a way that is rarely seen in shooters.
If you strip away the time-altering gimmick you'd have an above average FPS here. But the little things that stand out, such as ammo boxes that refill ALL of your weapons at one time or an Uzi-like weapon that shoots flaming bullets and doubles as an effective flame thrower (a weapon that rarely works well in FPS games).
In the end, TimeShift got lost in the sauce of a busy FPS season and that’s a damn shame. The game is fun throughout and even manages to properly implement its time-altering techniques in the robust multiplayer mode.
Go back in time and pick up this FPS gem. You won’t be disappointed.
By Victor Paul Alvarez