Ever since the Time Crisis series debuted back in the arcades in 1995, it has been a tradition for the arcade shooter to be ported to Sony's latest console hardware. The original Time Crisis appeared on the PlayStation One in 1997 and Time Crisis 2 and 3 made their way to the PlayStation 2. A few years after Time Crisis 4's arcade debut the game has finally landed in PAL territories on the PlayStation 3, but is the game worth picking up or a complete disaster?
Time Crisis 4 is the first light gun title on the PlayStation 3 and comes bundled with one gun for a higher than normal RRP. The orange Guncon 3 (G-Con) is quite different from the previous Guncons. First up, there are more buttons, as well as two analog directional sticks and a handle to the left of the gun. The G-Con isn't wireless and instead plugs in via USB on the PlayStation 3. Also included with the game are two sensors, which also connect via USB and go near the television to help calibrate the gun. Even before getting fully into Time Crisis 4 we did have a few qualms. First up, the gun is quite simply ugly, the orange colour makes the gun look like a Fisher Price toy and with such a large RRP it is disappointing that the gun isn't wireless. Setting the gun up is also a bit of a hassle, because there are two things to plug in and set up. If you're a left hander you're also immediately at a disadvantage, with the second analog directional stick catered towards right handers.
There are two main options in Time Crisis 4: arcade and complete mission. The storyline for the game is less than realistic. A terrorist organisation has gotten ahold of a biological weapon called "terror bite", your tasked with the mission to try and eliminate the terrorist and stop these "terror bites". The game is a direct port of the arcade version of Time Crisis 4 and plays out similarly to many other light gun titles we've played in recent years. The game is on rails, so all you have to worry about is shooting and reloading. Reloading is done by simply pointing the gun off screen and there are a few weapons at your disposal, such as a pistol, machine gun and a shotgun. Changing weapons is a case of simply ducking and pulling the trigger. There are also parts of the game where players have to shoot towards the edge of the screen to move left or right, but we found this to be rather clumsy. Most players will probably stick to just using the analog stick. Overall the arcade mode of Time Crisis 4 is simply average, most players will finish the arcade mode, but there is very little reason to return to the arcade mode again.
The complete mission mode tries to add something a little bit different to the Time Crisis experience. The complete mission mode isn't just a typical point and shoot game, but actually adds first person shooter levels, in between the on rails gameplay. The complete mission mode is, quite frankly, clumsy. The two analog sticks are used to move around and while we do appreciate the change of pace, the complete mission mode just ends up feeling like a tacked on inclusion. The gameplay is essentially the same, point and shoot; except this time you have to worry about moving around. The environments are bare and we ended up looking forward to the light gun sections. We don't exactly know how the light gun genre can advance at this point, but it's clear that the complete mission mode isn't a direction we'd like to see the franchise go in.
Outside of the arcade and complete mission modes there are also mini games and Crisis missions which become unlocked after playing through the arcade and complete mission modes. Both of these extras are barely worth mentioning. There are several mini games, but they all take place in a bland training area and most of the mini games simply require players to hit the correct movin target while avoiding the incorrect moving target. The Crisis missions fare a little better and more Crisis missions are unlocked along the way, but we doubt either of these modes will hold the attention of most people for more than ten to fifteen minutes of play.
Had you paid a couple of dollars or so for a game of Time Crisis 4 at the local arcades you would probably walk away relatively satisfied, the arcade game is okay and really quite perfect for that quick pick up and play experience. Time Crisis 4 on the PlayStation 3 however, is not quite perfect. Setting the game up is a pain, the arcade game just isn't all that special and the PlayStation 3 additions just aren't all that substantial. So, had you paid a couple of hundred dollars for Time Crisis 4 you would probably walk away quite disappointed, just like we were.