Bullet-time has become a staple of action video games over the past ten years, and a lot of thanks can go to the sci-fi blockbuster, the Matrix. The art of slowing down time in order to act faster, or respond more precisely, has slipped its way into a number of our favourite games, and with Max Payne 3 and Sleeping Dogs embracing this to the fullest this year, we’re here to pay homage to these time-bending experiences.
Max Payne series
One of the first games to ever incorporate the element of bullet-time, Max Payne set the stage for beautiful gunplay and slow-motion jumps. Max Payne allowed players to leap into the air, while firing off rounds in glorious bullet-time. Let’s hope the older, wiser and fatter Max Payne can still pull off those fancy moves in the third instalment releasing next week.
Dead to Rights series
While Dead to Rights may initially come off as a Max Payne imitation, it’s so much more than that. Dead to Rights combined a compelling story and a badass character known as Jack Slate, with some interesting gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to utilize Jack’s dog Shadow, and throw fire hydrants and canisters (in combination with a precise shot) in order to create ultimate chaos. The best part is that it could all be done in beautiful slow-motion.
Nothing requires more precision than free-running, and in Mirror’s Edge, it was with the help of a slow-down function that kept the female lead, Faith, from plummeting to her death. With a touch of a button, players could activate ‘reaction time’, which drastically slowed down the incredible pace of the game, in order to make more calculated jumps and time stylish weapon disarms.
The grandfather of first-person shooters returned in 2009, along with series hero, BJ Blazkowics. However, this war veteran brought some new gameplay elements in to the mix. By utilizing a paranormal power known as the Veil, players could enter into another dimension. But the best part was that players could slow down time in order to fill some Super Nazi freaks with much needed lead. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
While many games featured elements of bullet-time and slow-down mechanics, TimeShift based its entire gameplay on the concept. While the game didn’t break any records, it gave players the opportunity to slow-down, freeze and even rewind time. This had to be mastered in order to solve puzzles and kill enemies. Some enemies even move so fast, you have to slow down time just to see them. Time can also be completely stopped, allowing you to waltz over and snatch an enemy’s gun right out of their hands. That alone is worth your time.
Notable Mentions: Prince of Persia series, Sniper Elite V2, FEAR, Need for Speed series, Total Overdose, Metal Gear series, Midnight Club series, WET, Call of Duty breaching (yawn), True Crime series, Sleeping Dogs, Batman, Assassin’s Creed 2, Fight Night
We’ve just touched on some of the games that have taken full advantage of bullet-time and the time altering facets of gaming. What games have you played that challenged time itself?