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TimeShift (Windows)

72
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  SifouNaS (1317)
Written on  :  Nov 28, 2007
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful

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Summary

Sweet shooter with a hint of puzzling

The Good

Timeshift captured me from the first few levels. At the beginning the whole setting and atmosphere reminded me a lot about Half Life 2. Indeed, the base of both Timeshift's and Half Life's 2 scenarios are very similar: some corporation has taken over and rules our world and the player impersonates a scientist or a person with special abilities that will relieve the world from these devastating and evil rulers.

Whereas Half Life 2 gave a more "sci-fi meets other dimension lifeforms" approach to the story, Timeshift takes the military grudge route. Roughly, our story begins in the present days when Dr. Krone creates a suit that can manipulate time as we know it and therefore whoever wears the suit can travel either back and forth, or stop the time! Two prototype suits were ever created: the Alpha and the Beta suit, which is basically an evolved model of the Alpha.

The player takes command of the fore mentioned special scientist who wears the Beta model. All of a sudden everything goes wrong, Krone steals the Alpha suit and the labs get blown to pieces, as you get transferred to a future era where everything, the whole world is under the influence and ruled by Krone, in devastating monarchy neo-fascism style, where every citizen needs to be registered and is surveyed. In those Krone regime times some people do resist against the monarch's fascistic ways. So the player is called upon to help the resistance and free the world of the presence of Krone, by using the special time manipulating abilities of the Beta suit.

Based on that special set of time manipulation abilities, Timeshift is a pure first person shooter in which the player fights off the hordes of Krone's loyal military groups. In aid of that fighting come the suit's time slowing abilities, in order to dodge enemy fire and to have a tactical advantage in the many situations where the player gets outnumbered. Furthermore the real value of the time manipulating suit shows up in the many puzzles of the game, where the "think in four dimensions instead of three" message that displays sometimes as a hint in the level loading screens is true. So basically in order to give a meaning to the suits existence the game designers have laid out many puzzles which the player has to consider the timing of events as well. These puzzles most often regard obstacles that you need to pass in order to proceed further, for example if you stop the time you can pass safely though fire or falling bridges, or if you reverse the time some elevator platforms that were going down are now going up, therefore you can jump on them and go to upper levels. There's quite a few puzzles scattered around in the levels that will give thinking breaks from the shooting main-flow. You have to be creative here and really think about you see happening in their reverse sequence in order to solve some of these puzzles. But the whole thinking process is mostly enjoying and doesn't distract or frustrate too much from the shooter game core.

The shooter core of Timeshift, is rather good making it an enjoyable shooter with weapons that generally give justice to the player, especially when combined with your time manipulation abilities. Situations become challenging often as the AI is rather smart, spots you early and uses cover techniques on the surrounding scenery more than actually exposing themselves to your fire, making themselves rather difficult to nail down, so tactical thinking is needed in order to survive here, but still the whole process is enjoying.

Apart from the time manipulation abilities which are definitely a great deal of help given the game design of Timeshift, there are many futuristic looking weapons for the player to use against the enemy. And as I mentioned before these weapons are generally give you justice and gaming satisfaction. For instance the game features a rapid firing shotgun which make it one of the best shotguns I ever played on a shooter. It's reloading time is rather long, but with tactical thinking the player will make really good use of it, unlike other games of the genre where a shotgun comes to actual use only a few times, mainly due to their extremely low rates of fire.In Timeshift the player is able to fire a full load in just a couple of seconds with devastating consequences to the enemy. Also many weapons have scopes which make them ideal for sniper tactics. The player is limited to carry only 3 types of weapons at any time and can substitute any one of them with another he finds on the levels. Therefore further tactical thinking is needed on to what weapons suit best the forthcoming situations. Apart from the array of conventional weapons the player has the ability to mount machine gun posts, laser turrets etc.

The audio visuals of the game are very good and imaginative, providing an enjoying playing surrounding. There's a wide variety of level types as the player travels through ruined cities, sci-fi labs, storage depots, mountains, forest and even gets airborne on a resistance operated blimp. The graphical novelty is kept high throughout the whole of the game. Noted is the 'Art-Deco meets 50's design' style machinery, combined with the powerful Krone's fascist propaganda symbols which maintains the dictator's authority, both of which are beautifully modelled and textured in the game.

The Bad

The first thing I didn't like about Timeshift is the lack of an energy display on the HUD. The reason for that being that when you get hit by enemy fire you have to seek cover in order to recover. For that reason the player will not find any medikit anywhere. I really don't like this technique in shooter games, but it seems to become a trend nowadays as the same health mechanics appear on Call Of Duty 4, Clive Barker's Jericho and Soldier Of Fortune 3, perhaps to a few others I haven't played too, but I would prefer to have a visual status of my vitality level.

Secondly the voice acting gets a bit annoying at times. The player is given tasks to accomplish, such as to find things, find and operate switches to open doors etc. for the resistance groups to enter buildings etc. So if you take your time trying to think how you will be able to reach the task's location the resistance commander that issues the tasks to you starts complaining every 10 seconds or so by repeating things like "Get a move on soldier" or "What are you waiting for?". The high frequency of those complains got in my nerves and at times I wish I had the option to turn the guy silent!

The Bottom Line

I have really enjoyed playing through Timeshift! It has all the elements of a successful and very entertaining shooter that doesn't boast to be serving you expensive seafood when you're really been served just a few peanuts. With that I mean that Timeshift is a straight and honest shooter, with nice graphics, smooth gameplay, a good story support, with a nice atmosphere and on top of all these the time based puzzles which will grind your mind enjoyably for a few extra minutes.

It never claimed to be a breakthrough or a pioneering game and never will, but it is still a very good and extremely enjoyable shooter that you can easily complete once and two or three more time in the future.

Well recommended, especially to shooter fans.