I’ll start by saying Timeshift is an enjoyable game, because it is and I don’t want the following comments to detract too much from that. But, being that it’s decent enough to keep me interested in bounding around strains of the space-time continuum in an attempt to stop Doctor Aiden Krone, toting guns and facing enemies, both infantry and machine, the game tends to point towards genre stablemates.
Let me explain. You see, for a start, you’re made the hero of the piece, having escaped an explosion at a research facility by having entered a special suit. The rest of the game is then spent wandering around in said life-saving, time-jumping ‘Beta’ Suit, chasing the evil Dr. Krone, who happens to be in possession of the Alpha suit (see what they did?). This is all very well and good, but take one look at the apparel in question (on-box or in-game) and you’ll notice that the Beta Suit bears an uncanny resemblance to the nano-suit from Crysis. Then add to this the fact that the Beta Suit is designed to monitor vital signs, recharge your health whenever death is imminent and warn you about incoming threats(I guess all such suits do though don’t they?), and there’s a distinct hint of Halo’s Master Chief get-up combined with Gordon Freeman’s Half-Life biohazard suit.
Not that the game plays much like any of the mentioned. The visuals are rugged. The game’s urban environments are distinctly post-apocalyptically tinged, and (especially at the start of the game), the driving rain and rough surroundings give Timeshift a visual identity of it’s own. In truth desperately needs a good graphical presence and the visuals are as positively dense and – I want to say rich but – gritty as I’ve ever come across. They’re not pretty, but very nicely pulled off, and though they take some getting used to, offer enough to let me forgive the points of interest the game shares with other titles.
While the visuals are good though, the physics aren’t ground-breaking and this isn’t Call of Duty 4. As such, in the current climate of FPS games, Timeshift will always have a problem of trying to stand out rather than being left aside from the rest. One way it might suffer is quite clear in the physics it offers. Don’t expect bullets to come flying through walls, or abandoned vehicles to explode while coming under a hail of bullets, because it doesn’t happen. Don’t expect to be able to break wooden barricades unless the script desires it, or parts of the scenery to be surprisingly and alarmingly destructible, but do expect to die multiple times before you notice that there’s a certain hole you’re supposed to bolt to after a firefight, or that you didn’t pause time at the correct moment. Also, especially iritating, don’t expect to be able to reload while crouching…
These all sound like irreversible negative points sure, but let me assure you that despite it all Timeshift is fun. It’s a good FPS and the time-shifting to which the title refers allows for some neat ambushing of Krone’s cronies around the Alpha District the game is confined to. There’s 24, albeit short, missions and enough to keep you happily shooting not completely clueless enemies for a good few hours. If you get tired of that, then there’s the online multiplayer to sample. It’s all a decent enough package to be honest, it’s just that Timeshift happens to be a first-person shooter and out before Christmas. And in truth, it’s never going to be top of that particular pile.