Review by Gruel
"Pretty good, but so flawed that I'm sticking with Perfect Dark"
This first person shooter game has been building some heavy hype recently. Mostly because the publisher, Eidos, and developer, Free Radical, have been claiming that former Rare employees who worked on the award winning First Person Shooter, Goldeneye 007, are now working on this game. I saw other publications gave this game high scores as well, like Next Generation magazine giving it a perfect 5 stars. So will this game live up to all the hype surrounding it? Let's get onto the review and find out.
Well, you're stuck traveling in time, trying to kills some bad guy so you don't alter the history of the events over time, hence the game's name Timesplitters, and save the world from destruction. Simple story, nothing special, but then again most first person shooter's have weak storylines, with the only exception off the top of my head being Goldeneye 007.
Well, I have to admit, this game has some pretty great visuals. The arenas and environments look great, and super realistic. The multi player arenas look just as better with several different textures to choose from like virtual (plain white), or even gothic, where your level looks like a big church. Just about everything is detailed down to every notch, and the tiniest details are easily noticed, like wacky 70's costumes of most of the characters. I was really expecting some slowdown when playing the game in multi player mode with 2 players and 10 ''bots''(computer players), like the kind I was use to with 2 players and 8 simulants in Perfect Dark multi player, but surprisingly there was no slowdown at all, even with 4 players and 10 bots, there was no slowdown visible at all. The game's level editor is nicely laid out in a green grid, pseudo, 3D type format. And it's really easy to use, although tricky at first, but you'll easily get use to managing it after an hour or so. Each gun has it's own distinctive design, which is neat, but some look like altered ripoffs off other games, for example the game's ''mini-gun'' looks like Goldeneye's Grenade Launcher.
Of course, with no slowdown at all, there had to be some sacrifices to make the game run at a smooth rate, once in multi player with loads of bots, you'll notice right off the bat that the levels look really jaggy and it does get distracting at times. Also all names of the guns and player descriptions are kept to a bare minimum during game play. Also, after staring at the game's character select screen for over an hour, you'll notice that just about all of the game's characters are horribly thin for some odd reason. Also the bigger created level's you use for multi player, the longer it takes to load, for example, a level my friend made that just about took up all the allowable space in the level editor, took about a whole minute and a half to load. Another odd thing in the game is that there is no opening movie describing the game's story that is usually found in most other first person shooter's. Oh, and where's the gore? I didn't even see a tiny drop or stain of blood in the game, hence the Teen rating. And the only other down point about the visuals is that the game's menus aren't as easy to navigate and use like Perfect Dark.
Well, the game has a lot of neat background tunes during game play. Most of them sound like gloomy, mystic tunes you'd hear off some Cheap, B-Rated horror movie. But I guess they fit the game's theme well, and you usually never hear it during the game play over all the gunfire and everything. The sound effects are appropriate, each gun has its own separate sound effect. All the explosions and gunfire sounds like they usually do, and there really is nothing much to complain about in the sound department.
Well, I guess Free Radical wanted to start its own style of controlling for first person shooters like others did, (Like the infamous ''Turok-Style'' controls that Turok innovated on the N64 by moving with the C buttons, and the ''Goldeneye-style'' innovated by Goldeneye by moving with the control stick. But did Eidos include these 2 famous control style's as the game's default? Nope. Instead they opted to use one of the PS2's analog sticks to move, and the other to look, with one of the shoulder buttons used to fire and aim. Resulting in a very confusing, tricky experience which would seem impossible to adapt to. Heck, the game also had a couple other different control scheme's to pick from, and Goldeneye's wasn't even in there. And the game's customizable control screen was so hard to understand, that it took me a whole half hour to get the scheme down for me.
The one player mode plays out a lot like the other recent first person shooter's, where you complete certain objective in order to complete the level, but I found most of these levels rather simple to complete, and not that much of a challenge, and nowhere as much fun as I had playing Perfect Dark's solo missions. The multi player mode is what I had the most fun playing, choose from a variety of characters, and play in several different game modes against up to 4 human players with up to ten computer controlled, bots. The action, is fast, fun, and furious, and even up to par on the fun PC multi player death matches of Quake 3, Delta Force, and Unreal in my opinion. The game runs really fast, no matter how many guys are playing, and you'll be blowing up stuff in a matter of minutes. Heck, I played a 100 team score limit game against 4 teams of bots, and me and my friend won the match in 11 minutes! The multi player saves all your stats (and control schemes too, thankfully). And it borrows a page out of Rare's book by including all the awards after the game. A couple of different things from the multi player experience from Rare's games are that you'll notice that the heads actually fly off your opponents when you shoot them in the head. Also the computer players tend to have a lot more life also. Timesplitters also has a new ''give-take'' point tracking feature, where you gain a point for every kill, and lose one, every time you die. Making death matches last more longer than you can imagine if you don't set a time limit. Unfortunately, you can't create characters, or even name characters or players for that matter.
The game's level editor is a big plus in the game. And just like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Level Editor, it's a free course in game designing. You'll just be spending hours making a level unto it pleases you. But the bigger you make the level, the more memory it takes, (like say, near a whole meg on your memory card if you max out the space available in the level editor. The multi player can be compatible with up to 4 players, and it is a blast to play, just a tad notch more fun than Perfect Dark because of the fast frame rate. But if you're looking for a strong single player game, you should probably not even look into this title for the matter.
+: Super fast frame rate that remains constant during the most unimaginable moments, great multi player action, level editor is innovative and by far the best I've seen!
-: Awfully jaggy in multi player, no gore, the worst default control scheme I ever witnessed, can't edit player or team names, Weak Single Player
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 7.0
Replay Value: 7.7
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 7
Timesplitters has both major ups and downs going for it, all mentioned in the In Brief section of this review. But I think the minuses outweigh the pluses here barely. If you just love multi player madness or just got to have a first person shooter on the PS2(avoid the non-online Unreal PS2 version), then you should buy this game. Otherwise, stick with Perfect Dark and Goldeneye 007 for your home console first person shooters, or at least just give this title a rent. I'd wait for the expected sequel though, we all know how Eidos is with sequels(Like about 3 Tomb Raider games a year), which I think will be really polished off.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/00, Updated 11/30/00
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