TimeShift (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, February 19, 2006

TimeShift is one of the latest first person shooter being developed for the PC, and has a focus on using time morphing powers in order to defeat enemies and progress through certain areas. The game is from Saber Interactive, developers of the lesser known but solid title Will Rock, a FPS in the vein of Serious Sam that came out from Ubisoft. TimeShift appears to have a bit more depth to it, and while the demo is quite short and shows off a few bugs, things still seem as though they could fall into place and produce a solid title.

The demo doesn’t reveal much in terms of storyline, but definitely showcases both the time shifting powers and gunplay that will make up the experience of TimeShift. At any given time players can stop, slow, or rewind using buttons on the keyboard in order to help them with the situation at hand. Although rewind doesn’t seem all that practical in the demo, stop and slow were. In certain situations (such as progressing through an area with fire), players will need to stop time in order to progress. Hopefully the game continues to use simple puzzles like these, as they help break up the action. Both your time powers and health recharge over time, which makes the game a little bit easy at times. It’s good that the developers have added something diversifying with the time powers, as aside from that the game is a pretty standard FPS.

While playing the demo, players may notice that the performance isn’t as smooth or as nice looking as they would expect. Once you run the demo, it attempts to guess what the optimal performance would be. The final version will offer a bit more video options than the demo in order for gamers to tweak performance, but just know that you will need a semi decent system in order to run the game at full capacity. Our tests used a mid range machine and set the game at high graphical detail with 2x anti-aliasing on, and with the exception of a few stutters the game ran fine and looked decent. A lot of work has been put into the gritty world of TimeShift, and it shows. I’m also sure that the developers will continue optimizing the game engine up until the time of its release.

The final version of the game is set to have 10 weapons each with alternate fire modes, and the demo showed off three of these. First off, there is the pistol like weapon, which has an alternate fire that shoots a rapid fire burst. Secondly is the machine gun ripoff that doubles as a grenade launcher. But it’s the third weapon that was the most unique and also the most enjoyable to use. This weapon resembles a crossbow in a few ways but shoots off shots that will set an enemy on fire, and the alternate fire mode doubles as a full on flamethrower. Hopefully the rest of the weapons will be more like this third weapon and not just standard FPS style weapons that are seen far too often.

Although the demo of TimeShift was disappointingly short (which seems to be a trend with PC demos these days), it revealed a fairly enjoyable if somewhat standard shooting experience that genre fans will be sure to enjoy. Here’s hoping that Saber Interactive puts a bit more emphasis on the time powers in both single-player and the 16 player multiplayer mode that will be included in the game, as the demo level still feels like your average shooter. Provided that the final game has enough to set itself apart from others in the genre, this could be a hit come this spring.

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