Like most of them this demo was disappointingly brief, but unlike CoD4 where I was hoping there was more to it than what I played, Timeshift is pretty damn cool and left me wanting more.
The gameplay is kind of a combination of FEAR and Half-Life 2. There's some kind of civil insurrection going on against a Dr. Breen type character and his evil empire, and there's a fair bit of scripted stuff happening. It's all very linear. You have this suit that allows you to slow, stop or reverse time. So for example you can freeze time, pop a room full of baddies in the head, then watch them all drop at once, or use the same moment of opportunity to steal their weapons from them, then take them out while they panick. Or, use reverse to send a grenade right back to its owner or send a baddie right back into the open after he dove for cover. The suit takes a minute to recharge so you have to use it strategically. Health is typical Halo-style, which in this case actually works since you're in an uber-suit.
I was impressed by how the use of the time alteration was balanced. Playing on the medium difficulty, I got taken out pretty fast without using the time powers. Enemies can take a few hits and you're as vulnerable as they are. The suit also takes just enough time to recharge that it doesn't feel too cheap to be using time alteration constantly, and even the powers are well-balanced – stopping time takes a lot more energy than slowing it. The environments are pretty destructible too, so that concrete wall or stack of bricks you're hiding behind might get worn down or blown up and leave you exposed. Things actually blow up in a satisfying way – at one point I tossed a grenade at a sniper tower, and the explosion caused the whole tower to crumble. The time powers are also integrated into some puzzles in some cool ways. In the demo there's an instance where you jump inside a pipe, then use "stop" to keep the pipe from see-sawing so you can get to a higher ledge.
I was also pretty impressed with the AI. At one point I froze time and stole a guy's weapon. He stood there for a minute like "What the hell? Where's my gun?!" before he scrambled to grab a gun from one of his fallen comrades. At another point, I used the same tactic to get behind a guy, and he looked around and was saying "Where'd he go? I lost him!" Once he spotted me he freaked and ran straight for cover.
There are so many big titles coming out that I think this one might be overlooked a bit, but I think it might be a sleeper hit. Good physics, good AI, good graphics, cool gameplay hook. Definitely worth checking out.
Last edited by Mike Doolittle; 10-15-2007 at 05:01 AM.