Let’s get this out of the best way: I’m an enormous Stargate fan. My dad raised me on a food regimen of sci-fi from Star Trek to Farscape, and a staple of that food regimen was Stargate in its varied incarnations. The exception is the unique Stargate film which I merely don’t care about. However I’ve watched Stargate SG-1 and its spinoff Stargate: Atlantis someplace within the area of half a dozen occasions every, and browse fairly a couple of of the novels that continued the tales from the place the reveals left off. I’ve all the time been a little bit baffled by the shortage of video video games based mostly on the Stargate license, so Stargate: Timekeepers was an thrilling prospect.
First issues first, what precisely is Timekeepers? Properly, it’s a stealth sport, at its core, tasking you with guiding 4 squad members at a time by way of ranges crawling with enemies. Primarily based on the at present blended Steam opinions, it appears lots of people didn’t know they had been embarking on a real-time journey and left damaging opinions based mostly on the truth that they don’t take pleasure in stealth. So let me make it very clear: it’s a stealth sport. You’ll be able to shoot some stuff up, however more often than not you’ll be sticking to cowl fairly than raining down bullets. In plenty of methods, this does mimic the reveals the place it was often small groups infiltrating places plagued by Jaffa, Replicators or Wraith. After all, large firefights weren’t out of the query.
Nonetheless, I’ll be the primary to confess that stealth-tactics isn’t precisely what I image when imagining a Stargate sport. an FPS perhaps, or perhaps a full-blown RTS, however not a tactical stealth title. It definitely doesn’t assist that final 12 months noticed the discharge of my beloved Shadow Gambit, a vastly higher sport in the identical vein. Stargate: Timekeepers actually struggles in comparison with that sport and even plenty of different examples within the style.
Obtainable On: PC
Reviewed On: PC
Developed by: Slitherine
Revealed by: Slitherine
Evaluation code offered by the writer
Timekeepers opens through the climactic Battle of Antarctica from season 7 of Stargate SG-1. Whereas the legendary crew SG-1 makes an attempt to safe the data required to defeat Anubis, Timekeepers introduces two new characters: Commander Eva McCain and sniper Max Bolton. Each discover themselves close to SG-1’s location and hatch a plan to assist destroy a number of the Kull warriors besieging the crew, thus inserting themselves neatly sufficient into the present Stargate canon.
After that, although, Timekeeper’s connection to the broader Stargate universe is negligible at finest, and at worst an extremely lacklustre use of the license by developer Slitherine Video games. As a minimum, you may count on a Stargate sport to contain truly utilizing a Stargate, however you solely ever see them within the background. Whereas I don’t have any points with the sport steering clear of getting SG-1 or any of the main characters seem as a result of it might be bizarre having them with out their unique actors, it’s odd that Timekeepers doesn’t even allow you to go to Stargate Command or maybe utilise a number of the franchise’s lesser characters.
With out going too far into it, Stargate Timekeepers feels prefer it has the thinnest layer of Stargate paint slapped onto its floor. In actual fact, I’d go as far as to say it seems like the sport was designed with out the Stargate license after which given the coat of paint at a later date. That’s, after all, pure hypothesis, so suffice to say that if the Stargate license was stripped out of the sport it wouldn’t make a lot distinction.
In the event you aren’t conversant in Stargate lore, then you definitely’re going to have a nasty time. Timekeepers will not be occupied with serving to onboard newer followers, by no means as soon as stopping to offer even the vaguest clarification about who Anubis is, why the Earth is at warfare, what a Stargate is, who the Jaffa are, what SG-1 is or anything you possibly can think about. Nevertheless, I don’t assume this counts as a damaging: it’s a sport aimed toward Stargate followers, and I can respect the selection to focus purely on that reality, even when it doesn’t do an important job of utilizing the license.
As soon as the opening mission is out of the best way and a tenuous connection to the larger Stargate universe is established, Timekeepers sidles away into its personal story involving small-time Stargate villain Moloc doing a little small-time villain stuff. Eva and Max get joined by a couple of extra characters as effectively; there’s A’ta, the insurgent Jaffa that’s making an attempt very laborious to be a feminine model of Teal’c; Sam, an alien languages knowledgeable; and at last Derrick, a nervy scientist with a penchant for drones.
There’s, in idea, some kind of story explaining why you bounce from planet to planet, with every mission being prefaced by a barely odd “now on Stargate Timekeepers!” cutscene that’s meant to offer some context for what’s occurring. Besides it doesn’t. These mission intros discuss issues that by no means occurred once you had been enjoying the prior missions, making for a complicated mess.
Whereas I do recognize the try and make the degrees really feel like episodes from the TV present utilizing this format, it actually doesn’t work. The voice performing is iffy at finest and the writing totally forgettable, and by only a few missions in I had already misplaced curiosity in what we had been presupposed to be doing and who was who.
It’s the identical story within the missions, too. As you sneak round Jaffa and arrange ambushes there are ample possibilities for the characters to banter, however Slitherine not often take these alternatives and after they do the forwards and backwards is lifeless, and doesn’t assist develop the completely different personalities. Jaffa resistance fighter A’ta suffers essentially the most from this because the writers clearly tried to imitate Teal’c from the present, portray her as a stoic warrior. However whereas Christopher Choose’s pure charisma helped guarantee Teal’c was an attractive on-screen presence whereas his stoic outer layer was peeled away, A’Ta comes throughout as bored and bland. The remainder of the solid doesn’t do significantly better, from the cocky sniper Max to the loopy scientist who tosses out drones. Stargate as an entire is outlined by its characters, nearly all of whom are fascinating and charismatic, however Timekeeper’s is outlined by cardboard personalities.
The gameplay hits all the primary staples of the style, proper down enemy’s cones of imaginative and prescient that have to be rigorously skirted round to the flexibility to pause the sport, queue up instructions and have them executed. Every of the 5 playable characters comes with a small collection of distinctive abilities designed to allow them to sneak round, knock out guards or often simply homicide no matter will get in the best way. Quite a lot of your time might be spent rigorously eyeing up patrol routes and choosing off guards by smacking them within the head, hogtying them after which tossing the physique in a hedge or off a cliff.
Whereas Shadow Gambit had massive areas and a way of playfulness in approaching conditions, Timekeeper’s is much more linear. Its ranges are tight, and there’s a way that you just’re searching for the meant resolution by way of trial and error fairly than arising with loopy strategies. That isn’t to say there’s zero room for experimentation – I’m fairly certain one or two of my barmy plans weren’t what the builders envisioned. Nonetheless, for essentially the most half, it felt like I used to be slowly puzzling out how Slitherine wished me to maneuver ahead.
It’s truly moderately difficult in some methods as there’s not an entire lot of room for error. Some issues are thrown into the combo as effectively: Jaffa sporting their helmets can’t merely be knocked out, as a substitute, they should be scouted out by Eva McCain first or else simply averted. Particular drones hovering above the bottom also can see you hiding in bushes and may solely be destroyed by utilizing an energy-based potential adopted by a deadly assault, which means some character mixtures can kill them outright. Intelligent use of abilities is significant, then, whether or not that’s Sam’s helpful potential to disguise himself as a Jaffa and saunter round or even handed use of stun grenades to take out a number of foes at one, or dropping decoys to lure in unsuspecting chumps. Whereas they is perhaps missing within the character division, your squad do have some first rate abilities at hand they make all of them play moderately in a different way, although I sometimes discovered A’ta to be the least helpful and fascinating of the bunch.
It’s fairly satisfying once you pull off daring plans or solely simply make it into cowl earlier than a guard spots you. Rapidly ordering the squad round and determining the most effective mixture of skills and strikes feels nice. However in comparison with different video games that do related issues, Timekeepers struggles to set itself aside in any significant method. I hate to maintain going again to the effectively, however Shadow Gambit supplied up a crew of vibrant characters with fascinating skills, very similar to Desperados 3 did, and in comparison with these video games Timekeeper’s gameplay is form of uninspiring.
The AI isn’t actually as much as snuff, both. You’ll be able to knock out an entire group with a stun grenade and after they get up they’ll return to standing in the identical spot, fully ignoring the truth that six of them had been rendered unconscious on the identical time by an unknown power. In the event you take out a guard who’s conversing with a pal, mentioned pal will proceed to talk to skinny air. If you’re found and the alarm is raised, it’s very simple to collect up your crew and conceal in a bush with out a lot worry of being found.
It takes till the seventh mission for the Stargate Timekeepers’ central idea hinted at inside its title to really pop up. And simply when it does, the sport simply ends. Sure, we have to speak concerning the bizarre construction of Stargate Timekeepers. What’s truly out there to play proper now could be solely half of the sport, with one other 7 missions coming later in 2024, although precisely when has not been introduced. The excellent news is that the concluding 7 “episodes” are solely free. The unhealthy information is that with out them, Stargate Timekeepers seems like…effectively, half a sport. As a result of it’s.
Precisely why Slitherine opted for this technique is past my data. Taken at face worth, it makes it appear to be the builders merely launched an unfinished sport like they had been working low on cash and wanted to push one thing out of the door. The result’s an unsatisfying finish to the meagre and forgettable story, a jarring cutoff simply when it looks like the plot may lastly be getting someplace. The sudden nature of the ending makes it really feel just like the builders didn’t initially plan to have the sport launched in two components as a result of it doesn’t even trouble making an attempt to arrange some kind of mid-season cliffhanger that leaves the participant wanting extra. No, it feels just like the devs picked some random, arbitrary level within the story and break up it there.
In the long run, I’m undecided who Stargate: Timekeepers is for. It definitely isn’t for anybody who isn’t already intimately related to Stargate, that a lot is bound. However on the identical time, it’s so loosely woven into the Stargate universe that it doesn’t really feel prefer it’s for followers of the TV reveals, both. As an enormous Stargate nerd who went into this wanting ahead to lastly seeing Stargate come again, I didn’t get something from Timekeepers. It doesn’t tie in effectively with the present lore, it doesn’t increase the universe in any respect and it doesn’t inform a significant Stargate story. That simply leaves the gameplay, and in that space Stargate: Timekeepers is first rate however forgettable, and vastly overshadowed.