Time Crisis: Razing Storm
Most of the PlayStation Move’s launch titles haven’t offered gamers a lot of content beyond a collection of simple minigames. Time Crisis: Razing Storm avoids this pitfall by packing three full (albeit shallow) games into one compilation, placing it among the more robust offerings available to early adopters of Sony’s new tech. That said, the entertainment value provided by this trio of games ranges from mediocre to dreadful, reminding players that “more” doesn’t always translate to “better.”
The main offering in the collection is Razing Storm, which proves that the Wii doesn’t have a monopoly on bad first-person shooters made worse by poorly implemented motion controls. Like many Wii games, Razing Storm uses the motion controller to both point your reticule and rotate your view. The result is sluggish, drunken aiming and a general inability to deftly navigate your environment. The game compensates for this shortcoming with the ability to snap your view (but not reticule) to enemies with the press of a button, which is mildly helpful.
Razing Storm also has “G Action” locations littered throughout the environment. Standing at one of these spots and pointing the controller at the ceiling will result in you taking cover. Aim back at the screen and the camera will automatically position itself for the best view of the battlefield. The system works sometimes, but more often than not the spots don’t activate properly, leaving you staring at the sky as your enemies mercilessly fill you with lead. Even if these mechanics worked as intended, moving and looking around the environment is an exercise in frustration. Sparse checkpoints and the game’s penchant for ambushing you with floods of enemies that attack from all directions neutralize any fun you might have with the eccentric arsenal.
Even if you can overcome these hurdles, the horribly stupid AI puts Razing Storm leagues behind modern first-person shooters. My AI teammates would frequently walk directly into my line of fire while I was shooting, and at one point a fellow soldier signaled that an area was clear and waved me ahead by pointing directly at an enemy who was shooting him in the face. I wouldn’t play Razing Storm again with a normal controller, much less with the PlayStation Move.
Thankfully, the compilation’s other two offerings are more reliable and entertaining. Time Crisis 4 is the arcade version of the light gun shooter, and trades Razing Storm’s convoluted first-person mode for on-rails action. Aside from shooting with the trigger and reloading/ducking with the Move button, the only other mechanic you’ll use is flipping the controller left and right to switch views during the multi-screen segments. Move performs admirably in this game, and although the storyline and dialogue are painfully stupid, the action is still mindless fun. My only complaint is that Time Crisis 4 inexplicably limits the number of continues you have, and you’ll likely fail out of a stage multiple times before making it to the end. You can unlock infinite continues by beating all three stages, but why not just give players that option from the beginning?
The final title included in the compilation is Deadstorm Pirates, which changes up the gameplay formula yet again. In this title, you play as a pirate with a magical automatic pistol that has unlimited ammo and doesn’t require reloading. You also don’t have the ability to dodge, which means most of the action consists of holding in the trigger and moving your stream of bullets around the screen like a laser pointer. A few mechanics, such as spinning the controller in a circle to rotate the wheel of a pirate ship, change up gameplay slightly. The nonstop action is again entertaining, but like Time Crisis 4, Deadstorm Pirates features another brainless plot and horrendous voiceovers. The progression system, which requires you to play through all of the main stages consecutively to unlock the final stage, is even worse that Time Crisis 4’s tactic for artificially lengthening gameplay.
Ultimately, the compilation’s two light-hearted rail shooters will entertain gamers who don’t mind a healthy dose of absurdity mixed in with their action. The titular Razing Storm, on the other hand, will disappoint and frustrate virtually anyone who has played another FPS in the past 10 years. This title isn’t the worst Move title on the market, but it won’t sell any hardware, either.