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E3 2007: TimeShift Impressions

  Sierra's TimeShift was present on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at E3, but our point of interest was clearly the PS3 version. The game was still very early, and the framerate indicated that much. Action sequences made the framerate plummet down to 15 (as noted by the on-screen debug display), although I do recall the Xbox 360 version being just slightly smoother. TimeShift is still in its alpha stage, and I was assured that framerate quirks will be ironed out and the game will run smoothly at 30 frames per second by the time it's complete.

   The environments were destructible, though there destruction didn't seem very convincing. Windows broke in large chunks, and walls were torn up predictably. A lot of the game's destruction looked like it could've been done on the previous generation of consoles. Again, we're hoping that the simplicity in detail behind the environmental destruction ties in to how early the game build was. What I did like were the explosions.

   Additionally, the game's timeshifting concept is more than just a glorified slow-motion technique that slows down time for your enemies, but keeps your gunning in real-time. Instead, timeshifting makes your character run through time, which makes nearby enemies only see you as a blur - and thus they're not able to target you. Timeshifting comes in handy when you need to take out numerous enemies at once, so what you'd do is enable it, run up to the enemies and start taking them out one by one. Of course, you're time with the technique is limited.

   And because you're running through time, as opposed to slowing it down, you can reverse time to help you get through a destroyed path. In a segment from the game, destruction blocks your path, so what you do is enter into the timeshift mode, and the destruction is undone. You then run through your path, while still in mode, disable timeshift and then witness that same explosion take place behind you. Moreover, you can also stop time, which will further help you overcome various obstacles in order to progress through the game.

   As you can see, the concept behind TimeShift is pretty good, but the game still has ways to go in order to be considered good. Another big issue I had with the game was that it lacked feel. In other words, when I'm shooting at an enemy, the enemy doesn't recoil from my gunshots. Instead, he'll just drop dead when he's done - that puts me off, as I'm not sure if I'm connecting or not. It really puts a damper on the whole experience - Sierra needs to fix that.

Related Game(s): TimeShift

7/13/2007 Arnold Katayev

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