E3 2007 Preview
If you remember the demo that released about a
year ago, than you probably remember TimeShift as being a fairly simplistic
shooter with a couple interesting ideas, but a decidedly last-gen presentation.
However, throw all of that away, because that what Sierra’s Kyle Peschel did.
The game has been shifted (no pun intended) from Atari to Sierra, who gave
Peschel a year to take the title and whip it into shape. From the looks of it,
he succeeded. The game looks eons better, featuring gorgeous effects and
details, and the time-traveling gameplay and story have been built upon and
greatly improved. The team behind the game have done wonders with the year
they’ve been given, having gone back to the drawing board in order to recreate
the game in the way that it should be played.
The initial story and B-movie premise have been
thrown out in favor of a brand new concept and a deeper story. Aidan Krone is a
scientist working with the government (an ambiguous one at that) to create a
suit capable of sending people back in time, the idea being that prevention of
wars through these means is the ultimate power that a government can wield.
However, once Krone becomes the first man to
travel back in time, everything goes to hell in a handbasket, as Krone can’t be
located and won’t return. It is discovered that he changed the past and asserted
himself as supreme leader upon arrival. This creates a paradoxical universe that
you then must travel back in time to stop, dealing with Krone in the manner you
must. However, things get even more sticky once you go back, and your suit
malfunctions and you get stuck in Krone’s alternate future. You must join forces
with the rebellion that’s fighting Krone and find a way to deal with him and get
While your broken suit doesn’t allow you to go
back to the time you came from, it still lets you play around in the 4th
dimension in some pretty key ways. You can stop time completely, allowing you to
take down your foes or steal their weapons before they even know what hits them,
you can activate slow-motion, which will even slow down droplets of rain in
mid-air and allow you to see them clearly, or you can go into reverse.
However, unlike in other time-manipulation games
like Prince of Persia, going in reverse isn’t simply a mulligan. You’ll be able
to still move forward, only the events around you will transpire in reverse,
allowing you to cross a previously exploding section as it, err, un-explodes.
Graphically, the game looks excellent, even
though it’s running on Direct X 9. The team was able to pull off a lot of great
looking features, with bullet holes and textures with actual depth to them,
fully destructible environments, and vision distortion (apparent in the
slow-motion rain section mentioned above). All in all, the game looks leaps and
bounds better than it did only a year ago.
TimeShift could’ve been a squandered opportunity
if it hadn’t been for the efforts of the design team and the people at Sierra.
Look for it to release later this year.