Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Preview: Timeshift

This game has been in the works for a LONG time. So long in fact that I had written it off as dead. Most of the stories you find about it are from 2005 or 2006, still listing it as a Spring 2006 release. Well, Timeshift is finally coming out on October 30th. And the demo has been on the Xbox Live Marketplace for a couple weeks or so.

I finally downloaded the demo tonight and played it through. The concept of the game is somebody has invented time travel. They've gone back in time and created some kind of paradox or messed up history. You are equipped with a suit which can freeze, slow or reverse time. You are trying to put right what once went wrong.

I can see why they had problems properly developing the game. Total control over time seems like it would make the game too easy and not engaging. However, they seemed to have reached a decent medium with it. You have limited reserves for controlling time. These reserves replenish themselves over time. Freezing time drains the reserves faster than slowing time. Freezing time also makes you move a lot slower.

So yes, you can freeze time, take an enemy's gun and shoot him in the face with it, but you won't be doing it often and you'll have to be close to him before you freeze time or you'll never reach him before time reaches normal again. Slowing time is the most frequent use of the time control suit.

Manipulating time is relatively easy with a simple push of the bumper. The game automatically picks the time manipulation it thinks you should use(usually slowing time). However, you can manually pick the time manipulation by holding the bumper and selecting one of the three.

The weapons I got to play with in the demo were a machine gun, a shotgun and an explosive crossbow as well as some grenades. The demo let me understand the game mechanics, but I don't feel like it really told me much about the story. I didn't feel very immersed. I know I was fighting some soldiers and there were other soldiers fighting on my side, but that was about it.

There were some destructible environments. Some of the walls can be shot through or destroyed. Your character has a radar system which is helpful for figuring out where the enemy is and who the friendlies are.

The game felt kinda like Half-Life 2 to me. I might check it out when it comes out, but it's not on my "Must Have It" list.


PuLseLoGiK said...

They had a demo of this way-way back (don't remember when) that I played and it sucked terribly. Graphics were so-so and gameplay was weak. It soon disappeared from existence. I later read in some magazine that the developers noticed that it sucked as well so they scratched the entire game and started over (engine- and game play-wise).

I think they did an excellent job of cleaning up the graphics and gameplay! It's totally playable now. Granted, I agree with Andy, it might not be a must buy but they totally saved the game from it's demise. Got to credit to the developer to realize their laziness and fix what was wrong earlier.

Jester013 said...

Yeah, when I was looking for a picture for the story, I kept finding screenshots from the old build. It definitely looked like crap back then.

Jigsaw hc said...

This second demo is great. The first one stunk. Nice to see they changed stuff to make it a game worth playing.