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Time Crisis: Razing Storm

Review: Time Crisis: Razing Storm

2:53 PM on 10.25.2010 // Jim Sterling

Those who think videogame reviewers have it easy are, to be honest, mostly correct. Playing videogames all day and getting paid to tell people what one thinks is a pretty sweet deal. Then along comes a game like Razing Storm, and all that easy work is paid for with interest. 

Excuse me while I attempt to write this review with Move-induced arthritis, and swear never again to play a waggle-controlled FPS on the PS3 ... 

Those who think videogame reviewers have it easy are, to be honest, mostly correct. Playing videogames all day and getting paid to tell people what one thinks is a pretty sweet deal. Then along comes a game like Razing Storm, and all that easy work is paid for with interest. 

Excuse me while I attempt to write this review with Move-induced arthritis, and swear never again to play a waggle-controlled FPS on the PS3 ... {{page_break}}


Time Crisis: Razing Storm (PlayStation 3)
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Released: October 19, 2010
MSRP: $49.99
I won't beat about the bush -- Time Crisis: Razing Storm boasts the very worst first-person-shooter I have ever had the grave misfortune of playing. Never before has a game made me feel both physically and mentally uncomfortable before, but the Story Mode for Razing Storm has achieved it with gusto. 

Even without the poorly implemented PlayStation Move controls, Razing Storm would be a dreadful FPS. The remedial enemy AI, mediocre shooting action, total lack of variety and companion characters that walk along pre-set paths and actually push you out of cover directly into enemy fire would mark this as a bad game right out the gate. When you add PS Move to the mix, however, things go from bad to genuinely sickening. 

Simply walking around in Razing Storm is beyond awful. In order to turn, one has to aim the motion controller at the very edge of the screen, effectively pointing away from the television. This makes movement sluggish, and physically uncomfortable, especially if you attempt to play sat down and realize that you have to push the Move controller into your own balls/vagina in order to look down. I'm not joking when I say that trying to get around in Razing Storm actually made my skin crawl. The game caused discomfort both physically and mentally, to the point where even thinking about it now gives me the same queasy feeling one gets when they imagine their fingernails being yanked back with pliers. 

Usually one is being sarcastic when they describe a game as "mercifully short," but in Razing Storm's case, the term is very much deserved. The campaign's meager five chapters can be shot through in an hour or two, and the game is all the better for it. From beginning to end, Story Mode is a horrendous mess of terrible controls and sub-par gameplay that seems to exist only to give Sony's underused Navigation Controller something to do. 

For some arcane reason, it was decided that we'd like some multiplayer to go along with this farce. From what little I could stomach of the multiplayer mode (spoiler: not very much), I experienced a laggy, slow-paced, quiet, unengaging shooter that suffered from the same control issues as Story Mode, and thus should never be played. 

It's safe to say that Razing Storm's feature presentation is a total mess and one of the worst shooters you will ever find. Here's the thing, however -- Razing Storm is more than the game you see on the cover, and this is where it is able to scrape itself a little more validity. 

First of all, the Razing Storm section of the game has an Arcade Mode, which is the one mode that Namco Bandai has wisely been showing off. Although insultingly short, devastatingly easy and rather repetitive, Arcade Mode still manages to be a surprising amount of fun. You'll beat this in thirty minutes, but you will be tempted to go back. It sticks to a much more traditional on-rails shooter model, and is all the better for it. There's some fun weapon variety, and the destructible environments are awesome to tear apart. Add to that the fast pace that just isn't there with Story Mode, and things start to look up for the overall package. 

It is, however, the game's two included re-releases that really justify its existence. Accompanying Razing Storm is Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates. Time Crisis 4 is a fairly traditional arcade rail shooter, complete with the nonsensical plot, waves of enemies and over-the-top situations that you'd rightly expect. While not the world's greatest shooter, it is a fun distraction and worth playing with the Move controls. 

Which brings us to the only reason you have for actually spending money on this disc -- Deadstorm Pirates. I will confess that I'd never had the pleasure of playing this game before, but after giving it a go on the PS3, it's become one of the my favorite shooters ever. It's not exactly refined, and it's far from deep, but it is an incredibly frantic game full of skeletons, evil crabs, ghosts and gigantic boss lobsters. With its stupid dialog ("What are you doing, climbing the net?") and shamelessly silly scenarios, this title is essentially House of the Dead with pirates, and if that doesn't tempt you, I don't know what will. 

If Namco Bandai had simply released a compilation of old arcade shooters without the Razing Storm section, this would have been a most excellent package. As it stands, only one third of the overall offering is really worth paying for, and it's certainly not worth $50. The very game that Razing Storm is named after absolutely sucks, and it should have been replaced with another port. It's a sad state of affairs when a game designed entirely for the Move is being outclassed by the rehashed bonus content, but there you go. 

If you ever see the game for ten or maybe even twenty bucks, then snap it up just to give Deadstorm Pirates a go. That one game, plus the extra fun of Arcade Mode and Time Crisis 4, help to make this release a decent enough offering. Not particularly great, or even very good, but a solid way of justifying the Move's existence. For fifty bucks, though, it can't be recommended. Rent it, or snap it up if you ever see it for $20, but don't go out and buy it brand new. 

And now I'm off to look for some Ibuprofen and ice for my bloody wrist. 



Time Crisis: Razing Storm - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

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Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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