Review by The President

Reviewed: 07/02/04

Fun, but flawed.

Free Radical is a game company made up of ex-Rare employees (as in Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark, that Rare.) So, they know how to make a good First Person Shooter. Timesplitters 2 is their latest offering, and it is also their best. Not only does TS2 offer up hours of enjoyment in the single player game, there is just as much stuff to do in multiplayer. No game out today can compare to what Timesplitters 2 brings to the table in sheer replay ability.

TS2’s story is pretty slim, and not connected very well. Each part of the Story mode takes place in a different time period (ranging from 1920’s Chicago, The far Future, or modern times.) Each person is trying to stop the Timesplitters (an evil race/thing) from taking over the world. Simple.

However, nothing about the gameplay in TS2 can be called simple. In the single player modes, you can play the normal story mode, which is based off an objective system (like the original Goldeneye.) Depending on which difficulties you play on, more objectives need to be completed before a level is finished. Also, there are hidden objectives through each level. Depending on which level of difficulty you play under, the Story mode will take you only a few hours of your time. The real meat of single player comes from the Arcade and Challenge mode. In the Arcade League, you need to overcome challenges to unlock new weapons and characters, under a few of TS2’s game modes, like getting a certain amount of points in Capture the Bag. Depending on what medal you achieve (Bronze Silver, Gold, or Platinum) more things become unlocked to you. There are three different leagues, all becoming increasingly difficult, so it takes a long while to get all gold or platinum. Challenge mode has some of the strangest challenges seen in any game. Imagine a monkey running around Aztec ruins looking for bananas, while zombies try and kill him. And you need to collect all of them in thirty seconds. With each thing completed, new weapons, game modes, levels, or characters are opened up, giving you more things to do in Arcade Custom mode. Custom is where you can go against game controlled bots in Deathmatch mayhem. Or in Vampire mode, where all the damage done to your opponents to go you. Or Virus mode, where you person starts out infected, and the game doe not stop until there is only one person left. TS2 has some of the best game modes to play for First Person Shooters. Most of the modes feel new and fresh, so they are very enjoyable. But, there is one big problem, and that is with the aiming. Compared to a keyboard and mouse, TS2 feels sluggish.

One bad thing about Timesplitters 2 is how the game looks. You can tell that Free Radical was trying to go with a non-realistic look for the game. This is both a blessing and curse. It is a blessing because Free Radical knows when to take itself seriously, and when you have Ducks and Gingerbread men running around, the game should not be realistic. However, some times, the game just looks dreadful, because each character looks like a piece of putty molded together, like the British cartoon Wallace and Gromit. Scars or lines on a person’s face make the person (or animal) look like a mess. Every person is animated in the game moves exactly the same way, and that way does not look like a real person. And though there are 100+ characters in the game, about 1/5th of those are duplicates, with just a change in color uniform.
The environments in TS2 also look below average, with each level made up of (what seems like) one color. While the game has a light-hearted feel (with the cute monkeys running around and all) all the colors look dull and washed out. However, TS2 stays at a crisp sixty Frames Per Second, so while it may look ugly, also will not slow down…while being ugly.

Timesplitters 2 has a great music selection, however, the tracks are limited. Depending on what level you play in Story mode, you get music that suits that theme, from music out of the old west, to Native American tribal music. In Custom, you can choose whatever music you want, so you can play your favorite on a map not well suited for it. Which takes away the whole person for having themed music. Oh well.
While the music is all right, the sound effects could use some fine-tuning. It seems that many of the gun sounds were first used in the original Goldeneye. Also, without the addition of 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound (which is quickly becoming a standard for videogame sound) TS2’s sound could of have been much better.

Replay value is through the roof with Timesplitters 2, with so many different modes for you to play (with friends or against bots.) Collecting medals is a fun challenge, and there is also the ingenious Create-a-Map mode, where you create your own map down to how many ammo supply stations there are. There is also a beginner and standard mode for Map-making, so even some who first picks up the game can get into it. You can also save all of the maps, so you can transport them via memory card/unit to a friend’s house. Endless hours can be spent playing against friends in split screen four player combat (no online play, but that does not downgrade it at all.) TS2 was made to be played with a friend. Even the single player mode can be played with a friend. Included with all the mini-games found inside the game (around the single player levels) Timesplitters 2 has over fifty hours of entertainment.

While TS2 does have some of the best gameplay modes to be seen this generation of consoles, a true quality game need to be quality in every aspect, graphics and sound included. Because TS2 only exceeds in half of what makes a good game (depending on how you put it. It’s the little extras that make the games. While replay value and gameplay mean the most, everything counts.) Certainly, Timesplitters 2 is the best multi-platform FPS to come out for the consoles, but it still can be improved greatly.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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