Review / The Shoot (PS3)

The Shoot takes an interesting angle on the light-gun genre; no slow-paced zombies or generic guns-for-hire here. No, what we’ve got instead is… cardboard cutouts of these enemies. The game puts you in the shoes of a movie star and has you running around different movie sets across a range of genres, blowing away these fake enemies to earn points and – hopefully – please your director. It’s clearly a way of getting around the potential violence so that kids can play too, which is by all means fair enough, but at the end of the day it just means The Shoot ends up feeling a little gimmicky and underwhelming.

There are five different move sets to work your way through in The Shoot. You’ll start off with Western-themed shootouts and later move onto robot battles and gang brawls with some monster madness along the way. While you will be under threat from enemy fire from time-to-time the focus here is more on style than anything else. A meter at the top right of the screen shows how pleased your director is with your performance; getting multiple shots, using special powers, and triggering explosions will make him happy while getting hit, shooting civilians and missing targets will eventually force him to cut. You’ll get five cuts in every movie though, so it’s not an instant game over if you don’t do well.

While the challenge increases as the career mode progresses, it’s about the only thing in The Shoot that does change past your first five minutes of play time. You’ll be stuck with the same standard gun throughout most of the game, which doesn’t give much feedback. The idea is to string your shots together to earn one of three special powers. The easiest to get is Showtime, which will slow everything down once you’ve spun round on the spot making it easier to pick off lots of enemies. Then there’s Shockwave where you fire at the floor to blow up everyone on screen. And finally, Rampage asks you to fire up into the air to trigger a few seconds of faster firing to obliterate your cardboard foes. It’s not exactly a mind blowing feature but it does allow for some strategy, and you can stack multiple powers if you save up which is nice.

Occasionally you’ll have to dodge incoming knives, bullets, dynamite, and the odd rocket or two. You can either shoot whatever’s coming your way out of the air or dodge by moving the controller from side to side to lean. It’s a little messy to dodge; you can never tell what side the projectile is going to land and you never know if you’ve leaned over far enough, meaning it’s much easier to just shoot them out of the air. Without any cover to duck behind, like in a Time Crisis game, you lose the sense of urgency from popping up and down, and are left with something that feels a little more sluggish. You also never have to reload, it’s just point and shoot… and shoot… and shoot some more.

There’s a handful of other events too: sometimes you’ll have to move up and down to push a cart along a track, or have a duel with a cowboy, you might even fight a boss or two. These parts end up being pretty confusing though; the game just expects you to know how to win a shoot out with no real tutorial, meaning you’ll usually lose a bit of style, and the bosses don’t really mix things up.

The game’s focus on points also brings up some serious roadblocks. Despite being so accessible in design, you’ll have to gather a certain amount of points before you can go onto a new movie. That means if you didn’t do amazingly well in a few scenes you’ll probably have to go back and grind through an area again before you can move on. It’s a dull way of doing things, and takes a chunk out of the fun.

There’s some options for co-op but it’s not consistent and isn’t available in all the game modes. Light-gun games are always, always better with a buddy, and should never have any sections where only one player can shoot. You’ll have to sit through the majority of The Shoot by yourself.

At least there’s a little character to it all. The Shoot‘s unique style does make it stand out from the rest of genre, and visiting new locations every few scenes helps keep things feeling at least a little fresh. The graphics don’t exactly push the boundaries of what the PS3 is capable of, but they’re fitting given the game’s angle. Having a director give you the same advice over and over again grinds after the first level but other than the voice work, sound effects and music evokes the spirit of its genre well.

The Shoot ends up never really evoking the sense of emergency other light-gun games can give and all in all is a little bland in every aspect apart from it presentation. The arcade modes on Time Crisis: Razing Storm are a better option if you simply have to have a light-gun fix, meaning there’s little reason to invest in this one.

+ Interesting twist for the light-gun genre
+ Offers a lot of character
+ Accessible controls

– A slow-paced and fairly boring career mode
– Not enough options for co-op
– Blocks your way with point barriers