Pity the ironically named Timeshift. The first person shooter
released during the December game deluge allowed players to stop, slow and
rewind time. If only the developers had such powers, the game could have been
released to brisk sales instead of being virtually ignored at the marketplace,
between Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4.
Timeshift isn’t a bad game; its recent reduction in price by
Gamestop and Amazon.com is indicative of a far inferior game, something along
the lines of Blacksite: Area 51. The game does many things right: combat is
intense and visceral. Graphically, while the game has a limited palette (think
lots of rain in run-down urbanized environments), it has a solid framerate and
a myriad of enemy animations. The incorporation of time manipulation is more
than a gimmick- stopping time, stealing an enemy’s rifle then shooting him with
it is nearly endlessly compelling.
Timeshift isn’t without its flaws, however. The demo
included one weapon not seen until later in the game- a crossbow with exploding
bolts. Without the weapon, early levels lost the sandbox-playability that made
the demo so fun. Combat can be overly simplistic at times; engage enemies, then
retreat until your time powers and health are replenished and engage again. Enemies
have difficulty locating the player, especially if you are hiding around
corners or embedded in an underground location.
Multiplayer is handled well, with grenades creating time spheres
that slow players caught within the blast radius. A number of different modes
beyond the typical deathmatch and capture the flag show the designers had strong
aspirations for a fully realized title. Sadly, it looks like Timeshift will
never sell the number of units it deserved to push. Had its release been ‘shifted’
a few months earlier or during an upcoming drought, we might have seen a sequel
to this worthwhile title.