TimeShift

aka: Chronos
Moby ID: 30907
Windows Specs
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Description official description

In the nearby future scientists develop a so-called Quantum suit that allows the carrier to travel through time. Two prototypes called Alpha and Betasuit are ready for testing when Aiden Krone enters the lab, steals the Alphasuit and makes a time-jump before he blows up the building. Luckily you were there and had the chance to jump into the Betasuit and activate the time travel before the building was destroyed. But it took the suit a second too long to jump so the explosion hit it and your jump didn't go as planned. When you wake up in an alley in the future you quickly realize that Krone has already declared himself leader of the world and transformed it into a totalitarian state with him as the dictator. Shortly after waking up, you are found by some rebels and you join their task in order to stop Krone and fix the timeline since your suit was too badly damaged by the blast.

Fight your way through hordes of enemies with futuristic, but also conventional weapons like pistols or shotguns. Your suit isn't rendered totally useless. It still allows you to slow down, rewind and forward time for a short period. This not only allows you to overcome obstacles like fire but you can also trick your enemies. Players can slow down the time and then steal the weapon out of the hand of an enemy - if he hasn't a too strong grip on it. This feature is also used for small time-related puzzles.

There are notable differences with the time manipulation element from the Prince of Persia series. Manipulating the time won't affect yourself and when you are too badly wounded and die, you can't just rewind. You remain dead and have to reload. The game also doesn't feature medipacks. Instead the hero just needs to rest for a second if he is wounded and will then be fully healed again.

Manipulating time is also part of the multiplayer-experience. Besides the normal game-modes Deathmatch, Team-Deathmatch, One-on-One and Capture the flag, the game also features King of Time and Meltdown Madness.

In King of Time there's a Time Sphere in the center of the map which makes you impervious to all time effects. To win the game you need to rack up kills while you have the item. Meltdown Madness instead requires of you to throw Chrono Grenades at the opposing team's machine to prevent it from functioning. Once a machine of a team has completed his countdown, that team wins.

The Chrono Grenades are also part of all the other game modes in addition to the Time Shield and the Time Resistance power-up. While the Chrono Grenades come in the three flavors and slow down, forward or rewind time in the area of the blast. The Time Shield not only makes you immune to time manipulation but also slows down every foreign object in a specific area which is good for dodging enemy fire. The Time Resistance power-up grants immunity against all time effects for a short period of time.

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Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 68 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 58 ratings with 4 reviews)

By the book FPS, move along

The Good
Another FPS finished, another week older. But let's look at the good features of Timeshift for a while.

In Timeshift you are a scientist (probably a theoretical physicist) and you end up in a dystopic society, ruled by a guy who likes projecting himself on big screens on the street walls, who you are going to defeat thanks to your special suit, which advises you of dangers and such. Yes, I know, this is not precisely original. What is original in Timeshift is the "time shifting" abilities of the suit that the hero of this game wears. You can either slow, stop or reverse time at your will, a bit like in the last Prince of Persia games, except for some differences. In Timeshift, not only you can do these three time actions, but you are independent of them too, that is, if you slow/stop/reverse time, you can still move in your own time, which adds some new strategies to the killing and a new dimension for the puzzles.

Other "thumbs up" for Timeshift is the graphics engine, which looks very good in high-end cards of two years ago (of 2005 that is). And all this being an in-house engine. Everything seems to cast very realistic shadows in near distance, while depth of field can go very far rendering distant objects still with the same quality as near ones. In addition, explosion effects look very spectacular provoking very believable smoke effects. It's also interesting the "depth of field" effect that blurs your vision at different distances except that you are aiming at. Another remarkable technical features are the Havok physics engine, as there are many breakable objects in each scenario and the animations of the characters, especially when killed. This is probably the first time I don't see any cadaver in a game having spasms or with a leg behind its neck due to an unlucky dying position. And, of course, the time reversing itself works perfectly even if half of the scenario is destroyed.

Another good thing is the variety in level design. At first it looks like all the game story is going to pass only in the ruined city where you start, but soon the action changes to more open scenarios like the mountains or enormous plant where the weaponry of the tyranny you are fighting is assembled. There is a couple of gameplay breaks too, with some flying combats and some points of the game where you can drive quads. It's not a great thing, but it helps making the experience less boring.

The Bad
Problem is, well, you have played this before, everybody has.

Let's look at how predictable and repetitive FPS are revising what makes Timeshift unnecessary :

  • You are way better than your enemies. It's always the same thing these days, playing is about rampaging hundreds of enemies thrown at you without compassion. They don't flee, they don't try to reason with you, they don't have nothing to live for. It can be funny at first, but soon you start to get bored to kill the same guy for the 50th time and it gets so easy that you don't even try. Sometimes I wonder why do they fight, if they have family and friends..., until I remember I'm playing a modern videogame. At least in Timeshift there is a reason that makes you superior.

  • Melee, gun, assault rifle, shotgun, sniper, rocket/missile launcher and two or three exotic guns. Think on the last non-WWII FPS you played, try to remember the weapons you could use? What a surprise!, you have the same weapons here. And if there was a flamethrower and a thunder gun you have exactly the same weaponry Timeshift has. The problem is not that they don't design more creative weapons, the problem is that there is not too much space to innovate already.

  • Sewers, boxes, rocks and man-sized pipes. Level design falls also in many clichés of the FPSs. Warehouses full of crates or other objects distributed conveniently are found also in this game, while pipes and air conditioning channels enough big for a person to enter in crouch mode are the best way to enter a room when the door has a red light on it. In the city, these are substituted by sewers, setting hated by everybody, but unhealthily loved by every level designer. Timeshift is also short in setting quantity, there are around 6 different settings (ruined city, warehouse, grassland, green or snowy and... sewers?) and some look alike a lot. Still some levels look quite beautiful mostly due to the great graphical engine of the game.

  • Green means go, red means stop. Other very important feature of FPSs is their linearity. FPS designers and coders are lazy, and they don't want you to do anything exotic, just cover, shoot and resolve stupid puzzle. For this, there is only one path to follow, and they will make sure you don't get out of it. No, wait, my fault, there is only one path except for some "hidden" bonuses you can found here and there. Usually, this means that if you don't follow the incredibly obvious path with neon lights saying "smart people always go this way" and you divert through the ugly looking corridor nobody loves, you may find some extra ammo (...). And, as even level designers understand that sometimes their creations are too repetitive and tedious that players eyes' go on strike and stop distinguishing shapes, now they have started to use green and red lights (I saw it in Doom 3 for the first time, not sure if it's older). If a door has red lights around, it wont open, if a button glows green it's meant to be pushed. And not only that, these games usually come with a minimap that marks you where your next goal is. In summary, you don't even have to pay attention to the story or dialogs, shoot everything, go where the minimap says and interact with anything that glows in green.

  • Story is expendable. The bad guy has gone to the past, blahblahblah, you have gone after him, tyranny in the past, a resistance, defeat the bad guy (oops!, did I ruined you the ending?). From the beginning of the game even your dog knows how it's going to end, and, as said in the previous paragraph, dialogs are also unnecessary with the minimap. Then, what's the point? Well, the shooting. Producers know this and they wont pay a salary for work that their 5 year old child can make.

  • Weak science fiction. Let's start with a fact of the game. You travel back to 1939 to fight an army developed by Krone, who has traveled to some year before that one. All the models for Dr. Krone in the game are the same, so he hasn't aged too much in the whole timeline that the game follows, but, he has managed to revolutionize the whole war technology to the point that when you arrive, he produces futuristic armors and weapons, tanks, quads, Robocop like bipeds, cyborgs and futuristic flying ships, all of them at an industrial rate. Oh!, and he also has a skyscraper high spider like mobile assault station á la "Wild Wild West", which you defeat at the end of the game very easily. And Krone is not a military engineer, but a physicist specialized in applied physics. There is a way to solve this: Krone could team up with somebody in his first travel and show them planes to develop all this elements. Even with the difficulty of producing XXI century technology in the 20s or 30s, considering the poor effort invested on Timeshift's story, it's hard to believe they thought on all these details. It's also hard to believe that a computer can compute all the possible time breaks from the input of the suit you carry.

This may look like an exaggeration, but, in my opinion, this is an important problem with the science-fiction genre. Many people call this game science-fiction while it's not. To be science-fiction, there has to be an extensive scientific development of a fictitious idea, while telling a story. It's not enough to set a story in the future or in space or use some of the usual sci-fi topics like time traveling or teleportation. A good example of what am I saying is "Star Wars" that is usually referred as science-fiction. Well, it's not, there is no scientific development of any idea, there is no science at all actually but, it's galactic setting is enough to put it in the science-fiction genre. It's like calling RPG a game just because it features elves, dwarfs and/or orcs. Discussion

  • Woman equals tits. Number of male characters in Timeshift: a lot; number of females: 1, which is naked most of the time. Do videogame designers have girlfriends? or female friends? are girls invisible to them? These are the sort of question that arise when playing any FPS. There are barely no girls in first person shooters and, when there are, they are always willing to show part of their big perfectly round tits. Maybe the answer is as pathetic as that designers don't want to make more than one human model, or maybe they see girls as something so cute that wouldn't make any sense in the violent videogames they produce, but in any case, thank you for making videogames an impossible chat topic when socializing with girls.

  • One innovation at a time. And sometimes not even that, but, as tradition rules, any innovative game can only innovate in one slight feature at a time, while the rest of the feature should be the lowest common denominator in videogame standards. Usually this means an over-the-top graphics engine that no machine can run at the time (coughCrysis-F.E.A.R.-UnrealII-Far_Cry-anythingIdcough), but it can also be some tech feature like controlling the time. Of course, more than this will be banned from the producers, who know the important marketing rule that states that you can make more money if you innovate very slowly while waste tons of dollars advertising it as the best thing in years. If you have two or more innovations in the same game, they'll shadow each other, and each of them wont boost the sales as much as a lonely innovation by itself.

    The Bottom Line
    In summary, Timeshift is the same old FPS that you will enjoy because of its great graphics. Playing it would be the perfect definition of wasting time, you wont learn anything from it, your family will still believe that games are stupid violent toys for kids and recommend you to do something with your life if they see you playing this, if it's a girls who sees you (you are a man, by the way, which girls would consider playing this anyway?), your possibilities with her will decrease by, at least, a 20% percent, etc. Still, if you like FPSs you may have some fun with the game. At least, if you don't really enjoy it, you can always blame on it all your problems witting a review at Mobygames, :)

Windows · by MichaelPalin (1414) · 2008

Heading into the past for some fun

The Good
The graphics: To me, the graphics were great. They felt like an real Playstation 3 game for me. Sometimes jaggies will appear, but this isn't distracting. Everything is rich and colourful.

The gameplay:

The gameplay is very enjoyable, especially the multiplayer part, where you can play online. During the game, so called fire fights will appear, in which you have to slow down the time. I find this a bit annoying, since i like fast paced action.

The Bad
The sound: Well, the music isn't anything special, there isn't much music. So do the effects, there are some basic gun sounds, grenade sound and shooting sounds.

The story: I find the story a bit hard to understand, because there isn't really a big story in my opinion at all. You play as a mysterious physicist who created special suits for controlling time. One of them is stolen, and you need to find it with your own suit.

The Bottom Line
It's and enjoyable game. The story is quite confusing, but fans of this genre will like it.

PlayStation 3 · by Deleted (381) · 2008

A Solid shooter, worth playing. [Rew. <<] . . worth playing, but is a bit of a missed opportunity.

The Good
TimeShift is a fast-paced action FPS which gives the player the ability to have some control over the flow of time, as the title suggests.

Though you may have encountered some earlier games with some similarly like-minded concepts, e.g. Prince of Persia The Sands of Time, Blinx -- TimeShift is the first shooter game I am aware of that incorporates three time-altering play facets, here being: slow-time, stop-time and reverse-time.

The games’ premise is as follows; You are a physicist who is working on a Beta version of a special Quantum Suit which can be used to manipulate the flow of time. A co-worker of yours - A suitably ‘evil dude' one Dr. Krone, had some funny ideas about using the original Alpha suit to travel to an alternate time stream, where he would rule the world. Surely enough, this is what he has done, and you have to use the Beta suit to travel to Krone’s era, and put a stop to him. This makes for some bleak days indeed, but there is an occupant uprising going on, with some resistance fighters turning the tide on Krone, and his regime. You actively assist these groups of freedom-fighters, and with your advanced suit’s capabilities, leading the people to an ultimate victory of a world free of tyranny should all be in-a-days-work.

As for the majority of other shooters, the basic game-lay has you blasting your way through enemy-laden set pieces, collecting weapons and ammo, while completing simple plot-developing objectives. There are cut-scenes in dispersed throughout the game - being here short memory vignettes of the protagonists’ secret past.

Now for the big hook - your time shifting abilities. As I mentioned, you are able to slow down, stop and rewind time. The length of the cycle in which you can achieve these feets of time-law defiance is limited by the energy reserves of the suit, which has the ability to automatically recharge itself after use. While you are not directly affected by the 'time-shift', everything else around you is. Simple enough?

The first bullet-time component doesn’t really require explanation, as the tactical advantage it presents in combat situations should prove fairly obvious. The way in which this works is most closely like-minded to Monolith's F.E.A.R in execution. Interestingly, something a bit different is the ability to disarm enemies while they are in this state of time-flux. You can stroll up to them, and pinch their weapon(s). Subsequently they will exclaim “Don’t shoot, I am unarmed!”, but when you turn your back, they will immediately start for some chance weapon that is lying around. So mercy was never really an option.

The stop-time feature can obviously be used in a similar fashion, though it drains the power of the suit the fastest, so is less viable for tackling multiple opponents. It is fun to stop time when confronting a single enemy - Pump him full of lead, with a nice little touch being the blood splattering on your suits’ visor. Then watch the great rag-doll style physics in action as he goes flying skyward upon the time resume.

Last up is the rewind, which is by far the most visually arresting of the abilities. This brings forward some particularly exciting staged action sequences. Where as you may be casually making your way along some bridge, when it suddenly collapses under you! Hey, no problem. Just reverse time and the bridge will piece itself back together right before you eyes. You can then safely make your way across, just in time before ‘real-time’ recommences and it crumbles in your wake. Another scenario may be that you find yourself in some hot-water where you would otherwise be overwhelmed by the enemies - you can send them trudging backwards the way they came, then find suitable cover in order to be ready to face them on your own terms.

Other situations arise during the course of play which require one or more of these special features, such as bypassing security defenses, avoiding traps, safely passing through hazards and so forth.

Your suit also provides you with protection from harms way in the form of a shield. If you have ever played Halo 2 the method of implementation will instantly be familiar to you. No health bar is present, instead only a circular gauge is shown for the shield, which will deplete upon being injured. Taking cover on a regular basis becomes necessary to allow the shield time to regenerate. Furthermore, activating the slow-time will greatly accelerate the whole process, which is remarkably handy in the frequent heated battle situations.

Similarly like Saber’s first shooter effort - Will Rock, TimeShift has a good assortment of fun weapons. The designs are chunky and have a good level of detail, and generally look distinctively styled & interesting. But most important, are potent, easy to get to grips with, and are a delight to dismember the countless Krone guards with.

The machine gun/grenade launcher combo is solid, and the fact you can put a time delay on the alt-fire grenade to detonate adds some strategic value to the mix. There is a flame propelling gun - called Hellfire, which can be fired as an arc stream, or alternatively as a flamethrower which will barbeque the hordes into very crispy gib chunks to go. There is also a very cool sniper-crossbow with explosive-tip arrows, and also a more traditional sniper rifle is thrown in as well. You can only carry three weapons’ at any given time, so as to encourage you to try out the different toys’ which will crop up, swap & change along the way etc.

At some points during play, you can drive Quad-Bikes which was really a lot of fun. This reminded me a lot of some similar scenarios in Ritual’s SiN. The view is similarly from the first-person perspective. You can go tearing around some mountain pass, and run down the enemies, and jump across elevating bridges! These instances provided some of the most entertaining parts of the game for me.

In terms of visuals, TimeShift has grandeur to spare. The effect of pouring rain on the first level looks astonishing, especially when going backwards on the rewind! I was similarly impressed by some of the destructible set pieces - pillars, and decayed structural remains can be chipped away by gun fire, and the smoke haze & particle effects are completely topnotch. The frequent huge fiery explosions suitably look the business - especially if you slow down time for a closer inspection.

The Bad
Unfortunately general lapses in game-play, and some fairly rudimentary flaws directly affect the challenge, which subsequently affects the atmosphere.

The friends which fight alongside you aren’t blessed with special suits, though are blessed in the way they can’t be killed by oncoming gunfire. They charge along through the desolate burnt out war zones and are completely unscathed by the barrage of carnage. I suppose they could all hail from the planet Krypton. But moreover, this hardly does anything to further immerse you in the game world.

The problem afflicting the NPCs extends to the enemies. So often they will simply run into your outpour of lead, and do nothing to avoid your attacks. If you spot an enemy guard in the distance just obliviously standing around, and take a potshot at him - will he take cover? No. He will hold still until you have exhausted enough rounds to drop him. Unfortunately lure and kill tactics are all too easy to accomplish, even on the ‘elite’ difficulty, as the bad guys’ are scripted in a particularly ‘kamikaze’ fashion.

The objectives given to you in TimeShift often simply just involve activating some switch or lever(s) in order to temporarily open some door to the next area, which doesn’t exactly captivate the imagination - Even if coupled with integrating the time-shifting aspect. There are the occasional puzzles which require a little more forethought to solve in regards to employing your full-range of special abilities to render the solution, though it isn't quite enough to redress the balance.

Level design is strictly linear, and this leaves very little incentive for exploring the environments. Often there will be multiple doors presented or a path to an interesting area to negotiate which is always off-limits. Though you quickly find only one route will ever be open to you in any given instance. This “you can look, but don’t go” philosophy can often make your travels rather a bit ho-hum push forwards.

A factor which ultimately had an impact on the final product was I think partly due to the final management decisions - Opting to spend the extra year of development on superficial things like making the overall visual style ‘darker’ (opposed of the original steam-punk theme), and reducing the storyline to the bare-bones minimum for the result of suggesting that the player is conceivably supposed to feel like the person in the special suit. It is a shame the time wasn’t better spent on such things as improving the AI, and making the level designs, puzzles and objectives’ more involved and varied.

The Bottom Line
In spite of all those critical things back there, TimeShift very much remains worthwhile gaming. This is because the action is thick and fast, the weapons are particularly fun, and blasting the bad guys’ to bloody gib-chunks in slow-mo is as satisfying as ever. However, it is a little unfortunate some of the games’ execution feels like the long-past generation of shooters, and the time-shift facet isn’t exploited to full potential. All in all though, this is simply great stoic entertainment with truly first-class visual effects.

Windows · by Nick Drew (397) · 2008

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Trivia

German version

There are a number of changes in the German version: * All blood and gore effects were removed. * Corpses disappear faster. * Ragdoll effects on corpses were removed. * Enemies and corpses can't be set on fire. * Some script sequences were removed, e.g. the execution of an ally in the second level.

A detailed list of changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).

Platforms

Initially, TimeShift was in development for Windows, with Xbox and Xbox 360 versions announced soon after. The Xbox version was eventually cancelled, as the developers wanted to fully concentrate on the new generation of consoles. Instead, development on a PlayStation 3 version was started.

Publisher

The game was originally going to be published by Atari, but the publishing rights went to Sierra on April 20, 2006. Information was scarce, and the project seemed to be cancelled until April 10, 2007, when the publisher announced the game was given a complete overhaul. The most notable change was a complete re-imagining of visual style, moving away from a steampunk theme.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sicarius.

Xbox One added by Sciere. PlayStation 3 added by jaXen.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Scaryfun, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third.

Game added November 8, 2007. Last modified February 2, 2024.