I had been looking forward to TimeShift for a while, but getting closer to release my excitement had been waning a bit. People sounded a bit unimpressed, the time powers weren’t really as interesting as they first seemed, and the delays meant it was no longer as groundbreaking as it may have been. I was able to borrow the Xbox 360 version from a friend, so I quickly played through it (I think it only took around 10 hours to beat). Overall, it was a fun, solid game. But, I feel like there were many things they missed out on.
I was disappointed with the time powers (slow time, pause time, reverse time), as they weren’t used in very many creative ways. “Pause Time” drains your meter so quickly, it’s rarely worth using; except for the few puzzles where you’re required to use it, like running through fire, on top of water, or across an unstable platform. Why didn’t I get to pause time while a giant missile was in the air, and use it as a stepping stone? Maybe it would have been better if pausing time lasted a lot longer if there were no enemies around. Then they could have made some really complex puzzles.
Reverse Time is hardly ever used, which is a shame, because that’s the most interesting one. I would, however, love to see what speed runners could do with it. I’m sure there are some amazing tricks I never thought of.
So that leaves us with “slow time,” which was definitely the most used power in my play-through. It lasts the longest, and enables you to dodge pretty much everything. I had fun running straight into a large cluster of enemies, slowing down time, and trying to fight through them. It can easily go wrong, but that’s okay. That’s just how I like to play; I have more fun that way than sitting back and sniping all the time. If I die, I’ll just try it again, so I appreciate the quick saves the game allows you to do (reloading your game takes an annoyingly long time, though).
There is a large portion of the game where you’re on an ATV (a “quad”). I skipped tons of the game by slowing time and driving past everyone — but they expect you to do this, and it’s fun. There was another part where I ran down the road where a whole bunch of enemies were driving up. I used reverse time to make them back up a bit, continued running, and they drove right past me.
A Missed Opportunity:
There’s one thing I think they really missed out on: saving videos. They’re all the rage now, with games like Halo 3 and Skate allowing you to save videos, and post them online easily. Remember the TimeShift commercials? Playing the game doesn’t really feel like that, but you could have saved a video just like that. Picture this:
You run into a room, slow time, and take out five guys. You continue into the next room, where an enemy shoots a rocket at you. Right before it hits you, you freeze time, run around the rocket and up to the enemy, unfreeze time, and melee attack him with your gun.
Now, if they had a video mode, you could replay those events back, from a spectator’s view. It would look like this:
The hero runs into a room full of enemies, but before they are able to hit him, he runs in hyperspeed, leaving a yellow streak behind him. Like a flash, he circles the room, killing all the enemies. Running into the next room, an enemy fires a rocket straight at him, but before contact, the hero disappears and teleports across the room, ending up right in front of the enemy, hitting the enemy with his gun.
This is just a small example, but you can imagine how cool it would be to watch back your own run from a spectator’s view. They could have an option to play it back from your view, or the spectator’s. It would add so much replayability to the game, because you could have fun trying crazy things, and seeing how they’d look. Hell, I’d watch back practically the entire game that way.
Let’s hope for some cool stuff in TimeShift 2 (if they make it).