|System: PS3 (MOVE)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cohort Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 19, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
It comes as no big surprise that just a month after the release of the PlayStation Move the system would already see light gun games rising to prominence as one of the system's dominant genres. This week sees the release of two big name light gun rail shooters: the latest in the classic Time Crisis series, and The Shoot. The latter features a starkly different approach and tone than the former, but nonetheless the two are battling for consumer dollars this week.
The Shoot is an attempt to create a somewhat comedic experience in the mold of an on-rails light gun shooter. You are cast as an action star in a series of blockbuster action movies featuring over-the-top cowboy shoot-outs, robot invasions, and noir-themed mafia fights. From start to finish the whole experience is littered with fun personality, and the whole game is uplifted because of it.
Very little about The Shoot is going to surprise you. We've all played light-gun games before, and The Shoot does very little to break new ground in the mechanics of this type of shooter. The only thing that caught me off guard about this game is how much fun it actually is. Many different elements combine to create a rail-shooter experience that had me laughing, excited, and ready to go another round.
But before I shower too much praise on this game, there are some important faults that need to be addressed. For starters, it's only takes about two hours to make it through the campaign, which is fairly typical for a light gun game. You'll have fun during your two hours, but that doesn't change the fact that it's over in the blink of an eye, and at $40, The Shoot is a fairly expensive for a two hour game. That ratio of dollars to hours will have many gamers feeling a bit slighted no matter what.
The counter point to that is that The Shoot is intended to be replayed. Your cumulative score the first time through is likely to be pitiful. The whole game essentially revolves around a combo mechanic that can change your score drastically. It's simple: shoot multiple enemies in a row to raise your point modifier, but don't miss or get hit or else it will drop back down. So essentially you're getting extra points depending on how accurate and skilled you are at the game. It's not complicated, but this system works great in a light gun game. Not only does it give you incentive to stop spraying bullets all over the level, but it makes you thoughtful. Should I take a shot at that hard target in the back and risk missing? That's the kind of split-second decision making The Shoot encourages.
To help you maintain your combo, you are given access to a trio of powerups that you will collect when you get five successful shots in a row. There's a device to slow down time (no different than bullet time in any other game), a shock wave that blasts all enemies in front of you, and a rampage that basically gives you access to a fully automatic Tommy Gun with unlimited ammo and carte blanch to blast everywhere without fear of losing your combo.
These things aren't what makes or breaks The Shoot though. It's the personality of the game. The entire game takes place on a movie set, and that theme is perpetuated throughout the game. When you begin a level, you start off the set next to cameras, chairs, and crew. Then you walk onto the set, and are mostly immersed in the new setting. Occasionally the camera will pan up and you'll see the lighting fixtures and other things like that. The enemies are awesome. Rather than pretending to shoot real people, all of the enemies are cardboard cutouts of real enemies. Some of them have limited animations, which amounts to basically two legs on a swivel to simulated running. The whole idea of the cardboard cutouts is really fun. Not only is it playful, but the wood of the cutouts blows up or falls apart when you shoot it, which is a much more satisfying result than some faceless enemy doing a prerendered back flip when you shoot him. This also makes the game a bit more child-friendly.