Review: Please insert 360 quarters ($90). Oh, two players? That's 720 quarters.
Time Crisis 4 is caught in a last-generation time warp in every way except its $90 price tag. The laughable storyline is campy, the terrible voice acting is hokey and the ?high-definition? graphics are far from next-gen worthy. While the game does try to introduce a FPS mode to expand on its rail-shooting and target practice gameplay, none of it is worth the 360 quarters you would need to spend to buy this game. Furthermore, it's not worth the 720 quarters you're forced to pay if you want to try it with two players.
To its credit, the GunCon3 that's bundled with the game works well with all television sets. This is because, in addition to plugging in the bright orange gun-shaped controller via USB, a pair of LED sensor markers also plug into a USB port on the PS3. These sensor markers are sort of like a Wii sensor bar, but they hang off the front edges of your TV set instead of the middle, and I had no problems with the new GunCon3's accuracy. The gun controller itself feels cheap; it's made of lightweight plastic and you hold it with two hands, making it feel even lighter. Still, the two analog joysticks, one on the back of the gun where the D-Pad was on the GunCon2 and another on the gun's left-handed sidecar, are easy to access with comfort.
The joysticks aren't used often in the rail-shooter Arcade mode. A couple of situations call for multi-screen battles in which you pivot between two or three firefights at once. Either flick one of the joysticks right and left or point the gun in the corresponding direction to cycle between views and take on a new horde of approaching enemies. When there are three different sets of terrorists to deal with, the gameplay gets a little bit confusing. But, at least it serves as a slight challenge. The rest of the Arcade mode, however, consists of the patented shoot-and-duck system seen in previous Time Crisis games. No other twists are thrown in. At times, the fast-paced shooting can be exciting, but it's no more thrilling than the PS2's Time Crisis arcade ports.
Likewise, the graphics haven't changed much since Time Crisis II debuted on PlayStation 2. Sure, this PS3 game boasts clean looking, high-def visuals, but when signs that enemies hide behind show no bullet holes and smoke travels through solid structures, it just looks like a 16:9 version of what we've seen before. The same can be said about the audio, which is also dated and goes along with the choppy and nonsensical storyline. You'll battle the latest bio weapon, terror bites (read: bugs), and kill bosses with hackneyed names like Wild Dog. It's almost as if the Hollywood writers strike affected the video game industry, too. With FPS games on the market featuring engrossing stories at nearly half the price, Time Crisis 4 can't get away with the campy premise and feel worth it. The developer didn't seem to get that message. It, however, did get the right idea in expanding beyond the extremely brief Arcade mode and the expected Crisis Mission and mini-game modes.
Known as the Complete Mission mode, this 15-level FPS game type uses the GunCon3's two analog sticks to mimic a first-person shooter, ditching the rails and allowing you to freely move through levels shooting enemies. While the idea of freedom may have sounded exciting on paper, it's poorly executed, as you move slowly through the large and, sadly, empty stages where the gunplay isn't as fast-paced as the arcade mode. Sure, it may seem like an interesting gameplay twist at first, but the FPS mode immediately becomes boring after either five minutes or you think of another recent FPS game, whichever comes first.