Time Carnage is a survival wave based action first-person shooter available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for PlayStation VR. Time Carnage’s developer Wales Interactive has previous experience in virtual reality game development with Don’t Knock Twice, while publisher Perp Games has brought some of the best VR games to PlayStation VR at retail including Theseus, VR Karts, Radial-G: Racing Revolved, Fruit Ninja VR, Perfect, The Assembly, Ultimate VR Collection and more besides. Can Wales Interactive’s and Perp Games’ VR experience result in Time Carnage being one of the best first-person shooter games on PlayStation VR?
The story revolves around travelling through time to different eras to see if they are inhabitable environments for humans and clearing the way of anything hostile that may prevent that from becoming a reality. Despite the story sounding ambitious; it is only told in the form of text which is certainly a missed opportunity for greater storytelling via cutscenes, characters and potential dialogue.
Story mode comprising of 16 levels spread throughout four timelines made up of four levels referred to as time zones per timeline that must be unlocked by playing through each level in sequence. Every level consists of as many as 10 waves in which the player must defeat an ever increasing quantity of enemies per wave before moving onto the next time zone. A time paradox will open at a particular distance through each level; providing an opportunity to shoot it in order to slow down time which can be a massive assist in clearing a large group of enemies or when in need of time to reload ammo.
Elsewhere, arcade mode allows the player to customise gameplay to their preference by choosing any unlocked enemy type to battle against on any unlocked level, alongside three perks and four weapons. Challenge mode features 20 challenges that tasks the player with overcoming an endless horde of a specific enemy type in which the player is equipped with pre-set weapons and perks, while the primary objective is to achieve a bronze, silver or gold performance rating which is decided by defeating a designated quantity of enemies. For instance, the headache challenge offers the supplementary perk that refills one bullet worth of ammo in exchange for a headshot on each of the incoming zombies or testing the player’s skills within the in plain sight challenge that changes up the gameplay by enforcing the no hope perk resulting in no shields, although there are four high powered sniper rifles provided to shoot your way out of trouble.
Enemy design is quite diverse which is helped by the time travel premise resulting in enemies from different eras from past and present including dinosaurs, monsters, pre-historic aerial insects, rabid mutated dogs, robots, skeletons, zombies and more besides that each have their own authentic attacks.
Weaponry is quite diverse as there are 25 unlockable dual-wielding weapons; however the player begins with only a pistol and SMG available, although a good performance on the opening story level will unlock a shotgun before gradually unlocking numerous pistols, revolvers, rifles and more besides through positive performances in story mode. Every weapon has their own set of attributes such as weapon category, damage, rate of fire, stability, range, magazine size and reload rate. Every level has four weapon pods that recharge a weapon’s ammunition during gameplay for an element of strategy in the sense of if a weapon should be used when surrounded or if ammo should be recharged in preparation for reintroducing the weapon or two needed when being flanked from all angles as everything gradually becomes a bit more hectic or gigantic with each wave. Weapons are complimented by perks in which three perks can be equipped within your customisable loadout, although every one of the numerous perks has to be unlocked from the outset as the player progresses through the story and challenge modes that relate to weapons, ammo, zero-g, slow motion and more besides.
Environment design is varied as there are four unique environments including a post-apocalyptic zombie outbreak in which foliage has become overgrown and cars are abandoned in the middle of streets; pre-historic times situated amongst jungles and canyons; futuristic cityscapes; and medieval period temples. Each environment contains four areas for a total of 16 time zones, although it would have been more preferable if the player had a much greater freedom of movement in order to actually be able to explore every area rather than your character remaining at a standstill and looking from side to side.
The controls are appropriately mapped to two PlayStation Move controllers that represent your left and right hands with a control scheme consisting of pressing the trigger button on the right or left handed PlayStation Move to fire your weaponry situated in each hand; pressing the move button on the left or right handed Move controller to pick up or drop a weapon; and holding start to reset head tracking. PlayStation Move’s gyroscopic motion sensing functionality allows the player to aim the weapon in the respective hand, while head tracking is utilised efficiently enabling the player to seek out enemies attacking from the left or right, alongside vibration reflecting the recoil of the weaponry being fired in both hands.
Graphically, Time Carnage is one of PlayStation VR’s most impressive as the time vortex comprises excellent particle effects and time distortion effects, while enemy models such as dinosaurs, zombies and monsters are depicted with realism to their respective subject matter and move fluently, alongside water effects reflecting the amazing surrounding environments and superb slow motion effects provided by the time paradox.
Time Carnage’s presentation is immersive as each area of the menus are layered in the sense of what you would anticipate from stereoscopic 3D. The highlight of the menus is the incredible backdrop as the player stands in the centre of a time travelling device. Menus are navigated with the left or right analogue stick by pressing the trigger button on the particular PlayStation Move controller of preference before utilising the Move controller’s gyroscopic motion sensing functionality to manoeuvre the cursor to the preferred mode, weapon or option followed by pressing the trigger button or X to select or pressing O to go back to the previous menu.
A voice-over counts down to the beginning of the time zone and informs the player when a wave has ended and when the next wave is about to start. Sound effects include dinosaurs roaring, zombies groaning, towering monsters screaming angrily, weapons being fired at enemies, explosions, time paradoxes being triggered and more besides; complimented by climactic music.
The trophy list includes 22 trophies with 7 bronze trophies, 6 silver trophies, 8 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Zombie Nation bronze trophy for completing the 4th millennium in story mode and the Headmaster silver trophy for getting an accumulative 500 headshots. Harder trophies include the I’m the Dogs B gold trophy for achieving gold in all challenges and the Extreme Carnage gold trophy for completing story mode on hard difficulty. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 10 to 20 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are three difficulty levels including easy, normal and hard with easy difficulty providing a chance to enjoy the gameplay as you progress through the story and other modes, while hard difficulty offers a real challenge as a significantly greater quantity of enemies per wave attack from all angles which will definitely make the player think about their approach in relation to if they should defeat the enemies attacking from a certain angle before moving onto the next set of enemies or steadily reducing the amount of enemies from all areas.
For family and friends situated in the same room; the TV presents what the player is experiencing, albeit without the same quality of depth in comparison to virtual reality. There is no social screen multiplayer which is a missed opportunity to introduce local multiplayer through having the VR player taking on the role of the time travelling character, while the TV player controls the enemies situated within each time zone in an attempt to prevent the time traveller from defeating every enemy to progress through each time zone by deciding the approach and formation of each enemy wave in a competitive multiplayer battle. However, there are no online leaderboards which could have focused on the top 10 and global rankings for each player’s highest score per individual wave and time zone on all three difficulty levels.
Time Carnage’s replayability originates from four environments with four areas per environment totalling to 16 levels throughout story, arcade and challenge modes, alongside unlockable weapons, perks and arcade style cheats in addition to three difficulty levels that will collectively bring players back for a long time after completing story mode.
- Title: Time Carnage
- Developer: Wales Interactive
- Publisher: Perp Games
- System: PlayStation VR
- Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1
- Hard Drive Space Required: 1.60GB