As an odd remnant of the bygone days of the arcade, light-gun games have been struggling for relevance for years now. Namco's Time Crisis series--arguably the last franchise to bring anything significant to the genre--attempts to co-opt the popularity of free-movement first-person shooters with Time Crisis 4 for the PlayStation 3, but it misses the point. What you're left with is some pretty straightforward shoot-and-duck light-gun gameplay shot through with stale FPS action and some clumsy motion controls.
Time is the least of this game's crises.
First off, let's talk about the hardware that comes with Time Crisis 4, which consists of the new GunCon3 light-gun controller and a set of infrared sensors that you place near the top of your TV. The infrared setup is similar to the Wii sensor bar, but less elegant, consisting of two somewhat sizeable sensors tethered together with a length of wire that you plug into one of the PS3s USB ports. The day-glo orange GunCon3 controller itself is also USB-based and looks like an overgrown version of the GunCon2. In addition to the trigger, there are two buttons on the side of the barrel and two more on the back, along with an analog stick. There's also a handle that juts out of the left-hand side of the barrel near the front, which is home to another analog stick and two more buttons.
It's actually a fairly comfortable controller to hold, at least for right-handed players, but there's something kind of intimidating about a light gun with six buttons and two analog sticks; it all seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through for a light-gun game. One of the fundamental appeals of a light-gun game is that it's self-explanatory--just point and shoot. Yet the design of the GunCon3 and Time Crisis 4, in general, flies in the face of that appeal. For the record, Time Crisis 4 can be played with a regular controller, but you'd want to do that about as much as you'd want to play a standard first-person shooter with a light gun.
There are two main modes of play in Time Crisis 4: arcade and complete mission. Both revolve around a trio of exceptionally and uniquely ridiculous-looking law enforcement types as they chase after a terrorist organization that's gotten its hands on a biological weapon called "terror bite," which is basically just a swarm of really aggressive bugs. It's pretty campy stuff, but the game takes it all just seriously enough that it takes the fun out of it. In the arcade mode, it feels like a pretty traditional Time Crisis game. You automatically move from one piece of cover to the next, pressing a button to pop up then cap generic enemy soldiers as they hop out of doorways and generally act like jack-in-the-boxes with poor aim. Returning to cover will reload your weapon and protect you from the occasional bullet that might actually hit you, but there's also a ticking clock to discourage you from playing too cautiously.