Time Carnage (PSVR) Review

Time Carnage is the second wave-based PSVR shooter I’ve reviewed this week, having done Lunar Stone: Origin of Blood just the other day. However, Time Carnage scraps the story and replaces it with back-to-back action within this very good VR shooter with solid controls. Not everything is perfect though as I have got a few technical issues with the game and with a few bugs which I hope are resolved soon. That being said, If you’re looking for another VR shooter game akin to Blasters of the Universe and Shooty Fruity then look no further for Wales Interactive have you covered!

**As usual – PSVR games have their images taken from both recordings of the social screen and in-game. It looks a lot better when you are in the PSVR itself**

Some of the levels can get a bit intense on harder difficulties as you become overwhelmed with enemies.

As mentioned above, the story gets a side-step in this game, unlike Blasters of the Universe which sets you up with a story to work through and Shooty Fruity which gives you a defined position in life which brought you to the supermarket of killer fruit! In Time Carnage, you are the Terminator and you are travelling through various time periods in order to eradicate waves of enemies. Okay, so you aren’t ‘THE’ Terminator, but you materialise in each time zone in a watery bubble type enclosure which reminds me of Arnold in the Terminator movies!

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You will be travelling to the 4th Millennium, the Mesozoic Era (65m years BC), the 6th Millenium, and the 4th Century as you take out various enemies from dinosaurs to combat robots. Also, even though I said there is no story, there is still a mission build-up. Before each mission, you will see a few lines of text advising what you are doing in that period and why you are there – so that kind of counts as a story, it’s just very loose.

So, let’s jump into our time machine and go about causing a mass genocide on various ‘species’ as we take a closer look at the gameplay mechanics and the various enemies you will encounter in this rather enjoyable wave-based shooter.

Uzis – your first weapons. Also, note the cool recharge stations with the blue rings.

First of all, the controls in this game are pretty solid – which is awesome! There is nothing worse than a VR game that suffers from control issues. You will be using two move controllers at all times – no DS4 or Aim controller here – as you will be handling two guns, one in each hand. Motion sickness is out the window as you never move, you are stationary from beginning to end – although the loading screen does have a bit of movement as if you are flying through time (well, Its what I imagine that would look like), but that never affected me. Also, you have no way to turn in-game other than moving your body, but as with Lunar Stone, it isn’t a problem as all enemies come from the frontal 180 degrees.

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The part I found really interesting and loved was the weapon selection – I know, it’s strange but bear with me! Usually, in games like this, you would pick a loadout first and have a set gun, or guns which can’t be changed until you go back to the menu. Time Carnage goes one (well, two) better and gives you four guns in-game to pick between but you don’t just press a button to swap them, you literally grab them from their designated reload station. Basically, you’re stood/sat in a set position and around you are four cylinders – on each of these resides one of the guns you pick before the mission. You simply reach out and pick up the gun you wish to use with whichever hand you wish to put it in and when you want to reload you simply press the top button on the Move controller and you place it back on the pedestal where it will proceed to reload.

I really enjoyed this mechanic as it got me to use all four weapons all the time as you have to wait for the others to reload so you must grab whatever you can find! You also have free reign on what guns you take with you – if you want four shotguns, so be it. However, you wouldn’t want four shotguns as they have a low ammo count, a slow reload speed, and a poor distance – but you could if you wanted. This mechanic is a little similar to Shooty Fruity where you have the guns on the line go past you and you pick out the ones you want – only this time, all four are there from the beginning.

Nothing like spraying a T-Rex with flaming hot fire!

The core gameplay of the game will take place in the campaign mode where you will be within one of the four periods I mentioned above. Each period is make up of four zones and each zone is made up of ten waves. So in total, we have four periods, 16 zones, and 160 waves to work our way through. On average, each zone took me about ten minutes to complete – so the main campaign should take you around three hours to complete. Well, there is a trophy for completing the campaign on Easy, medium and hard, so if you are going for the platinum then it will take a lot longer as you may do some zones at a lower difficulty first in order to unlock new weapons then go back to the zone to try again.

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In regards to the enemies, this is where games like this usually fall down due to the lack of variants and the small pool of enemies. I’m happy to say that Time Carnage has quite a lot of enemies, which is apparent in a mode I’ll talk about later! For example, our first period is the 4th Millennium where we face off against zombies, mutants, rabid dogs and giant freaks of nature within this apocalyptic wasteland. Next, we have velociraptors, triceratops, annoying bugs and T-Rex’s in the Mesozoic Era. Onwards to the 6th Millenium where robots are all the rage and we must destroy melee-based ones, running ones with guns, annoying flying ones and massive ED-209 machines! Finally, we encounter re-animated skeletons, spiders and more in the 4th century BC period. I’ve just mentioned 14 different enemy types, and that’s not even all of them!

The only downside is that that’s about it. The campaign is made up of waves of increasingly harder/numbers of enemies which ultimately ends when you kill the last enemy. It would have been nice if there was a boss battle at the end of each time period, we do get some big enemies like the T-Rex and the giant robots, but they are easy enough to take down and they come with the standard waves.

Some of the gun models are pretty cool in design and in VR they look even better!

In regards to the weapons, there are 25 to collect – you unlock new weapons as you complete the various zones, some will give you one weapon and some two. You begin with basic weapons like an Uzi and a shotgun yet you soon unlock grenade launchers and laser guns. It’s all about taking the best weapons for the job into battle with you – you don’t want all short-range weapons if the enemies are in the distance, yet you don’t want weak long-range weapons if the enemies are prone to charge at you with melee attacks. Before long, you will have your own favourite load-outs.

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Another thing you unlock whilst playing is perks. These can’t be equipt in the main game but you can use them in the other mode below. These change the gameplay mechanics for the better! I absolutely love the Zero-G upon death perk as it shoots the enemies off into space when you slaughter them. You have a total of three perk tiers with six perks in each – but you can only pick one per tier in each applicable game. These really help to mix up the gameplay when you decide to try out the Arcade mode.

This was my favourite zone in the third period. Reminds me of Bladerunner.

As mentioned above, there are other modes for you to play, Arcade and Challenges. Let’s take a look at those:

Challenges:
As you would expect, you are given a list of challenges for you to work through. These have set criteria and usually a set load-out which you must work with in order to eliminate enough enemies for one of three completion levels (bronze, silver, or gold). These are unlocked through playing the main game and other challenges and some of them can get pretty tricky, especially when you are going for the gold. These are a nice change from the wave-based action of the campaign though as, even though it’s still the same game, this time you have a goal to work towards instead of a free-for-all.

Arcade:
This is the mode I love, this is what I call the ‘fun mode’! Here you can activate any of the perks you have unlocked, pick any level and any enemy type. However, Time Carnage has the added benefit of letting you mix it up a little… Let’s say you pick the warehouse level along with your loadout and your three perks. The next thing is to pick the enemies – this is where I noticed the best thing I’ve seen in a VR wave-based game! You don’t just select the enemy type you want to face off against, you tick it. Basically, if you have played all four periods in the campaign, you can pick all four enemy types. So, whilst you are in the warehouse, you will encounter the T-rex, robots, skeletons, zombies, spiders and more…

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So yeah, there is a lot of content to play even if you have finished the main campaign on hard and you’re looking for a new challenge. The challenge mode is great in it’s set criteria and specific goals and the Arcade mode is great for turning on laser sights and Zero-G kills with all enemies and just going crazy!

The dusty design of the wastelands after the apocalypse! Some of these zones are really well designed.

There are three factors about the game which unfortunately weakens the overall experience a little.

First up is the enemy AI. The enemies are programmed to spawn at a set point and walk/run towards you with no regards for their own life – apart from the flying ones, they annoy me as they move so you can’t hit them. It’s your standard affair for a wave-based shooter, so I won’t hold this against the game, but it would have been nice if the enemies had some kind of AI that allowed them to adapt and maybe try and avoid my constant barrage of bullets to the face.

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Secondly are the graphics. Don’t get me wrong, the gun models and everything close up looks great in VR, it just when you’re looking in the distance is where the cracks show. There is a lot of jaggies and distorted images due to the resolution of the PSVR – so again, not fully the games fault. However, with games like Moss which came out recently and look perfect on the PSVR, we know it is possible to deliver a cleaner presentation. Also, due to the distance items being fuzzy and a little hard to see, it sometimes made combat a little hard as you try to aim at something you can’t 100% make out.

Thirdly, there is an issue with the tracking. The Move controllers and the guns are perfect and work really well, but the tracking of my position didn’t seem to work for me. After playing for about 10-15 minutes, your viewpoint drifts to the left. So, whereas I begin playing the game facing forwards, after about  90 minutes, I’m facing about 45 degrees to the left yet in-game it thinks that is my forward position. The only solution is to close the game and re-open as holding ‘options’ doesn’t reset your facing position, only your X point position. Hopefully, this will get resolved.

One other thing I would like to mention is the music – this has both good and bad points. The good is that it sounds awesome and really matches the period you are in… That’s also where the bad part comes in. The songs aren’t long – probably about 2-3 minutes each, so you will hear the same song repeated about 3-4 times per zone and it’s the same music in all four zones of the period. For perspective, I had to turn the music off in the third period last night because the music was beginning to annoy me. Also, the sound effects themselves don’t appear to be utilising the PSVR 3D sound fully – I have my headphones connected to the PSVR and yet I can’t make out where the enemies are on the screen when they scream. I can just hear them in general. A game like this should benefit from pinpointing the exact location of the oncoming enemies based on hearing alone.

Time period 2 (dinosaurs) – Zone one + Arcade:

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Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Time Carnage is a surprisingly good wave-based PSVR shooter with a lot going for it. From the clever load-out selection in-game to the brilliant multi-period merging arcade mode, I had a blast playing this game. The large selection of weapons and the constant introduction of new, harder enemies kept the game fresh and builds up the challenge gradually. The fuzzy PSVR graphics, the lack of precise 3D sound and the lacklustre enemy AI do let the game down a little, but they never infringed on my enjoyment. If you have a PSVR and enjoy these types of games then I highly recommend it. Who doesn’t love shooting rapid dogs in the face with a shotgun whilst watching their bodies float off in zero gravity?

A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Time Carnage

8

Final Score

8.0/10

The Good:

  • Loads of weapons and perks to unlock and equip
  • Plenty of zones to play with very different locations
  • The fact you can have all enemies in one mission in Arcade is awesome
  • The character and gun models look good close up
  • The challenges will keep you busy for a while

The Bad:

  • Enemy AI is a little dumb
  • The music loops after a short while, which can get a bit monotonous
  • Tracking of the frontal view seems to drift to the left
  • As with any wave-based games, best played in short burts otherwise it can get a little tedious
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