Review by gamefreak99

"Will Have You Coming Back Time and Time Again!"

As the first person shooter genre rapidly expands, developers are bringing more and more FPS titles to the consoles. While this can be a bit frustrating to the PC gamer, it also gives us a chance to experience many new and exciting games. Timesplitters 2, from Free Radical Designs, promises to be the best thing since sliced bread (well, Goldeneye 64 at least) in the FPS console genre. Does it deliver? Does UPS deliver? Ohhhh yes.

In the future, things called Timesplitters (I wonder where they got the game's title from...) travel back in time to gather crystals, presumably to destroy or enslave the human race. Once the crystals are detected, it is your job to enter a large portal on your spaceship and get the crystals before the Timesplitters do. These portals lead to several different eras, each with its own unique theme. There's a wild western time, a 60's-70's spy type deal (think of the older James Bonds or Austin Powers), a Chicago-themed gangster level, a 20's expedition to a rainforest, a futuristic rendition of Tokyo (thus dubbed Neotokyo) and much more. Each gives your character and the NPC's an outfit that you would expect to see should you venture back in time. The levels can be kind of big with different styles of play needed in each. In some of the ''older'' levels you must be cautious since you can't run and gun, spraying bullets left and right (no machine guns yet remember?). In the Tokyo level you must follow a girl to a hideout without being detected by her or security cameras, aided only by a radar type map (an actual ''weapon'', not just a little radar on the bottom of your screen).

Some levels are a bit confusing and seem to drag out towards the end. Many times the levels are so big that being in the wrong place can have you backtracking throughout the entire level looking for what needs to be done. This is especially troublesome in the higher difficulty levels which have you seeking more, and sometimes more obscure objectives. At the end of the day you don’t really notice this as there are enough enemies and fun things to be done that the bad parts are simply forgotten. Almost every level also has a fun boss-type encounter at the end, pitting you against a monster, criminal, mob-lord type guy or even a Timesplitter or several futuristic monsters. This can prove challenging, in a good way, in older levels where all you have is a pistol or even a bow and arrow!

The guns in each level are well designed, many having interesting alternate fires that also add a bit more strategy. All the levels in the story mode are nicely done and can offer as much (or as little) difficulty as you want. One of the best parts of this is the coop feature. I personally love running through this game with a buddy (only two people can play coop) and it adds another interesting and fun element to the story.

Another cool aspect of this game is its nice little minigames. Minigames in an FPS? No, I'm not whack (and neither are the developers). These games have you trying to accomplish different tasks, killing as many zombies as you can before they kill you, breaking as many glass windows as you can with a projectile brick, you even have to chase around several squid as a Chinese cook, frying them with a flamethrower. Needles to say most contain a good sense of humor. Depending on how well you did you get a certain rank which translates into new levels and characters available in multiplayer. While it may be easy to obtain a bronze trophy on the earlier ones, you’ll be struggling to grab the gold in the latter ones. Overall, these don’t seem too frustrating but could easily become so. Unless you’ve already done everything else, and boy is there a lot “else” here, there should be a lot you can go back to before trying that hard one again. Multiplayer is like pretty much any console FPS' multiplayer, select a level, characters, bots, objectives, and weapons and then... win! You can have teams and the objectives are standard. One I liked was grab the bag which is like capture the flag but when you have the bag you can’t be dual wielding those machines guns, making you a bit of an easier target for the other players. The bots can be tweaked to be easy or really hard and you can play with one to four human players. The only element lacking here is online play which would have been a nice feature.

While this game is on the Playstation 2, a console noted for graphics lacking behind both that of the Xbox and Gamecube, the graphics look nice and do what they need to do. While this is no Halo, the graphics and animations are crisp with no jagged edges or slowdown. The weapons look good and realistic (for their time periods at least) and the shooting animations are well done, especially for the more futuristic guns.

Being more of a PC gamer, I thought I would have trouble playing this on the PS2; the only other console FPS’ I had player were Goldeneye and Perfect Dark for the N64. Well, I picked up this game and can easily say the controls feel natural; shoulder buttons to shoot, one analog to move and the other to look (which can be weird at first but is easy to get used to), and the face buttons to interact, reload, and such. If you don't especially like the controls, they feature a couple of preset configurations with the option to customize them as you see fit. If the controls don't match the good old keyboard and mouse, they must be the next best thing.

Overall this game is superb, a great concept and story mode (with coop mind you), multiplayer that will have you dueling with pistols or running and gunning with futuristic machine guns, well designed graphics, animations, and controls, and most importantly, tons of minigames and unlockables. This game is perfect for those who have a good sense of humor (flaming monkeys anyone?) and like more playtime, variance, and story than the normal low-story, high-action run and gun FPS offers.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/01/04


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