If you’ve played any shooter within the past two decades, TimeShift won’t impress you. In fact it’s the quintessential science fiction action game, choke full of cliches. So you’ve got your Halo power suit, your Half-Life 2 dystopian city, your resistance movement within said city, campy dialogue, forgettable characters, silly and impractical-looking futuristic guns and the unavoidable bullet time ability to make combat more interesting.

11_1_1None of it is particularly terrible as a whole, but it’s all been done to death, and that’s the feeling you get after leaving the game – it’s too damn generic. You play a physicist working on a special suit that lets you jump through time. But the evil professor Aiden Krone (yawn) steals the suit and jumps through the space-time continuum, creating an alternate 1930s where he’s literally Hitler in command of an army of sci-fi Ãœbermensch out for world domination. The levels you must traverse in order to stop Krone range from mediocre to blah.

You’ll often find yourself navigating stark corridors looking for buttons or levers that open passages, although to a certain degree, that’s balanced with more open and expansive areas.The action takes place in remarkably grey and forgettable urban landscapes: streets, warehouses, factories, sewers, construction sites. We’ve seen these areas in gaming thousands of times, but several sparse moments of originality do place you in more exciting situations like flying in a really massive zeppelin.

While slowing down action using “bullet-time†has become commonplace in first-person shooters, here, the time dynamic is much more fully exploited. If you slow down time, you can easily mow down distant enemies with sniper fire or readily escape from a tight situation. Stopping time allows you to snatch weapons from your foes and then watch their fright and confusion when time starts up again, place grenades in the pockets of your enemies, shoot your adversaries with volatile arrows and then watch their explosive demise. You can also reverse time when you make dumb decisions, much like you would in Sands of Time.

16_1_1The environmental puzzles you encounter pale in comparison to the combat. You might need to rewind time after moving a platform into place so you can get onto it, slow down time so as to press buttons in quick succession or stop time so as to get through a door before it unceremoniously shuts in your face. For example, after you locate the entrance to a subway, you must figure out how to get across electrified water; and when facing Krone in his murderous robot spider, you have to figure out how to avoid incoming missiles. None of these puzzles will short-circuit your brain.

The few areas where TimeShift does manage to inject a little bit of originality simply pales when you appreciate the bigger picture. That picture, alas, is cropped from a few dozen other action games. We can explore dystopian hellholes in Half-Life 2 if we wanted to. We can shoot bad buys in spectacular slowmo combat throughout FEAR. Or rewind time to reverse bad decisions in Prince of Persia. In effect, when a game is this blatantly generic, you can’t help but feel a bit jaded.

System Requirements: Pentium IV 2,5 GHz, 1 GB RAM,

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