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'TimeShift' Preview (Xbox 360)

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Machine Gun"Time After Time," "Time Is On My Side," and "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" are just a few choice cuts you could use when you build a customized soundtrack to Timeshift, the upcoming FPS that takes those tricky scientific principles of time, throws them out the window, and gives you the same time warping abilities as a TIVO. So get ready to reverse time, slow down, and pause the action…just don't forget to shoot while you're at it.

As soon as the preview starts off, your character – Michael Swift – finds himself infiltrating a subway system with two enemy soldiers just a little ways ahead of you, so right away you are thrust right into the action, as you get to experiment now how you want to tackle them.

But before we tackle those guards, let us go over the controls. For the most part the game handles like a typical FPS on the Xbox 360, but with a few notable changes. The left and right thumbsticks are still used to turn your character's point of view and move them in various directions. Also the same as other Xbox/Xbox 360 FPS games is the fact that the right trigger uses your weapon and clicking the right thumbstick will make your character perform a blunt attack with the currently selected weapon. The A-button will also make your character jump.

As for the differences, instead of the left trigger controlling grenades, it now controls your weapon's secondary functions. The grenade controls are attached to clicking your left thumbstick, which means the usual crouching method is attached to using the directional pad. Left and right on the directional pad cycles your weapons, left bumper reloads, right bumper uses an object, and your X, Y, and B-buttons control your time powers.

Your time warping powers are what differentiates TimeShift from the other FPS games. The X-button is used to control your Slow-Mo abilities, which allow you to slowdown the action while you continue to move at normal speed; this power is good for when you want to slow some otherwise speedy artillery down so it makes passage easier to navigate. The Y-button controls your Stop abilities, which completely ceases all action on the screen, easily allowing you to take out every enemy in a sec or proceed with a task that requires quick action. The B-button controls your Rewind abilities, which allows you to erase past mistakes while still being able to shoot in normal time.

Now that that is out of the way, let us rewind time and continue with those soldiers.

With the two soldiers in front of you, you will more than likely either use your pistol's normal fire or secondary fire, which in this case is a spurt of three bullets in a row. You can use your time abilities now, but if you can't make it past these two goons what hope do you have for the future? Once you pop them full of holes, you'll next come across an environmental/time puzzle. It took me quite a while to figure it out, but you eventually see that a fire is impeding your process, but you can't find anyway to extinguish the flame. However, you do have some time powers, so through some experimenting you'll find that you can stop time and walk through the flame without taking damage.

As you get to street level, you'll have to pass in front of a gate, which will open if the guards standing there catch you. Now, you can try to run past, but more than likely they will still see you and will therefore open the gate and come gunning. Instead, I chose to either slowdown time or completely stop it, so that as I passed in front of them I could quickly shoot them without them ever getting a shot off, and then I easily proceeded to the corner.

Around the corner is a group of three soldiers chatting about some hot scientist back at the compound. You've also got a guard back near a machine gun, so you better consider him now. There are several ways to approach this scenario. You can go gunning and hope you take everybody out. You can equip your machine gun like weapon, use the secondary fire to shoot an explosive round, wiping out the group of three and then using primary fire to get the guy at the machine gun. You can freeze time and take everyone out. Or you can equip your flame weapon, flamethrower them with your secondary fire, or pepper them with individual bullets. No matter what method you choose, the main thing is you have a choice.

After surviving this scenario, you'll find yourself at an electronic door that opens and closes before you can get to it. Knowing your time powers, all you have to do is flip the switch, stop time, and then run through the gate, giving you plenty of time to spare before the field comes back on.

The secondary function of the weapons are what I really enjoyed, as they were varied and allowed me to combo up some action so it wasn't just shooting the same weapon in the same way over and over. The secondary fire of the flame weapon was the best, as it works just like a typical flamethrower, and allows you to easily spread this amazing fire effect that toasts every enemy it touches; watching them turn black and run about like a chicken with its head cutoff, screaming bloody murder all the way is a blast.

One thing about TimeShift is the challenge of it all, as the Normal setting was extremely, extremely difficulty. The reason for the difficulty is because enemy bullets will deplete your life bar drastically in only a handful of shots. Though I had my time abilities at hand, I typically found the loading screen to be my best friend, as it was constantly loading up time and time again as I tried to perfect some battle just right. So you better get used to attacking, finding cover, and allowing your health bar to replenish as well as your time abilities, because if you don’t play smart and use those time abilities in the right situations, you'll find yourself meeting the Grim Reaper over and over and over.