Time Crisis 4: Hands-On with FPS Mode
Big plastic gun in hand, we check out the first-person shooter mode in Namco's upcoming action game.
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Good morning, soldier. Feeling chipper, are you? Good. You've been chosen for this mission because of your cold-hearted efficiency, your strong sense of duty, and your uncanny aim with all sorts of firearms. Your task? To take on the first-person shooter mode in Namco Bandai's upcoming PlayStation 3 shooting game, Time Crisis 4. Here's your weapon; please keep the safety engaged for now. And finally, please hold your questions until the end. We've got a lot of intel to get through.
First, some background. First-person shooter mode in Time Crisis 4 tells a somewhat tangential story that complements the main action found in the game's arcade mode. In it, you'll be playing as Captain Rush, who has been tasked with discovering the source of the so-called terror bites, which are essentially swarms of nasty-looking bugs that pop up throughout the various missions. As Rush, you'll be responsible for blasting your way through 15 stand-alone stages that feature some crossover with the game's main storyline. You might even see some familiar faces. Have no fear, though. Unlike the vaguely Euro-trashy heroes in Time Crisis' main storyline, Rush is a badass by comparison.
Unlike the main mode, FPS mode in Time Crisis 4 gives you a first-person view of the action. In this mode, you're on your own, soldier. No buddy to help you out when stuff hits the fan. Heck, you're even going to have to reload your weapon manually. Think you can handle that?
Now, about your weapon. Yes, it looks like a big, ugly hunk of plastic, but it's actually quite handy once you get used to it. First, notice the two analog sticks, which are used to control Captain Rush. You move with the left stick, and can look all around with the right stick. However, keep in mind that when the time comes to shell out lead, you can unleash anywhere on the screen simply by aiming and pulling the trigger. This is accomplished through two handy sensors that attach to the top of your television set and then track the motion... You know what, soldier? It doesn't matter how they work. All you need to do is point, shoot, and things die, okay?
You can cycle through your various weapons by pressing the B1 button (located just underneath the right stick), and toggle the onscreen reticle with the C1 (on the side of the gun). There are also two buttons just underneath the left stick on the front: the top one reloads your gun, and the one beneath lets you jump. Pay attention to that jump button, soldier, because there'll be some light platforming segments in FPS mode that'll keep you hopping. To zoom in on an enemy with your weapon, you click the right stick, and to crouch, you click the left stick. Simple, right?
Glad to hear you agree, because you'll want to get your head around those controls quick; once the enemies start coming in FPS mode, they don't let up. You might be outnumbered, but, lucky for you, weapons are always easy to come by. In addition to a standard pistol, you'll be able to use a submachine gun, shotgun, grenades, a grenade launcher, and even a knife when you want to get up close and personal with the action. Different weapons will be appropriate for different types of enemies. For example, in one mission, Captain Rush will be trying to take down a seemingly never-ending swarm of bugs intent on overrunning him and chewing on all his soft bits. The submachine gun is the best choice for clipping their wings before they can even get close. Later, when fighting it out against a pair of armed choppers on the ledge of a huge hydroelectric dam, you'll want to make sure Rush has his grenade launcher prepped and ready. And though most of the human enemies will take only a shot or two to bring down, watch out for the guys carrying the big shields, or the big, ugly mothers with the chain guns. They can be a problem if you aren't careful.
But you are careful, aren't you soldier? That's why we like you. You know how to get a job done and use everything to your advantage. You'll be right at home in FPS mode, then, because almost everything you see is at least partially destructible. Enemy troops hiding behind a jeep? Blow up the jeep--that's using your head. You'll need those smarts when dealing with the boss battles that you'll find strewn throughout the FPS mode. They're tough, no lie, and they'll take more than a few clips to take down.
So mount up, soldier! The ETA for Time Crisis is November 2007. Until then, keep your trigger finger loose and stay frosty. You can expect more briefings on the game in the coming weeks.