Time Crisis: Razing Storm [Review]

Just because it's good in the arcade doesn't make it good for home.

Time Crisis: Razing Storm Arcade Screenshot 10

About two weeks ago I picked up the Playstation Move.  Honestly, it exceeded my expectations and I wanted to try out some other games besides sports.  So when I saw that Time Crisis: Razing Storm was being released I figured I should check it out.  To give you a brief history on myself and Time Crisis, I have beaten pretty much all of them in the arcade with the exception of Razing Storm; so you can say that I’m a fan of the series.  That being said, it kind of pains me to give the review I am getting ready to give on Time Crisis: Razing Storm.  I would like all to keep in mind that I played with the PS Move so those who use the Guncon may have a better experience.

Razing Storm is actually multiple games packed in one.  In addition to Razing Storm you also get Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates.  The Razing Storm portion comes with an arcade, story, and sentry mode; we started with the arcade version of Razing Storm.  This is pretty much a direct port from the arcade so if you have played it you will know what to expect.  The frame rate was steady and graphics were up to snuff with your standard PS3 or Xbox 360 game.  My biggest problem was that there was a small lag between the movement of the controller and the movement of your crosshair on-screen.  While the delay was only a little bit, this took away from the instant reaction you normally had in the arcade and ended up getting me shot more than I wanted it too.

The crosshair really didn’t stand out that much so I found it easy to lose where I was aiming.  The game is frantic enough; I don’t need the frustration of looking for my crosshair.  I felt the calibration could have been better.  If I moved from my position left or right, or changed the way I held the way the controller it would negatively affect my aiming.  The arcade mode is short; three stages with four areas and one bonus mission.

Despite the arcade modes short falls, it was still playable and I would play it with a friend if they wanted to.  I can’t say the same thing for the story mode.  Every second was agony to play.  The accuracy was poor, moving around was clunky, and the AI… my god.  The story mode is free roaming, which is a change for the series.  To change direction you have to move your crosshair to the edges of the screen.  Normally in an FPS the crosshair is planted in the middle of the screen so when you move direction you are already aiming at the target.  It doesn’t work so smoothly here because you first have to move the screen into position and then target.  It just felt like to much setup just to make a shot.

Time Crisis: Razing Storm Story Screenshot 4

G-Action is how you move in and out of cover.  First off, the instructions they give you to use G-Action are a bit confusing; it took Jeff and I several minutes to figure out what they were talking about.  They say you just need to point your crosshair above your screen, but this is not true; all that does is make you look up.  What you really need to do is take your controller and move it completely vertical.  If you do that next to a wall you will move behind it for cover.  When you come out of cover you don’t completely move out like you normally would in a Time Crisis game.  I found myself constantly having to readjust my position to fire.  The controls are not suited for a run and gun game because it takes too long to turn and target, but it feels like they want to you play it like one.

If the bad movement and cover system weren’t enough, the AI is the icing on the cake.  The story mode has some of the worst AI I have ever seen.  Enemies would run straight at me in groups all while having rifles in their hands but not firing them at me.  Sometimes they would run straight to me, stand in front of me and start firing in the air.  Enemies that were at a distance really couldn’t aim that well and sometimes would fire into the air as well.  It’s like they slightly tweaked the AI from the arcade mode and put them in story.  These elements put together made for a horrible playing experience and made their attempt at a free roaming story a complete failure.

Sentry mode is more of a minigame where you are a prison guard that has to stop prisoners from escaping.  You are put into a static camera position where the only thing you can do is zoom in and out.  Prisoners run around the screen and you need to knock them out before they escape or time runs out.  There are only 6 prisoners per round, but there are also prison guards which you need to avoid hitting and militia men trying to help the prisoners.  You get the most points for tagging prisoners, but you also get a small amount of points for getting militia men.

Maybe with the Guncon this would have been a bit more enjoyable, but not really with the Move.  The delayed crosshair movement made it difficult to target quickly; which you need to do because the prisoners move pretty quickly.  Also, zooming in and out was a pain because it took to long for you to change your direction.  By the time you moved the crosshair zoomed in the prisoner was probably already gone.  Also, the accuracy could have used a lot of work.  Yet another failed and frustrating game mode.

Time Crisis: Razing Storm Screenshot 6

I was looking forward to playing Time Crisis 4, but then I played it with Jeff and found out something that just ruined the experience.  Playing solo is fine, but if you play with a friend, it splits the screen.  Not only does it split the screen, but it also keeps your aspect ratio; so basically you are looking at two very small screens… and I have a big screen TV.  Even with the split screen, the game doesn’t take into consideration your calibration.  So you have to aim like the game is taking the full screen even though it’s not.  All this together pretty much ruined it for us and we decided not to go all the way through it.

There is one positive surprise though, Deadstorm Pirates.  I was pleasantly surprised that this game was fun to play; mostly because I had no expectations.  It’s your standard arcade shooter where you kill everything before it can kill you and don’t pay attention to the story.  There is bonus damage for you and your partner aiming at the exact same spot at the same time; most of the time that needs to be used on larger enemies.  There are also parts where you need to turn the wheel of the ship (or sometimes mine cart) to make it avoid enemies or obstacles.  Unfortunately, we were so put off by the rest of the game that we didn’t give this a full play through.

I wanted to give the multiplayer at least a chance, but it was DOA.  When I tried to play I couldn’t find ONE ROOM.  Not one.  I have to say, this release was very disappointing.  You definitely do not get $60 worth of game here.  This is a perfect example that quantity is equal to quality.  Out of three games you only get one fun one and another where only one game mode is worth playing…  and that’s with a friend!  I really can’t blame the functionality of the PS Move on this one because from playing the sports game and the demos that came with it…  I know that it has a better response time than was demonstrated for this game.  I hate giving games bad scores, but I honestly cannot recommend this game.  Maybe Time Crisis just isn’t suited for the home…  Or maybe they just did it wrong this time.

[Images provided by Namco Bandai Games]

Jarret Redding
Jarret Redding
Jarret Redding

Executive Director

Jarret is Executive Director as well as one of the founding members of Mash Those Buttons. He plays all types of games, but tends to lean more toward FPS, Stealth, and Combat games.

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