Review by mootootwo
"Lock and Load"
Please tell me you've heard of this game before?
Timesplitters was one of, if not the best, launch title when Playstation 2 made it's debut in the US. SSX and Madden being it's only competition, the best could be determined just by genre preference. Now, almost a year and a half later, the PS2 has received many more quality games to undermine Timesplitters excellence. Fortunately, the game, even after 14 months, this game still remains a pinnacle of the PS2 game lineup. Be prepared...
First Person Shooter, Runner, and Item Collector
Timesplitters is a first person shooter with very little story (a common occurrence in console FPSes). In the game, there is nothing to tell you who or what is happening, and you must read the manual (or case) to find out what's happening. Basically, some alien race called the Timesplitters can leap through time and are trying to destroy the human race. You are trying to stop them. You will go through many different time periods in an attempt to stop them and that is the basis of the game. Each level you play is from a different time ranging from the early 1900s to far into the new millennium. It's really just an excuse to have a whole bunch of different levels with different enemies, without having any continuity between them.
-My chef never has a shotgun...
The gameplay is exceedingly simple. Run, shoot, grab item, run back, shoot, get to the goal. Each level has you retrieving an item that you must bring back to a little circle to beat the mission. The items vary from level to level, and are located in usually difficult to find and get to spots. To hinder you in reaching the item, there are enemies galore who will try and stop you. Each enemy is relevant to the time period and level, so you will be seeing mummies in the ''Tomb'', and chefs in ''Chinese''. They are armed too, so you have to worry about getting shot, which is quite a common occurance. To make matters even worse, once you recover the item and head back to the goal, the Timesplitters split time and appear out of nowhere to make mincemeat out of you. It's all very very hard and very very cool. Each level can be played on Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties, each unlocking you something different when you beat it. The levels change too. As the difficulties get harder, so does finding the item, and so do the enemies. When they say hard, they mean HARD. There are tons of enemies (all with impeccable aim) and the item is very far away from your starting position. Normal mode even poses a great challenge, and easy isn't necessarily ''easy''. Be good enough and you'll unlock tons of different things. Playable characters and bots, new levels....even a ''Challenge'' mode that is similar to the Crazy Box in Crazy Taxi. Beat certain challenges to unlock goodies and new challenges. There's a lot to do, and it's all quite challenging, so expect this game to keep you occupied for some time.
-Call your friends over...if you don't have friends, make some, then call them over...
But all that is just the solo mode. The multiplayer game is a whole new burrito. It contains every solo level, plus special multiplayer maps as well for up to four players. You can customize everything but the kitchen sink and play several different modes (from Deathmatch, to Bag Tag, to Capture the Bag, to Escort, to...). Even a two player cooperative story is available. The multiplayer mode is where the real fun of Timesplitters comes in. Remember how you would pull an all-nighter with your friends and spend the duration of it shooting each other in Goldeneye? Prepare to do it all again. This takes the same great fun from the previously mentioned shooter and gives it so much more. Fun fun fun fun FUN. It never gets boring, and it contains one key element that Goldeneye was lacking. Speed. ''Some gots it, and some don't gots it, but this game gots it''. It's not a rare occurrence to die twice or three times in ten seconds. In levels like Tomb that are so close together, you will have 10 people all shooting at each other all at once. The gameplay itself is fast, and so are the kills. A game to 100 kills takes almost less than five minutes, and the deaths are very fast. It makes any other FPS seem to move at a snail's pace, and makes Timesplitters seem turbo-charged. It needs to be played to be believed, and once you pick it up, you can't put it back down.
-I shall call it, ummm, I dunno, what's a good name suggestion?
Just in case you get bored with the levels that they give you (fat chance), also included is an easy to use, yet surprisingly deep level editor. There are many different ''Tiles'' that you can place on the grid. Each tile is something different, and they can be hooked together to make whatever level you want. You can make it multi-level, expansive, cramped, whatever you please. You can also change the look and feel of the level by changing the theme. You can control the light in each room and have it on, off, blinking, pulsing, certain colors, etc. Then, in each room you can place items and spawn points in whatever fashion you please. Customization is the name of the game. You can then name your level and even write a description. New levels are but a few tiles away. If you can't seem to make your own, they also include sample maps that you can play and edit. There's nothing lacking in this department...
I so wish I had a mouse right now...
Timesplitters also includes the much disputed control scheme that has the analog sticks mimicking the mouse and keyboard setup of other FPSes. The left analog stick moves and strafes, while the right aims. It takes a while to get used to and in all actuality, works quite well. Once you get used to it, you'll shoot with the best of them, but I can't help thinking how much better this would be with the mouse/keyboard setup. Vertical aiming is tough with the controls, and being accurate is hard. The game makes up for this with a small built-in auto-aim, but you'll still miss more shots than you should. The controls, while adequate with the controller, aren't as good as the m/k setup.
The graphics are great in this game. I mean literally, there is absolutely nothing to complain about. The whole game is fast and the framerate never stutters. The levels are detailed, and the textures look great. Lighting affects the way your weapon and the surroundings look. It's all very cool. Glass shatters differently depending on where you shoot it, and enemies react differently to different wounds. Great graphics, and that's final.
I always found ''sound'' the hardest part to review, because even if it's bad, you can always turn it down
The sound in Timesplitters is simply filler. Ambient music and gunshots fill the background, and you never really notice that they're there. You'll hear tons of shots fired but you never pay any special attention and they just end up as white noise. Nothing special. Nothing terrible.
FPS to the maxx!!!
Timesplitters really is a great game. It's one player mode will keep you busy for hours, while the multiplayer mode will keep you entertained for months to come. The faults are minor. Loading times are disastrous (keep a book handy, or something). Control is lacking in accuracy and could've been so much better if the PS2 had a mouse/keyboard setup. Also, it is quite difficult and you may find yourself unable to complete the game. Otherwise, every other aspect is great. You owe it to yourself to get this game, and then go share it with your friends. This is what FPSes are all about.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/02, Updated 01/02/02
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