Gun nuts. Even gamings got 'em. It's these peripheral-happy, armchair assassins that make moderate successes out of light-gun games like Time Crisis in spite of high costs and little replay value. If you've already played Time Crisis 4 in your local movie theater, bowling alley, or any other venue standing in bold defiance of the death of the arcade game, you probably know what you're in for. The short sweet port is here in all its intended glory, although this quarter muncher is a tad more difficult than your average console shooter.
We can excuse the Arcade port for not bearing every graphical earmark of a next-gen PS3 title, but the Mission mode it's interspersed with is the main offender. But the visuals are the least of its problems. Namco's bold attempt at infusing its bullet-spraying baby with the First Person Shooter flat out sucks.
You heard that right. A Time Crisis FPS. Should be a match made in heaven right? Sadly, no. Along with the eight (8!) buttons adorning the new Guncon 3, you've now got two analog sticks to move around with, a la any of your favorite console FPS. But once you add the extra axis brought along with moving a light gun, you've got an awkward, disorienting mess.
Part of this is due to the Guncon itself. The analog sticks are plastic and tight - somewhat poorly constructed - as if you received the cumbersome orange doohickey free in a Happy Meal. The two extremely light sensors are finicky and hard to keep perched atop your TV, even with the bizarre weighted rubber strips that come affixed to it. It works about as well as it ever did, but once you turn on the jittery onscreen reticule, you'll quickly notice it can't hold a candle to the Wii Remote, or even the damned SixAxis.
But most of the fault is in the game design. Oh, it's Time Crisis alright, but ducking has been replaced with a crouch that doesn't reload or provide cover. You're still dodging extremely slow moving bullets - but damn - it makes the ludicrous plot involving rogue military agents and a biological weapon known as "Terror Bytes" seem intelligent by comparison. An assailant popping up right in front of you in the arcade version is expected. But it feels far less acceptable when you know he's there and should be able to see him a mile away, from different angles, yet still can't.
Try as it might, it's still very much "on rails." Except now you can wander around aimlessly before you trigger a typical, Time Crisis-y, shootout against idiotic gunman with no apparent interest in self preservation. It feels more like an unhinged God/Debug mode than any grand step towards first-person immersion. Plus a narrator screaming out your guns as you cycle through instead of showing them on screen only adds to the stupidity.
The added minigames are fun with two players, but during Arcade modes you'll be forced into split-screens that leave nearly half of the your television depressingly blackened and unused. If you're purchasing for the arcade port, want a decent light gun game, or have low expectations for the PS3, Time Crisis 4 is here to warm the holiday cockles. But with its new fangled attempt at first-person shootage - accompanied with awful zooming, crouching and strafing - makes TC4 a technical failure in addition to being exquisitely ugly.