Review by Gene Parmesan
"One of the best games on Gamecube!"
Very rarely do we see a video game such as Timesplitters 2. Most FPS games often lean too hard on multiplayer, creating a poor single player (like the original Timesplitters released for the PS2), or vice versa. However, Eidos Interactive and Free Radical somehow found a way to not only include a spectacular multiplayer as well as a deep and involving single player. Of course, this is something you would expect from the creators of Goldeneye. Now take a look and see what makes this game so fantastic.
In TS2 you play the role of a time cop, sent to destroy an evil race of aliens called Timesplitters. It is the year 2401, and the Timesplitters have created a time portal, which they would use to go through time and destroy the human race. Fortunately, their plan is nearly foiled when the two main characters Sgt. Cortez and Corp. Hart invade the Timesplittes' spaceship. However, just as the two marines are about to stop the Timesplitters' evil scheme, the Timesplitters take the time crystals (which are used to power the portal) and go through it, each holding a crystal. They put the crystals in remote locations, expecting you will never find and retrieve them. It's time to prove them wrong.
TS2's story mode spans hundreds of years, ranging from gangster infested Chicago in 1932 to a robot factory in 2315 that is processing war robots to start a new war. Each level features different characters, enemies, music, and weapons. The charm of it is that every level is completely different. Since they span different years (and none of the years the levels take place in are particularly close) they always give you a sense of variety. In one level you may be shooting zombies with an old shotgun, while in another you might be fighting strange aliens on a foreign planet. No other game can prepare you for this. You must master modern, futuristic, and ancient weaponry if you want to succeed in this game. TS2's story mode is quite good, and surprising expansive as it has ten different levels for you to fight through. Some of the futuristic levels seem very similar, however, but you'll be having too much fun blowing through them to notice, or even care for that matter.
If saving the world in story mode isn't your thing, then you can check out the 3 other modes of gameplay: Arcade, Challenge, and Mapmaker. Each of them offers almost infinite replay value and a very different experience. I'll describe Arcade first.
In Arcade mode you have a choice of either playing the Arcade League or Arcade Custom. In Arcade League you must fight through specific challenging missions. The majority of them include playing difficult versions of multiplayer games against bots (computer controlled characters). For example, in one you might have fight in a team deathmatch while in another you may have to fight hordes of enemies. Depending on how you perform in the missions, you can achieve a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum medal. The better you perform, the better the medal, so you'll always be coming back to improve your score or get a better time on a level. You can also unlock tons of things by getting good scores on Arcade League missions (more on the unlockables later).
Arcade Custom is a little different. If you don't have a friend available for multiplayer, you can always play Arcade Custom, which allows you to do multiplayer against bots. You get to set the difficulty, stage, mode of play, rules, and much more. You can also choose whatever weapons you want for your battle and also you can decide what bots you want to fight. This makes Arcade Custom something you'll constantly come back for. Arcade also provides much needed practice for the Arcade League and Story missions.
The next mode of play is the Challenge mode. This is quite different from the Arcade and Story modes. In Challenge, you must take on specific and often unusual tasks. For example, in one mission, you must destroy windows with bricks, protect a town from cardboard cutout people, or fight off legions of undead creatures. As the name says, Challenge mode is much harder than the other two modes. They levels are incredibly difficult but feel more rewarding when you beat it. And like Arcade League and Story mode, when you beat a mission, you usually unlock someone or something.
The final gameplay mode in TS2 is also my favorite. It's the Mapmaker. The Mapmaker is very unique and not like any of the other modes. Mapmaker allows you to create your own maps to play singleplayer or multiplayer games. Using Mapmaker is fairly simple. You place tiles to custom make your room. After you have the floor plan done, you can also adjust the lighting, place items and weapons on the board, change how the rooms look, and more. Don't want to do a multiplayer map? That's fine. If you're playing on the advanced mode then you can also create your own story mode maps. You can place your own enemies on the board, as well as set actions or trigger events for them. Also, using the simple to use yet complex game logic, you can set objectives, trigger events, and more. Creating your own maps and then playing them could be one of the most satisfying features of the game.
However, the real fun of TS2 lies in multiplayer. There are numerous different types of games you and a friend can do, ranging from your standard Deathmatch to Monkey Assistant, a game in which a team of monkeys helps the player in last place. After you choose your mode and level (there are numerous diverse levels to choose from) you can set rules for the game: how many kills you want to play up to, the time, if you want to start with a gun, etc. You can also, like in Arcade Custom, choose your weapons and bots from a list of default setups, or customize your own. After that, you and your friends can choose their characters. There are over 100 characters to choose from in Timesplitters 2, each with their own stats. All have different weaknesses and strengths, putting strategy into whom you pick. Many are practical, while some are quite silly and are there to give you a laugh. After your character is chose, it's off to battle! Within seconds TS2's multiplayer will draw you in and never let you out.
With all these different things to do, it's no wonder that TS2 has amazing replay value. There are numerous levels and missions to beat in all the modes, as well as tons of characters, levels, and multiplayer games to unlock. Just about everything unlocks something, so you'll spend a lot of time trying to beat that level to get that one last character, or unlock a special map. TS2 will keep you addicted from the moment you put the game into your Gamecube until the time that you sadly have to turn off the GCN to eat or sleep or something.
Graphically TS2 is excellent. The game manages to use a somewhat cartoony look while still retaining a level of reality. All characters look unique and brightly animated. The game runs smoothly and the levels are highly detailed. The guns look excellent and none appear even slightly the same. TS2 also has numerous cut scenes, which are also excellently animated and look very good in the game. TS2 has managed to be a serious FPS with serious graphics while still maintaining its legendary sense of humor.
But what good is a game if you don't have good music and sound to go with it? Apparently TS2's developers thought that as well and gave this game excellent music and sound effects. All the music is very fitting, and none of it is out of place. For example, in Chicago you will hear music that you would expect to hear in the thirties, while in the robot factory you can hear futuristic sounding techno. The music is all superb, but some levels have music that can start to get slightly annoying after a few minutes. As for sound effects they are good too. Everything sounds as they should, which includes guns, people, and the annoying noise that the security cameras make when they spot you. Timesplitters 2 also features a good amount of voice acting, which is pretty well done. The characters speak clearly in different voices and the lip-synching isn't that bad.
If there's one possible turn-off for TS2, however, it's the difficulty. This game isn't just hard. It's brutal. Beating most Story Mode missions on a normal difficulty is tough enough, but if you want to beat them on a hard difficulty it can be nearly impossible. The Arcade League missions are also very challenging. Sure, it can be decently easy to beat them usually, but if you want to beat them and get a gold or platinum medal, then you will have to seriously struggle because it's very hard. And of course, Challenge Mode is the hardest of the three, with next to impossible missions that will drain every ounce of life from you. The controls also make this game difficult. For example, the targeting is a little lousy, as the default setting requires you to hold in the L button to bring up the crosshairs. You can change the setting so that you only have to hit L once to bring up the crosshairs, but it's still a little inconvenient. Another slight problem is switching through your weapons. Unless you pause, switching through weapons can also be a chore, especially in the middle of a battle. However, the controls are decent and the game is still fun as ever.
Story 7/10:A regular sci-fi story. A little boring and standard, but at least it gives you a reason to go through time and shoot stuff
Gameplay 10/10: There are so many different modes of play and things to do that you'll never get bored
Graphics 9/10: While they are a little cartoony they look excellent and actually very realistic at times
Sound 9/10: Great sound effects, voice acting, and music. However the music can get slightly annoying after a period of time
Replay Value 10/10 There is so much to do that you may never stop playing
Difficulty: Very hard
I'll wrap up this review by saying that Timesplitters 2 is an amazing and spectacular game and a must have for any Gamecube owner. If you like FPS games this is the game for you, and if you don't like them, buy this game and you probably will. TS2 is an marvelous game and one of the best I've ever played.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/27/04
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