I could consider myself a playstation fanboy but even I couldn’t give a shit about the playstation move when it was announced. I’ve never had any interest in motion controls, always saw them as an unnecessary gimmick and the fact that sony was jumping into that bandwagon didn’t change my mind either.
Only years later after the move came and dissapeared unsuccesful I went and bought one because I saw a pack laying on a bargain bin. I still didn’t have any interest in waggling my way inside some of those infamous minigame compilation games but, there’s a certain genre of games that I have nostalgia for and that I could immerse into fully with that new piece of hardware. The on-rails shooters. I still had fond memories of playing time crisis and point blank back on my old ps1 and I kinda wanted to relive those experiences on ps3 so I went and bought it with a bunch of those on-rail shooters.
The ones I’m gonna compare today are Child of Eden, The House of the Dead: Overkill (extended cut) and Time Crisis: Razing Storm. I acknowledge though that there are many more move-compatible on-rails shooters on the ps3 but those will probably have to wait to a new installment of 3-Way Showdown!
What are they?
This time around there aren’t that many difference between what these games are at its core. The on-rails shooters are very characteristic in the way they are specific. They are esentially first person shooters in which you can’t move your character freely, instead, the character moves on its own as if it was part of some theme park attraction and you just have to focus on aiming at the enemies and shooting them down. For that reason, since aiming has such a big focus on the gameplay, these kind of games are best played with some sort of gun accesory that lets you literally point at the targets, in this case, you’d be playing with the move controller.
Time crisis main quirk has always been the possibility to hide behind cover. Within their game there would always be some sort of pedal or button you can press so your character hides behind a cover to reload and to avoid enemy fire. You wouldn’t want to overuse that feature since, as the title suggest, in time crisis you’d always be in a rush so the faster you dispose of your enemies, the better. In this particular razing storm arcade mode, your character will have a shield you can get behind to block the enemy attacks.
This House of the dead: Overkill has something that will instantly pop out from the very main menu. The game came out two years after Tarantino and Rodriguez made that grindhouse project and put into the mainstream that cheesy 70’s B-movie aesthetic that now reeks out of this game. The house of the dead games up until this point also had a very cheesy appeal with its awful dialog and voiceover but you could never tell if it was made on purpose, with Overkill they ran away with it and made it the center of attention giving the game some flavour.
The last of these games however is the most unique of the bunch. Usually in this kind of game you’ll be put in the shoes of a guy with a gun shooting down monsters, terrorists or cowboys but in Child of eden you’ve been thrown inside a beautiful virtual world with strange fantastic creatures that you don’t shoot down with a regular gun but make them burst in sound explosions. It’s not the concept of the game the only thing unique because this strange experience also translates into the gameply. Child of eden plays pretty much like rez, where you lock onto targets and then have to eliminate them in waves in a rythmical fashion.
The good parts
The best part of Child of eden is its artistic values, visually and auditory and how well integrated the sound is into its gameplay. Like mentioned earlier, the rythm is a very important part of the gameplay so the sound department has to be up to par and in this game, it does it. The game is best played with headphones and, if possible, 3D glasses. So that the fantastic abstract imagery of the game literally pops out of the screen and you can immerse better into this amazing virtual world.
The main reason to buy Time Crisis: Razing storm is that (on the physical version) the game is actually a 3 for 1 kind of deal. Included in the bluray you can play through the arcade version of Time Crisis 4 and also Deadstorm Pirates. Those, even if shorter than the rest of Razing storm, are actually better games.
THOTD Overkill is easily the most fleshed-out game out of the three. The main campaign is longer and the story bits that stitch the levels together is the most funny. Then after you’ve beat it once you can re-experience the game with the director’s cut version of the levels which are better and longer. There’s also collectibles to unlock, weapons to purchase and upgrade… simply put, Overkill is the most complete package of the three.
The bad ones
Child of Eden main flaw sadly lays on its controls. The implementation of the move into the gameplay simply isn’t smooth. The camera isn’t completely fixed, instead you can tilt it to the side pointing your reticule to the edges of the screen but the way they dealed with the handling of the deadzone isn’t good. The camera will move when you don’t want to and won’t when you do. At some point I tried to play this game with a regular dualshock because I felt like the move controls were hampering my experience and that’s not a good sign.
My main problem with Overkill is how tame the first playthrough it is. It’s not bad but on the regular levels the action isn’t as intense as it should be on an on-rail shooter, enemies don’t surprise you and they usually come in really small groups so the game isn’t as fun as it could be. That gets completely fixed on the director cut version of the levels though, you’ll be playing those over and over.
The worst part of Razing Storm has no possible fix though. As, the main portion of Razing storm doesn’t play as an on-rail shooter. No, they made the main portion (story mode) actually be some sort of cover-based fps and they treated on-rail part as pretty much extra content. That on-rails part isn’t bad, it’s not as good as other Time Crisis games but it’s okay. The story mode that’s played as a regular fps… it’s one of the worst experiences you can have on a ps3. The controls are broken, the graphics awful and the AI non existant. I know it sounds strange but don’t play the story mode.
I consider The House of the dead: Overkill the best on-rails shooter you can buy on ps3 and that’s enough recommendation for anyone interested in the genre to give the game a try because, it simply doesn’t get better than what this game offers.
I have the strangest feeling when I talk about Time Crisis: Razing storm because the story mode of the main game featured in Razing Storm is absolutely awful. I’m talking about top 10 worst games ever level of awful. But, at the same time, the game still has an on-rails portion that’s fun and, included in the disk, there’s time crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates which are great arcadey on-rail shooters that you should try. So, if you find this game on a bargain bin, get it for that. And, if not, you can get Deadstorm pirates separately from the psn store.
As for Child of eden, I wanted to love it, I tried to love it but I just couldn’t. The implementation of the move into the game just wasn’t done properly and it really hurt my experience with the game. When I was into it I was in awe and having a great time but then the move controls came and ruined it for me. The game is also available for the xbox 360 with kinect controls, I don’t know if those are any better because I couldn’t try myself but you should consider that.