We’d rather endure six of the best than be forced to sit through a marathon of these three light gun dinosaurs
Format: PS3 Dev: Namco Bandai Pub: Namco Bandai / Sony Out: 05/11/10
Players: 1-2, 2-8 online
You’ve got to admire Namco’s guts – or should that be bullishness – to stick by their base franchises, like Ridge Racer, Tekken and, of course, Pac-Man. And to their credit, many of them are still as exciting today as they were back in their heyday. Yet not even the old king of the arcade circuit can deny that it’s been slow to innovate with much of its portfolio for the best part of a decade. Razing Storm is a classic case of Namco hitting new hardware early with nothing more than recycled arcade recipes.
Light gun games are among a subset of genres that have been treading shallow water as player tastes change and demand for more open-ended game experiences increases. That’s not to say they don’t still offer enjoyable thrills – House of the Dead: Overkill is one of the truly great light gun shooters of recent times. This compilation pack is three games in one, fresh title Razing Storm (made with PlayStation Move in mind) along with the arcade version of Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates. Save for HD visuals, this package could have been released anytime in the last 15 years.
The ‘shoot, reload, repeat’ gameplay hasn’t been touched for salt. Using the Move controller to pepper the enemy is functional, yet the mechanics haven’t been sufficiently updated to make up for the physical demands of the new interface. When playing Razing Storm’s story mode, I found keeping the enemy in my sights with my right hand, while moving to cover and reloading with my left, to be a herculean feat. You gradually adjust, but even then you’re forced to adhere to its rigid gameplay – moving precisely into cover instead of hitting a button to snap to it, for instance. I can only hope that Killzone 3 and SOCOM use dual Move control better.
Things don’t improve in arcade mode either, with all three games opting to stick to the old method of throwing a billion enemies at you, wave after wave. There’s the odd bit of motion gesturing, like turning wheels in Deadstorm Pirates, yet nothing central that would make you want to pick this up specifically for Move. The crooked grins, dreadful one-liners (“If we can’t go up, let’s go straight”) and cheesy absurdity of the 90s lives on here. And online play? Let’s not even go there.
Releasing existing franchises for new hardware is a safe bet for publishers, and players are always interested in seeing their favourites evolve for a new generation. The thing is Time Crisis still hasn’t. Razing Storm’s trio might make it seem like you’re getting more bang for your buck, but believe me you’ve played it all before.