Razing Storm (Arcade, PS3) (2010)
Review by Faididi and Co.
"Crisis Zone 2"
Wherever angry terrorists threaten to blow up the world, heavily armed commando heroes enter to save the day. This time, the dudes of Alpha Squad blast their way into a Brazillian town to kill maniacal guerrilla bad guys who are somehow backed up by killer robots. Strong plots may not factor much in games of this genre, but the story here does feel awkward for clearly advertising a console port.
Gameplay: Above Average
Nex's Razing Storm is a rail shooter that plays like a sequel to Namco's Crisis Zone. It also adds 2-Player support, but both Players share the same screen, in the tune of Sega's Ghost Squad (as opposed to the splitscreen format of Time Crisis 2 through 4). Like their STF brethren, the Alpha Squad heroes can duck behind their trusty shields at any moment to reload their submachineguns and to bump away dangers.
While the gameplay may not differ much from that of Crisis Zone at heart, the new 2-Player mode, the beefed-up enemy designs, and the improved visual details work together to deliver a bigger and badder action experience. The bosses are more menacing, being gargantuan mechs that almost resemble space alien monstrosities. The sniping scene in the middle of Razing Storm is also well-paced and allows for 2-Player scope-zoomed thrills not seen since Konami's Innocent Sweeper (Silent Scope 2).
If there's one complaint, it's that the story is left incomplete. The game spans 5 stages, the final one being available if the heroes perform well enough during a certain scene, but the story abruptly ends there with Alpha Squad walking toward an even greater final battle. That content is being saved for a console port, and arcade Players wouldn't be wrong to feel cheated by this development.
The clean, simple controls are perfectly fine.
The visuals are a major step up from Crisis Zone's, that's for sure. The most attractive aspect is the sheer amounts of destructible elements in the environment, be they the expensive wares at the shopping mall stores, the decorations on walls and tables, the armor plating on the enemy mechs, or the very structures of the buildings in the favela slum areas.
Audio: Above Average
The music sounds like a cross between bad techno and sleazy porno tunes, but the abundant dialogue is campy in a good way. Better still are the noisy sound effects of the gunfire and explosions.
Overall: Above Average
Despite its cut-off conclusion, Razing Storm is a pulse-racing 2-Player rail shooter full of awesome graphics and thunderous audio effects. If you're a Crisis Zone fan but also wish for a game that can be played together with a friend, you can't go wrong with this intense follow-up.
Port: Average (PS3)
Nex and Namco's Big 3 Gun Shooting (the Time Crisis: Razing Storm package) is a compilation of Razing Storm, Time Crisis 4's arcade mode, and Deadstorm Pirates. This entire compilation is compatible with Sony's Move, as well as Namco's own GunCon 3.
The PS3 version of Razing Storm is the main offering in Big 3 Gun Shooting, showing off three new modes in addition to the faithful arcade mode (which comes with infinite credits from the start). First among them is the single-Player story mode, which is played in a FPS format. It stars a completely new hero, codenamed Delta One, and he fights through four lengthy stages that occur before, during, and after the original arcade scenes. Delta One is as silent as Alpha One, although he's always accompanied by his commando boss, who does most of the talking.
While finally seeing the plot completed is welcome, the story mode here doesn't compare to the FPS scenes in the 2007 edition of Time Crisis 4, for numerous reasons. The controls are no longer fully customizable, and certain limitations concerning the Move and the Navigation controller mean the GunCon 3 can't be utilized to the phenomenal degree back in the 2007 Time Crisis 4. (For example, the Guncon 3's dual analog sticks can't be used together.) The cover-taking system is more complicated than it needs to be. Why flip your controller straight up when simply pressing a button is easier? The weapons feel oddly underpowered compared to those in the arcade mode, and carrying a maximum of two firearms but being able to swap out only one of them with another gun doesn't help. Except for the interesting final boss, the scenery and the enemies remain too similar to what's encountered in the arcade mode.
The 8-Player online battle mode puts a versus twist on the same iffy FPS action, pitting generic Delta Squad members against each other in no more than 4 arenas. Razing Storm isn't meant to be a versus FPS, especially not when it's stuck with the same boring deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture-the-flag, and king-of-the-hill match types found in any typical sports garbage.
As for the single-Player sentinel mode, it's essentially a set of basic shooting gallery challenges, where you play a prison guard who must knock out escaping prisoners (during a riot scene related to Delta One's adventures). There's no moving around or cover to take; there's only shooting the prisoners, whose movements are randomized, leaving this mode as dull and unengaging as the online battle nonsense. Worse yet, the loading times are lengthy, and there's no system data installation option to cut them shorter.
Honestly, this port should've dropped the online battle and sentinel modes and focused instead on enhancing the story mode. Implementing cooperative multiplayer support for the story mode would've made this cooler as a party game, not to mention being far more in tune with the arcade mode's gung-ho, team spirit attitude. Make no doubt here; Razing Storm's arcade mode may be worth playing, but the rest of this port in Big 3 Gun Shooting is a disappointment.