Play in the Fourth Dimension
Product: TimeShift
Company: Sierra
Date: 07/18/2007
Avaliable On:

TimeShift was a game that neared completion and was a big hit at last year's E3. But when the dev team took another look at their product, they decided it wasn't exactly what gamers would expect of a next-gen title. After a graphical, A.I., audio and physics makeover, TimeShift looks better than before and feels a lot more involved.

In TimeShift, you have limited control over how time flows in the environment around you. Unlike games like Prince of Persia, this means that you are not affected by your temporal manipulations. As explained to me by one of the developers, if you jump off of a cliff, rewinding time does not throw you back on the cliff, you continue to fall while everything around you reverses. He noted that this might also mean that the person you just killed will get back up and he might start shooting at you while you fall from the cliff.

Of course, you being able to move outside of your time manipulation adds a lot of interesting mechanics to the game. For instance, if you need to get to a high location, you can shoot a barrel off of that area, jump on top of it and reverse time. You will then be able to ride the barrel up to the sniping area and finish off your enemies.

The developers really wanted to make sure everything reacted appropriately to your ability to manipulate time. For instance, if you are in the sights of an enemy, stop time and move out of sight. When you restart time, he will think you just disappeared and stand there shocked for a few seconds. Or if you stop time and take an enemy's weapon, when he realizes it's gone, he will duck for cover since he is now defenseless. Enemies aren't the only thing that respond to your abilities, though. One of the more amazing effects in the game is when you stop time while it is raining. The way the light accurately bends around the individual raindrops to create perfect deformations of the objects behind them is absolutely beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it in a game before.

The game will support a multiplayer Deathmatch Mode as well as a kind of Capture the Flag Mode where, even though you won't be able to control time the exact same way, you will still have the ability to stop your enemies in their tracks. You will have several types of time manipulation grenades. Throwing these projectiles will affect everything within their sphere of influence. If you have an opponent getting ready to steal your flag, you can lob a time-stop grenade at them, shoot them and be done with it. These interesting weapons are bound to add some unique gameplay elements to the multiplayer modes.

Look for TimeShift late this year.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated