Time Crisis Razing Storm

Time Crisis Razing Storm on PlayStation 3 gets boring quickly in single player mode -- best served with an opponent

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Namco Bandai Time Crisis Razing Storm
  • Namco Bandai Time Crisis Razing Storm
  • Namco Bandai Time Crisis Razing Storm
  • Namco Bandai Time Crisis Razing Storm

Pros

  • Local co-op is an absolute gas, the PlayStation Move controller maximises the game's strengths, three games in one

Cons

  • Storyline and writing are terrible, ancillary modes do little to improve the scant replayability, playing alone not nearly as good when you're not playing co-op

Bottom Line

The light-gun genre has been a popular if under-represented genre since the days of Duck Hunt for good reason: There's just something viscerally rewarding about pointing a gun (or gun-like device) at your TV, pulling the trigger, and actually peeling a fool's cap back. Of course, with the spate of recent titles featuring mediocre gameplay, imprecise controllers and silly storylines, modern audiences have more or less stopped taking light gun shooters seriously.

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The light-gun genre has been a popular if under-represented genre since the days of Duck Hunt for good reason: There's just something viscerally rewarding about pointing a gun (or gun-like device) at your TV, pulling the trigger, and actually peeling a fool's cap back. Of course, with the spate of recent titles featuring mediocre gameplay, imprecise controllers and silly storylines, modern audiences have more or less stopped taking light gun shooters seriously.

Time Crisis: Razing Storm deals with at least one of these three issues very well: the Playstation Move controller is accurate, responsive, and much more intuitive to use than your average light gun (including the crappy Guncon 3 light gun bundled with previous Time Crisis titles). Fans of the arcade version should feel right at home, as point-and-shoot is spot on, and handling the series' trademark "riot shield" for defense (controlled in the arcade cabinet by a foot pedal) is as easy as releasing a trigger.

But no matter which of the three included titles you're playing through, you'll find that they have two things in common: first, the story, dialogue, and voice acting are all lamer than a one-legged centipede, and the co-operative, side-by-side mode is extremely awesome. Having a buddy to trade quips with, cover one side of the screen, and generally get your back enhances the gameplay to the point that you simply won't want to go back to single player at all.

Not that the single-player modes are bad, just that they get repetitive quick without a friend in the room to up the energy level. Unfortunately, once you've played through the game, you'll find there isn't much incentive to slog through the terrible dialogue and the same-old boss fights again and again. To its credit, TC:RS does give you some freedom to go off of the rails and wander around like a more traditional FPS, but this is neither a particularly robust nor a particularly well thought-out feature. In the end, you'll get more out of playing the game the way it's "supposed" to be played than you will from trying out the tacked-on FPS mode.

The title game, Razing Storm, also touts "destructible" environments as a selling point, but while it sounds really awesome on paper, in practice, it's more filler than feature. As a rule, you're so focused on shooting the bad guys, and the action happens at such a relentless pace, that you don't really use the destruction in a tactical sense. It just sort of happens as a side-effect of firefights, or as a scripted event (such as the many sequences in which you have to destroy enemies' cover objects: usually crates or drywall).

In addition to the story, you've also got "Sentry" mode, which involves you and your buddies taking turns trying to mow down as many escaping convicts as you can in a prison riot scenario. Is it slightly sadistic? Sure, but the chance to see your score atop that of your buddies (or at the head of an online ranking ladder) does inject the tiniest bit of much-needed replayability to TC:RS's playbook.

While TC:RS is a quality addition to the Move's arsenal, in the end you just need to decide if rail shooters are your thing. If you crave the visceral experience involved in actually pointing and shooting, or if you bought a Move and you really need something other than a bowling game to play with your friends, give it a look. But if you're not a fan of this genre, don't be fooled by the hype – this is a solid rail shooter, but it's certainly not worth spending your money on, especially in this crowded and star-studded holiday shopping season.

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