Developer: Namco Mobile
Price: $9.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3G, iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

With coin-op arcade gaming largely dead or dying, fans of light gun shooters are running out of avenues to play games in the genre. Namco has brought a new entry in the Time Crisis series to iOS, with Time Crisis 2nd Strike, replacing light guns with your finger, and the famed action pedal with your thumb on an on-screen button. Other than that, this is your standard Time Crisis experience: ducking in and out of cover, shooting enemies in different colored uniforms, racing against the clock to advance through the levels, and switching between different weapons to help you along the way.

Time Crisis 2nd Strike does a great job at bringing the Time Crisis experience to iOS – the on-screen controls implement the pedal from the arcade version well, and targeting is accurate, with the ability to target specific body parts of enemies for additional damage. As well, if you hate the “hold down the pedal to come out of cover” mechanic, you can reverse its operation to make it work more like a standard light-gun game, and only have to hold down the pedal to go into cover.

First, let me say something about the voice acting in the game: it’s atrocious. Maybe it’s part of a style element that the series has always had cheesy, over-the-top voice acting, but this is just stilted. Also, the game’s difficulty curve is practically non-existent. You’re thrown into the fire right away from the word go, without any kind adaptation period to the game at all. But worst of all, the challenge just makes this the kind of game where I’ll pick it up for a few minutes, then put it back down because it’s frustrating and not that fun, and I’m only playing because of some obligation to press on for completion’s sake, not because it’s fun. If the reason I have to give myself to continue a game is because I have to finish it for some outside obligation beyond “I want to keep playing this because I want to keep playing this,” there’s little reason for me to continue playing it. As well, the $9.99 price is an absolute ripoff for the content the game provides, just 10 relatively short levels, with the length largely provided by the fact that you’ll have to keep playing them over and over.

Time Crisis 2nd Strike is a game that suffers more in its execution than it does its technical capacity. The engine is good, the series-specific elements are all present (for better or for worse), it’s just the core game is so severely flawed that it presents far more frustration than fun. These are the kinds of games that are the most frustrating – with the resources and the talent that a large studio like Namco can provide, for a clunker like this to be released. My opinion of Time Crisis 2nd Strike can be summarily diluted down to one word: frustrating.

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