Version Played: Xbox 360
Current CEX Price: 50p
One of my favourite films is the brilliant faux-documentary (mockumentary, if you will) This Is Spinal Tap. It follows a washed up, past their prime rock band on a tour to promote their latest album, seemingly beset by disaster, misfortune and the clashing of egos every step of the way. In one of the early scenes, the documentary’s director presents a number of examples of reviews for Spinal Tap’s previous albums, with hilarious results. One of the reviews he reads out to them is a two word review of their album ‘Shark Sandwich’ – the review in question simply reading ‘Shit Sandwich’.
Believe me, the temptation with Timeshift was to give you a one word review and leave it at that. No context, no explanation – just a simple, one word review that would say absolutely everything I wanted to say. And lucky you – there’s a bonus blog post today that I created exactly for that purpose. Link here. You’re welcome, dear reader.
So Timeshift starts with a slightly wonky, overlong intro, concerning a villainous scientist stealing a timesuit and creating an alternate timeline in which he is all powerful or something. It’s needlessly dark for such a daft storyline and takes itself far too seriously.
Which is true for the game in general, to be honest. It’s one of those grey and brown Xbox 360 games from the 00s that you could see a screenshot of and mistake it for any number of other first person shooters. The one point of difference it has are your time powers; you’re able to pause, rewind and slow time – but this is a mechanic that isn’t as well implemented or as fun as it should be. One of the first times you get to use your powers is after being completely blindsided by an explosion, at which point it’s Game Over – and the game taunts you with a message basically saying ‘HAHA WE JUST GAVE YOU TIME POWERS WHY DIDN’T YOU USE THEM LOL’.
It can be amusing to pause time and gain an advantage over your enemies, but it’s really not enough fun to make up for the utterly generic look and overall feel of the rest of the game. It’s rated 18 because of some extreme violence and – though I don’t think it’s that extreme – I can only imagine that the violence was added to give the game some sort of edge, because the time powers alone don’t stop the game from feeling, at best, utterly mediocre. It didn’t help that the sound kept glitching for me, with voice samples repeating over and over again – a comment on history changing as you mess around with time or a faulty disc? Given the lack of imagination on offer in the rest of the game, I’m inclined to go with the latter.
Worth it at current bargain bin prices? Even for pennies, I’d have to say no. It’s one of the most dull and generic experiences I’ve ever played, with boring, derivate level design, writing and visuals – even the time powers are undercooked and feel like an afterthought. So no, don’t bother with this one. Any time spent playing Timeshift cannot be rewound in the real world, unfortunately.
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