Review by mike like

"The best thing since sliced bread/Goldeneye!"

Every now and again you'll get a game which is good, like Mario Sunshine for instance. You play it for weeks, maybe even months, getting more and more into it, until that fateful day when you realise you have all the Shines.. then you play it no more. This is not the way of TimeSplitters 2 (TS2) however. This game has enough to keep you playing for those months, plus that added extra that comes from a few special games *cough* Mario Kart/Goldeneye *cough*.

I'll be honest, I've read reviews of this game that tell you the story is weak, I've played through the entire game and although I've missed the odd cut-scene here and there, I've still got /no/ clue about the storyline and what it entails. But that doesn't really matter, I'd rather have no story and varied levels (as is the case here) than a solid story but similar levels. In TS2 EVERY SINGLE level is different from the last, no skimping here folks.

The single player mode in TS2 is split into ten levels over hundreds of years. Each level is unique, challenging (with three difficulty levels on each, adding more tasks each time) and fun. The game can be finished easily on the 'easy' setting, which I think is nice because it gives you the change to get an overview of the whole game and all the levels before you get stuck into the 'normal' and 'hard' difficulties. Think how it was the first time you played Goldeneye (and if you've not played it, get a second hand N64 and copy of the game and get cracking!) and take just a little bit of greatness from that, then you've got what it's like to play TS2 for the first time. It's not QUITE as good as Mr. Bond's outing, but it's as close as you'll get (at least until TS3). Oh and by the way, all the single player story levels can be played in co-op mode (split screen with a friend plugged into port 2), even included are various nifty bits built into the game where the two people can help each other out. For example in one of the latter levels one player can take control of a minigun mounted in the corner of the room whilst the other player enters the room and clears it from the ground, he can stay safe and provide some heavy artillery. It's great!

I won't go on about the graphics, they're perfect. The only minor quibble is the lack of real-time lighting which was seen in Perfect Dark, so you'd have thought it to be here, but no.

You see, so far, this on its own would be a pretty cool game.. but there's more! The multiplayer mode features several especially designed levels, up to four player spilt screen PLUS a healthy dosage of bots. You can tweak the settings to give an all out fast paced brawl, or a more slow and strategic approach. The modes include deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the bag, bag tag and a host of more bizarre ones. The much loved 'king of the hill' is nowhere to be found, instead 'zones' which is kind of the same, but not quite as good in my opinion. And of course you can change the weapons, time limits, bots and so on and so on, the multiplayer has customisation coming out of its eyeballs. You can even make your own maps, then duke it out with your mates on those. I've made an eighty five per-cent accurate version of Facility from Goldeneye. I think all the classic multiplayer levels from previous FPSers can me made to an extent. The map maker is a really cool feature and is very well thought out, however there is still room for more to be added here, then it could be truly mindblowing.

TS2 both looks (as I said before) and sounds great. All the guns work and explosions explode. The only strange thing is that there are no sounds for footsteps. It's not a bad thing, just something which kind of stood out.. call me picky! Oh, the controls too, you can change them so that they suit exactly how you want them. Mine are a kind of Goldeneye/Gamecube controller hybrid, but I've found that everyone likes their's a little differently now that dual analogue is all the rage. TS2 is kind enough to cater for all tastes and the controls are responsive and don't impede on gameplay one single bit.

It's quite obvious to tell that this game is from the same guys who brought us the best console FPS games; Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. There are various bits blatantly stolen from them, for example some of the infamous multiplayer awards. But that is a good thing. The game looks great, with a perfect frame rate (except on rare occasion in multiplayer, but it doesn't detract from the gameplay at all), great controls and well designed levels. The learning curve is just right making the easy, well.. easy and the hard setting darn difficult. There are also lots of small details in TS2 which make a lot of difference. I wont spoil any for you here, but the coolest one involves a pool table, say no more!

All in all this is a classic game, and a worthy addition to your collection. It's got great single player and great multiplayer and infinite lastability thanks to the whole host of options and the map maker too! There's no online facilities, but then, this is a Gamecube so what did you expect? The only thing that stops this game getting a perfect ten I suppose is the constraints within the type of game itself. There is always room for improvement, tweaking the enemy A.I. or adding more levels. TimeSplitters 3 will most likely be better than this (but it doesn't come out for a loooong time) and so to give TS2 a '10' we'd have no score for the sequel, do you see!

Anyway, buy this game right now. If you're torn between this and another game, get this one, it's better.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/04/03, Updated 01/04/03

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