Who never regretted a certain action or conversation? Wouldn’t you sometimes like to rewind and fix your mistake? Sadly this isn’t possible in reality, but with Timeshift, de new game of Saber Interactive it is. The big question is if having influence on the time is a revolution in FPS games or just a nice little addition. Let’s go and find out shall we!
Timeshift had a rough time during development. Originally planned as an Xbox title, it soon got in trouble when the publisher had to cut down on games in development. Saber Interactive had the luck of sparking the interest of Vivendi Games. With them as their new publisher, they did a complete makeover of the game. Running on the Next-gen platforms and PC, it now tries to capture the hearts of the many FPS fans. The story, that is if we can speak about a story, revolves around a scientist called Krone who steals one of the 2 timetravelling devices called Alpha Suit and uses it to become supreme ruler of the world in the past. With his departure he is kind enough to leave a bomb behind in the facility. Just when you’re about to get blown to pieces you can escape with the Beta Suit.
You reappear in 1939, but unlike the history we know, there is a dictator called Krone and his army, the Magistrate, is in power with futuristic weapons like a giant spider robot and soldiers with jetpacks. It’s the player’s duty to put the timeline back on track and execute the scientist Dr. Krone. Sadly this story is completely useless, since the developer never went any deeper on the characters and events that happened before the game’s setting. This is quite a missed chance since you could do so many creative things with time travel.
As the title said itself, you will have several time altering powers. These powers are rewind, fast forward and stop. The first power, rewind, is useful for the little puzzles that are spread around in the game. A simple example is a crane with a container which you can send towards you. When you jump on the container, you can rewind the crane to its original position. Another usefulness is when an enemy is able to stick a grenade on you. You can just rewind time and kill the enemy before he can throw it.
Fast forward you can compare with the slow motion from other games like The Matrix and Max Payne. You can for example take out 5 enemies before they can turn around and open fire on you. As a final power you can stop time. With this you can stop time and run away from an explosion or simply steal the weapons out of an enemy his hands. Nothing is more funnier then watching an enemy looking after it’s gun in the middle of combat. These 3 powers you can’t use for an unlimited time. You can use each power for a couple of seconds and the Stop power you can only use half as longs as the rewind and fast forward power.
Besides these 3 powers you also have an artifical intelligence or simply an AI called S.S.A.M (Strategic System for Adaptable Metacognition) build in your suit. This AI frequently gives you updates about your environment and will warn you when something bad is about to happen, for example a robot that is about to fire several rockets at your location or a bridge that is structural unstable. Another function of your ‘partner’ is recommending the right power for each situation. Saber Interactive shouldn’t have done this because hat use does the small puzzles have when you are told as a player which power you need to use?
On the graphics it will have to succumb to other triple A titles as Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4 on the Xbox 360 and Crysis on the PC. I was also wondering of all those resistance members are on steroids. Because each ‘Occupant’ member looks like they can die of a heart attack through an overdose. While it will have to succumb on most of the graphics there still a couple of beautiful scenes in the game as a rendered storm with full rain and a valley where you have to storm an enemy base with the resistance.
Regarding sound everything checks out. The effects of the guns are clear and decent, the voices of the enemies and resistance members are well done and when you enter a fierce fire fight, the music becomes a lot more action oriented.
The biggest improvement is in the multiplayer of Timeshift. The problem was implementing the time powers in the multiplayer, luckily Saber Interactive has succeeded in this. Instead of freezing or slowing the world completely, you will instead collect energy for special grenades. Depending on how much energy you have collected you will be able to use certain Time Powers with special grenades. These grenades create a certain area where the time is altered. Nothing is more fun then freezing a player and fire some rockets at him. After some seconds the distortion field stops and you can see the rockets fly to their helpless victim. This combined with the different multiplayer modes like deathmatch and Capture the Flag gives you some interesting experiences.
Timeshift would’ve been a beautiful game if it was released a half year or a year ago. Sadly it can’t compete with games like Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 on the Xbox 360. It isn’t a bad game and I will recommend its multiplayer to anyone who wants to try something new.