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As a kid I never really went to the arcades often mainly because I didn’t have money. Even as an adult I have no interest in going because I don’t feel like spending money. In all honesty I’d rather just buy a game that I can play at home. But when I did go to the arcades I was always attracted to the light gun games. I like to shoot shit, what can I say. So when these types of games come to consoles I’ll always try to get my hands on them. Now I’ve heard of the Time Crisis series but I’ve never played any of the games. Time Crisis: Razing Storm was ported to the PlayStation 3 in 2010 and features support for the PlayStation Move controllers which is what I primarily used for this review. The Razing Storm disk also includes Time Crisis 4 which also supports PlayStation Move. It was originally a separate game ported to the PlayStation 3 back in 2007 along with the Guncon 3 peripheral which is also supported in this release. And last but not least is Deadstorm Pirates, the third game on this disk which I will cover in a separate review.
Razing Storm has four modes to choose from; arcade, story, sentry, and online battle mode which I didn’t try. I’ll talk about the story mode first. Let’s start with the positives. There’s a lot of action. Moving onto the negatives, if you decide to play through the story using the Move controls, well I’m sorry. The story mode is not on-rails and it’s borderline unplayable with the Motion and Navigation controller combination. You move forward, backward, and strafe with the stick on the Navigation controller. You move the crosshair around the screen by aiming with the Motion controller and to turn right or left you need to aim at the edges of the screen. It’s a convoluted mess that makes moving and aiming a nightmare. The buttons on either controller perform various functions. “O” is zoom, “L1” locks-on, “Triangle” reloads, and “Square” switches weapons. I would die often because I could never turn in time to see who the fuck is shooting me. The Move controls are just frustrating and I gave up on them after about forty-five minutes. Luckily you have the option to use a PlayStation 3 controller which I would highly recommend if you want to play through the story. You can actually move, aim, and shoot without fumbling around with basic functions. But just because you decide to use the PlayStation 3 controller doesn’t mean all is perfect. Razing Storm has this ridiculous cover system called G Action. Throughout the environments are these green markers, usually located behind walls and objects, and when you go near them you need to perform a G Action to enter cover. All this means is you need to aim your Motion controller straight up in the air or tilt the PlayStation 3 controller upward to get behind cover. But only when you’re standing on the green marker. It sucks. I would find myself dying because I couldn’t get behind cover in time because I didn’t aim high enough or tilt the controller up enough. Occasionally I’d be moving along and constantly be entering cover whenever I passed a G Action marker because I didn’t realize I was tilting the controller. It’s ridiculous and I think simply adding a crouch button would have worked just fine.
Sadly, the controls are not the only problem with the story mode. The story itself is predictable, uninteresting, with awful voice acting. There’s only four stages and you can probably beat it in under three hours. The main antagonist is Paulo Guerra, the rebel leader that masterminded an attack on the United States. That’s pretty much all I know. All of the characters are forgettable and I lost interest in what was going on very quickly. You’re character is referred to as Delta One and you’re accompanied by a bunch of generic macho soldiers. Considering how bad the AI is in this game, your allies are just a hindrance during combat and often say things that are just cringe worthy or asinine. They constantly get in your way or even worse, push you around. You can’t walk through them and if you’re in their way they don’t make any effort to go around you. They just push you along, many times right into gunfire. Most of the enemies you encounter are soldiers and they usually stand in one spot, shooting at you. Sometimes they run around and get into cover but that’s about it. Soon enough you’ll fight robotic enemies like Piston Pods and Raptors that shoot green lasers and jump around the area. Then there’s mech-like enemies called HACS that fire at you with a machinegun and use some kind of saw for close combat. Then you got these little flying drone enemies called Seekers that are just annoying.
You can only carry two guns at a time and there are six guns total but you can also punch and throw grenades. You start the game with the shotgun and submachine gun eventually coming across a sniper rifle. Eventually you pick up a weapon called the Skewer which is probably my favorite. It fires bolts and sticks enemies to the wall. Then you got the Balero Cannon which fires this large ball and can be charged up for more damage. The last two weapons include the grenade launcher and the Vigum which fires guided missiles. The environments are somewhat destructible so it can be cool watching everything explode among all the gunfire and destroying certain objects can reveal hidden dog tags.
Overall the story mode is very generic and extremely linear. It holds your hand every step of the way and nothing about it is unique. I mean maybe the motion controls were meant to make it stand out but they’re far from functional or enjoyable to use. The story is also rather short but that may be a good thing. I was ready for it to be over about half-way through. There are multiple difficulties and I beat it on Normal but I have no interest to go back and replay it. What you’re left with is a sub-par story mode that would have probably been better had it been on-rails like the arcade mode.
Moving on to the arcade mode, I’m glad to report the motion controls are actually fun to use. You navigate through four on-rail stages containing multiple areas trying to shoot all of the enemies just like you would in any other light gun game. You play as Alpha One and your mission is to deliver the coordinates of Paulo Guerra’s base so you can launch an attack. You’re equipped with an assault rifle, and in certain scenarios, are given other weapons. The cluster shot acts as like a shotgun of sorts firing small rockets or bombs. You’re usually given a rocket launcher to fight off each end boss and in the final stage you’re equipped with a sniper rifle and are eventually given a Satellite Laser. The sound effects are fantastic and each weapon is a joy to use. You’re also equipped with a shield for blocking attacks and by default you hold down the reload button to bring up the shield. Like in the story mode you’ll be up against enemy soldiers, HACS, and Raptors. Luckily, the Seekers don’t make an appearance. There’s nothing really new here that you haven’t seen before. Enemies come from all over the screen, red reticles appear on enemies that are about to shoot you requiring you to kill them before they shoot. Enemies will shoot missiles and throw grenades which you can shoot down and you can also destroy certain objects for environmental kills. The environments are destructible so you’ll constantly have debris flying around and destroying specific objects rewards you with hidden dog tags. There’s a couple scenarios where you need to protect civilians and shooting a civilian will result in a partial loss of life. Every now and then you’ll need to protect your allies by quickly shooting the enemies attacking them and successfully doing so rewards you with a life bonus.
I found the arcade mode to be really fun and I really got into it but just as quickly as I got into it, it was over. I think I got through it in under twenty minutes and not only that but it’s way too easy. There’s five difficulty modes including Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard. I first played through on Normal and then ramped it up to Very Hard but didn’t really notice a difference. I mean, yeah, I died often, I’m not the best at these games, but I never saw a “Game Over” screen and I usually suck enough at this genre to see it. I don’t even know if there are any “Continues” or I just didn’t die enough to find out. You can play through Free Play and Ranked mode. Ranked mode will register your score on the leaderboards. Now other games with a Ranked or similar mode usually give you a set amount health and continues for a real challenge making you test your skills to obtain a high score. But in Razing Storm it’s just too forgiving and you’ll probably breeze right through it. Arcade mode is probably the best part of the Razing Storm game itself and I’m going to tell you right now that the Sentry mode is just boring.
Sentry mode contains three stages of varying difficulty, each with multiple areas, all taking place at the fictional Almada Penitentiary. The objective in each stage is to stop the escaping prisoners by shooting them. Shoot a guard and it’s mission over, you move on to the next area. I have no idea if you’re an actual character or just controlling sentry gun but you only have one weapon and remain in a fixed position like in a guard tower or on a rooftop. The prisoners will not shoot at you so what makes it difficult is trying to hit moving targets and avoid shooting guards and obstacles. You can zoom in and you’ll want to aim for head shots. Shooting specific enemies will cause them to drop medals and you’ll need to shoot the medals to obtain them for a higher score. An alarm will go off when a high security prisoner is on the run and you’ll need to find and shoot him before he escapes. If you fail to kill a prisoner in time they just run off screen, escaping. I guess this mode can be fun if you’re obsessed with high scores but it didn’t hold my interest for long. It’s another mode that’s way too short and doesn’t have enough variety to remain interesting.
I have no real interest in multiplayer so I didn’t try the Online Battle Mode but you would think with the other three modes there would be a lot to offer here. Sadly, there isn’t. The Razing Storm package isn’t horrible but the entire experience is way too short with little reason to come back other than to kill time. You can probably beat everything in under five hours and then forget about it entirely. You do have the option to play with a buddy but that doesn’t save the game from mediocrity. It’s disappointing because the Arcade mode is actually enjoyable and I think if they just added more to it, it could have been a really memorable experience.
So now we’ll take a look at Time Crisis 4. The second of three games included on the disk. I never played the original release for PlayStation 3 but apparently it had a first-person shooter mode that was not included here. But if it was anything like the Story mode in Razing Storm, it’s omission may be for the best. So all we get is the Arcade mode. It’s on-rails shooter with a Prologue and three stages containing multiple areas. You can choose one of two ridiculously dressed characters to play as, Giorgio and Evan. Your mission is to stop the terrorists who have already acquired a top secret biological weapon and want to destroy the country. Something like that. You start off in an Airport in California, fight your way through the city by helicopter and on foot, eventually ending up in a Wyoming National Park and then finally an Air Force Base in Colorado. You mainly fight against enemy soldiers and insect enemies known as Terror Bites. These things are probably the worst part of the game. They’re just annoying bugs that crawl and fly and become a nuisance.
Enemies will shoot at you, throw shit at you, try to chop you with axes or whatever they are, fire rockets, all typical light-gun game stuff. You can duck to avoid attacks and are equipped with four weapons including a pistol, machinegun, shotgun, and grenade launcher. The pistol is only the gun with infinite ammo and shooting gold-colored soldiers causes them to drop ammo for your other weapons. The game will tell you what the best weapon to use is for the current situation. For example using the machinegun is best against the crawling Terror Bites and the shotgun is best for the flying ones. You hold the reload button to duck and switch weapons. You’ll always be accompanied by the other protagonist and an NPC named William Rush. Shooting your allies will result in a loss of points. There are a few scenarios called “multi-screen battles” where you get attacked from every direction and must aim the pointer at the edges of the screen to change views. During these battles you’re required to fend off enemies for thirty seconds to complete a specific objective like protecting a truck or pulling yourself out of quicksand.
There’s Free Play and Ranked modes and unlike Razing Storm there’s actually a challenge here and a penalty for death. For each “Game Over” you will be awarded with one extra “Continue” so if you suck like me you’ll acquire several of these. In Ranked mode you’re given nine “Continues” total and you’ll need them as the game can be punishing even on the Normal difficulty but it’s probably easier if you play with a friend. Free Play mode enables you to set the amount of health, continues, and you can choose to start from any already completed stage. Unfortunately, the Arcade mode is very short and there’s nothing else on offer. The entire game can be beaten in under a half-hour. Other than that I really don’t have a lot of bad things to say about Time Crisis 4. It plays well and the motion controls work great.
So in the end what do we have? Two very short games that, even when put on the same disk, manage to make me feel like there should have been more. There’s nothing about them that’s particularly great or that stands out. Razing Storm has a generic story mode with terrible motion controls, an uninteresting Sentry mode, and an extremely short arcade mode. Time Crisis 4 was stripped of it’s first-person shooter mode leaving only the arcade mode which is enjoyable but also very short in length. Each of these games have cool scenarios to shoot through but in the end it’s not memorable enough to keep me coming back.
In the next review I will take a look at the third game on the disk, Deadstorm Pirates.