Review by Cold NRG

"The smash-hit sequel is here. TS2 is great"

By now most people know who the Free Radicals are. They're not a faction in the WWE, that's for sure. They are a game design group made up of ex-Rare employees -- ones who worked on GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 to be specific. That's right, and for those who didn't know, know now.

In late 2000 TimeSplitters for the PlayStation 2, published by Eidos, was released and was an instant smash hit. It was a great game that lacked the polish to make it an outstanding gem. It wasn't a bad game by any means, it just needed a bit of tweaking and polishing... and a true single-player mode. Enter TimeSplitters 2.

Boasting of seemingly smoother graphics, TS2 is no let down in the visual department. Huge environments to small facilities, there's bound to be a level that suits your graphical likes. One thing you'll notice right off the bat that when you're playing is that TS2 looks a lot like a sweeter-looking version of GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64. It has the GE-esque look and feel. On top of that the menus are perfect. Kudos goes to Free Radicals for not screwing something up that even the best companies tend to do. Good-looking, fast loading menus are crucial in a game with so much customization.

Who would have ever thought that those rascals could make a soundtrack with tunes as memorable as the ones from Super Marios Bros or GoldenEye? Well, maybe not as catchy as the Mario tunes (I lied ;-)) but hey this is a FPS! The tracks are pretty good. What's cool about is that there is a different track every individual map, custom level, and the menus. Meaning that when you go into a western-theme level you will get a track that has a western vibe to it. There are a total of 40 tracks to be heard in all. That's not bad at all.

I admit, most first-person-shooters on the PS2 have not-so-great controls due to the nature of the Dual Shock's design. I am in no way implying that the DS/DS2 is a bad controller. It's just that, at times, it doesn't feel ideal for the FPS genre of videogames. Well, throw that out the window, because TS2 eliminates that. Every move or action is spot-on and can be performed without a hitch. Every movement on the controller results in a perfectly synced action of your character. There is no lag or sluggishness. And what's better is that the default control setup is great. But if you don't like it you can change it to suite your needs.

On the reverse side, I don't like the aiming sensitivity - it's too sensitive. It's sometimes tedious when aiming at an enemy - wasting time and even ammo. This is one thing that needs to be fixed because you can't decrease/increase the analog sensitivity, which sucks big time.

Gameplay features include 10 long story levels, 16 arcade (multiplayer) levels, over 100 arcade characters to choose from, tons of weapons from different time periods, and a virtually unlimited amount of arcade gameplay scenarios.

Singleplayer is quite fun the first time through and its nice going through it on the different difficulty settings. And this time around you have a true singleplayer mode. Why, because there's a story this time around. The Time Crystals were captured by the TimeSplitters and now you have to go through time (as different characters) and retrieve them.

The online play was taken out of TS2 due to issues with Eidos' internet strategy (not quite clear), but that doesn't stop TS2 from being an all-out, companion-whooping fragfest. If you're thinking that TS2 looks any different (worse) in arcade mode or that there's a cut in frame rate... STOP! There is no loss in graphic quality or frame rate. You can have up to 16 players playing at once via an iLink LAN setup. If you don't have any chaps/lads/buds to play with, drop a few bots and make them pay for your solitude.

Replay Value
TS2 has the most replay value of any game of its kind. It really does. There's so much to unlock you will be playing weeks-and-weeks prior to beating the story mode, because most of the characters, arcade games, weapons, and levels are unlocked by earning medals in the arcade and challenge modes.

TimeSplitters 2 is one of the deepest first-person shooters ever created. The features, modes, and list of stuff to unlock is staggering. This is what make TS2 stand out from the crowd. That alone should spark some interest in you. If you have ever even thought about playing a FPS, odds are you'll enjoy this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/31/02, Updated 03/01/04

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