Review by Version 2
"Better than Halo? Almost."
Timesplitters 2, the sequel to Free Radical's Timesplitters, is easily one of the best multiplayer games out. Of course, what did you expect from the guys behind Perfect Dark?
The graphics of Timesplitters 2 favor a cartoon-style look, executed with charisma. Each character has it's own little details and graphical perks, featuring bright, vibrant colors. Unfortunately, the textures aren't up to snuff. This is chastised by Timesplitters 2's large levels and environments, which range from futuristic battlegrounds to Chinese restaurants. Bells can be rang, windows broken, and computers destroyed. And, of course, fruit can be pulverized.
Each character has it's own sound effect, ranging from a grunt from being shot, and a shriek from being set ablaze. However, the game really shines in the music department. Blowing off the limbs of zombies in co-op, I died when my friend got tired of my relentless comments on the music. Each stage has it's own track, from the techno-savvy Tokyo to the Chapel's tranquil melody, the choir consisting of the death cry of the zombie you just decapitated.
First off, the controls are fully customizable. Want to shoot with the L3 and activate doors and locks with the directional buttons? No problem. Seeing as you can do so, it's a wonder why every game isn't like this. I can effortlessly go from mowing down gingerbread men to blowing their hides sky-high after ducking behind a table. The only reason the controls are hard is because you set them that way. Well, almost. The game sets your aim back to the center of the screen when you release pressure, which can be a chore when you're sniping from a distance.
Most people can agree that the first Timesplitters was lacking in the Story mode department. Luckily, Free Radical has set aside any worries concerning Timesplitters 2's. Most missions start off trying to get one of the Time Crystals, and expand from there. One such objective had you return power to another area, but in doing so you released the bloodthirsty prisoners. Everything operates at a smooth 60 fps (frames per second), with hardly any slowdown. However, some missions will leave you scratching your noggin. 'Help the Hunchback'? That's great, but where's the Hunchback? The Story mode's no Halo, but it's still fun, nonetheless.
Multiplayer is where the game really excels, with tons of unlockables and arenas. Up to 10 bots can compete against you and/or your friend, each with it's own advantage. Robots are almost impervious to fire, unlike the Snowmen, who redefine the word 'flammable'. Of course, you can turn off these little perks to put everybody on equal ground, but where's the fun in that? In addition to the innate abilities, there are three statistics for each character: Agility (speed), Endurance (defense), and Accuracy. Most of the time, many of the characters have the same statistics (the soldiers come to mind), so it's just a matter of picking them on how they look. Looks include robots of assorted sizes, chefs, soldiers, riot police, cyborgs, gingerbread men, snowmen, zombies, and so forth.
Multiplayer modes range from Capture the Bag, where you're to capture the other team's bag and return it to your base, to Leech, where you regain health by inflicting damage to other characters. You have your choice of Chilled, Normal, and Frantic multiplayer settings, which affects the overall speed of the battles. In addition to which, you can set your own weapons. Homing rockets, proximity mines, silenced pistols, sniper rifles, whatever. You want it? You got it.
The extras are unlocked through various tasks in Arcade mode and story mode. How well you do determines what you'll unlock. Bronze rewards you with nothing most of the time, Silver and Gold the most. On the rare occasions that you receive a Platinum reward, you can expect exceptionally nice prizes, not to mention bragging rights. Such extras include paintball mode, big heads, rotating heads, cardboard characters, and of course additional characters.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/13/02, Updated 10/13/02
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