Guest Author - James Shea
A madman betrays his fellow scientists and steals a time-jumping super suit, leaving a timed explosive in his wake. In a last-ditch effort to save himself, one researcher jumps into the other prototype suit that they have and chases after him. What he finds is a world where the use of future technology has allowed said madman to become an unstoppable fascist dictator. That's the plot of Timeshift, a first person shooter for the PS3 that combines Half Life 2's dystopian future with Prince of Persia's time-changing abilities.
The main abilities in the game focus on the suit's time-warping, which can slow down, stop, or reverse time for short periods. Slowing time will increase your reflexes and agility, boosting your fighting ability. It also has a fairly long effect before it runs out of juice, so it's a good one to use during regular firefights. Stopping time has two different effects: one, it allows you to move among the enemy even less impeded than in slowed time, allowing you to literally grab the guns from their hands as they stand frozen in place. The other effect it has is on physics and the world; teetering boards that in other games would lower if you stood on them can be frozen in place and used as a solid walking platform, and water can be run across like solid ground. Reversing time is useful only in certain situations; unlike Prince of Persia, the player character is not moved by the reversing of time (so you can't pull yourself out of dangerous falls or whatever). What you can do, however, is undo damage done to, say, a bridge, so that you can cross before it gets destroyed again. You can also use it to free yourself from a sticky grenade that has caught onto you. The effects from these are pretty cool, and also tie into the health system (which regenerates over time); you can use time effects to surprise your enemies, run to cover, escape an ambush, or just plain beat up your foes. The time effects are definitely the best part of the game.
The FPS part of the game comes from the guns used by the player. However, they're almost all textbook weapons - pistol, rifle with grenade launcher, shotgun, sniper rifle, and so on. There's nothing particularly noteworthy in the field of firearms, and they're mostly there to give you something to shoot with when you freeze or slow time. The controls are weird and unintuitive, and they can't be changed except for a single button switch.
The graphics and sound in the game are nice, but not excellent. The sound especially is fairly mediocre, though there are some interesting enemy responses to your time-shifting ("He just appeared!" "What just happened?!?"). The characters are bulky and odd and don't seem natural for whatever reason. None of the designs are particularly good; all of them have the same "future trooper" motif.
As a whole, this game has one neat element and a lot more mediocre ones. If it had been more developed, then it would've been enough, but it doesn't feel like the inclusion of one cool thing is enough to carry the game.