Review by Majic 2002
"The Long Awaited Sequel...How Does it Hold Up?"
After having put so many hours into the first Timesplitters, I had extremely high hopes for the second in the series. After all the hype, all the great previews, and the long wait, I was very anxious to see how it would turn out. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. It seems as though everything has been improved upon and made even better. I bought this game the day it came out, and I'm still hooked all this time later. So, enough of the introduction! Let's get to the meat of the review!
This game truly shines in the graphics department. The environments are extremely detailed and diverse, ranging from Siberian military installations, to the cathedral at Notre Dame, and even the Wild West. And each of these areas recieved the same amount of care and attention, making each look unique and beautiful. Some of the stages are very large and open, while others are small and confined, but each feels exactly how you'd expect it to, and you get drawn into the environments.
The characters are also amazing to look at, but not because of their realism. The characters in this game are purposely cartoony looking, but their design is amazing. I've never seen such a wide and impressive scope of character design before. You've got psychotic clowns, ancient Aztec warriors, and even a giant circus bear! Each of the 126 characters is unique and interesting to look at (with the exception of a few pallette swapped military characters) and incredible detail was paid to the design of each.
But despite the amazing environments and interesting characters, what I was most impressed with were the weapons. The weapons in this game look AMAZING, I've never seen better looking weapons in ANY FPS, and it shows. Those that are modeled off of real weapons (Minigun, SBP90) look incredibly real and are very detailed, while those that are sci-fi or futuristic look amazing and unique as well, not just cheesy rip offs of old stuff. Once you see the weapons up on screen the first time, you'll see exactly what I mean...they're incredibly detailed. The functions of the weapons are amazing to behold also. Timed and Remote mines have a light that blinks and affects its environment in real time, the shot of the sci-fi handgun illuminates corridors in a pale purple as it ricochets around, and the falling shells of every projectile weapon look incredible. This game has some of the best looking graphics I've ever seen in a FPS, period.
The sound effects and music to the first one were much revered, so I had high hopes for those of the second. Unfortunately, I was *slightly* disappointed, but that's only because I'm too picky. Some of the sounds of bullets impacting certain surfaces seem to be gone, but the sounds that are there are still amazing. All of the gun sounds - the shots, the shells landing, the action of the gun - sound incredible, beyond any kind of linguistic description. And for a game that's aimed to be cartoony, the voice acting is actually pretty impressive. The voices usually match up with the facial movements pretty well, and they never sound ''Resident Evil'' cheesy. Some of the sound effects are just plain funny though, such as the 'moan' let out by some of the female characters when killed. The soundtrack is about what you'd expect, not too much over that of the first one. It's more ambience, but it is noticeable in some stages where it fits perfectly, such as Siberia. The music fits the game perfectly.
I'll have to admit here that the story is very weak, especially in comparison to those of Deus Ex or MOH:Frontline. However, you really shouldn't expect much of a story out of a FPS. Remember, the genre began with: ''You're in a Nazi prison. Find keys to escape.'' The story isn't really horrible, it's just not very good. And it's very patchy and doesn't flow well. It's a good concept that could have been developed better, but it's still fun to play through. The individual stories of each mission are pretty interesting, however cliche they may be. But the story mode is only a small part of the game, so for anyone to judge TS2 based only upon this would be foolish and unfair.
I'll come right out and say it, this is probably the best multiplayer FPS to date. The options, the variety, it all adds so much depth and replayability to this, that you (and your friends) will be at it until the next game comes out in however many years. The multiplayer has gotten some nice additions to it as well, namely some new modes. Among the most enjoyable are Assault and Zones (basically Unreal Tournament ripoffs, but very enjoyable rip offs). Other ''mini'' modes include flametag, team deathmatch, leech, and monkey assistant, where monkeys beam in to help out the loser. These all help to enhance what was already amazing. With the weapon, mode, character, and level variety, you'll be playing this game for a long time to come. What makes it great though, is that you don't need a friend to play. Just go against 10 bots and see how you fare. And to add even more depth, you have the mapmaker. The possibilities are endless.
The true jewel of this game lies in the gameplay. You have the core elements of a FPS, but there's so much more to it. Lighting people ablaze with the flame thrower is excellent. Electrocuting robots with the electrotool is great. Mowing down a herd of people with the minigun is so much fun. Although the 'story' itself lacks much of an actual story, it's still fun to play. The gameplay mode here resembles that of Goldeneye: Missions that are objective based. The objectives are pretty unique in some cases, and are actually a lot of fun. Then you have the whole multiplayer element thrown in which is so deep that I won't even get into much other than what I already mentioned. This game is truly incredible, a LOT of fun to play. Although it's still your 'standard' FPS, it's what they've done with it that makes this game so great. I think the mapmaker could have been expanded more, but the changes they made are very nice (such as making your own missions). Overall, all of the changes to the gameplay are for the better, and should make this game much more appealing to a wider audience.
REPLAY VALUE: 10/10
Amazing. The guys at Free Radical know how to hook an audience. Although you most likely won't go back to Story mode unless it's to beat it on Hard, you'll definitely come back for the near infinite possibilities of the acrade match. And the fact that you can make your own levels with the mapmaker, and even make missions with it, adds an infinite amount of things to do. And the huge amount of things to unlock in all of the modes (Story, Arcade, and Challenge) will keep you coming back until you have them all. The game keeps track of how much of it you've unlocked in a percentage form, so you'll know what to shoot for. And the hidden platinum trophies for some levels will keep the die-hard FPS fans coming back until they have them all, which is a true test of how good you are. One month after the release of the game, and I'm still just as hooked as when I bought it. If you truly want to unlock and complete every aspect of this game, it'll take at least a month for the best of players, longer for the average gamer. And that's not even taking into account the hours you'll kill with the mapmaker, heh...
THE VERDICT: 10/10
This game excels in every aspect. It's an incredible amount of fun, and has been improved in every area that the first was lacking. Although some parts could have been better, other parts of the game make up for the shortcomings. This is a game you'll be playing for a very long time to come. Go out and BUY it now if you have the money! You'll be very glad that you did.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/02/02, Updated 11/02/02
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