Review by Garbol Shora

"Albeit my dysfunctional eyes, atleast I'll be able to know how fun an FPS can be... even if it's only for 30 minutes at a time!"

I’m not a true fan of FPS. In fact, I dislike the majority of it. I never liked Half-Life, although my friends said otherwise. The similar Counterstrike didn’t appeal to me, nor did any of the Tom Clancy games. Why was this? Mainly because whenever I played an FPS, the view would make me nauseated, sick and queasy. I was truly the only person that felt this way. I managed to stomach my pain while playing through Clive Barker’s Undying, a riveting game with little recognition. After that, I didn’t think I could stomach an FPS anymore. But in came Timesplitters 2, a game with an intense multiplayer option that would keep me going for days. Granted my nauseating seasick feel still arose while playing Timesplitters 2, I managed to play Timesplitters 2 the longest before I actually got overly dizzy and vomited.

”This game will keep you going for ages (if you don’t have dizzy issues like me)...”

Yes, my vomiting is not a very pretty picture, and I’m probably one of the only people who get seizures when playing these types of games, but Timesplitters 2 is an immensely fun experience. Granted my problem disables me from truly enjoying this game, I still managed to have some incredible fun with it, especially with friends. I don’t know much about Timesplitters, but I do know that the second one managed to input a storyline. While this storyline isn’t meant to be grand or breathtaking, it suits the purpose of this game – FPS in different time locations. Timesplitters 2 is taken place on a futuristic setting, and incorporates time travel to their game. Aliens (they have a name) have taken over time crystals that are essential to prevent a breach in time, and Sgt. Cortez takes off with his partner, Corp Hart to stop them. However, they end up being too late, and it is up to Cortez to retrieve the crystals by entering the time portals. This takes your cue into a world of vast and original areas.

The locations in this game are vivid and truly a fun experience (albeit my dizziness) and I managed to take some great fun in running through a simulated world of Chicago, Siberia, even the Aztecs. This was a fun experience even on easy. While I used to hate FPS’ due to the fact I couldn’t aim properly, I really liked the controls in Timesplitters 2. One will use the analog sticks to aim at a person while holding the R1 button and shoot with the R2 button. You can change the settings if desired, but I kept to this control, and this made aiming and shooting a fluid, smooth and easy experience.

Timesplitters 2 was surprisingly coherent to the time setting, incorporating guns that would have been available at that period. I am rather new to weaponry, but I felt that Timesplitters 2 had a diverse assortment of futuristic and realistic weaponry, ranging from the cumbersome but powerful shotgun, to the strange charge-up laser, to the handy silenced pistol. With these weapons, one shoots enemies (preferably on the head) and completes objectives mainly involving a fetch, destroy or infiltrate mission. Objectives conveniently report automatically that one has completed the objective once it is completed. Mind you, to complete these objectives, one will have to destroy cameras in espionage missions and try to be stealthy and unseen. This is the basic outline of the story mode, and makes for a basic free-roaming FPS. But the story mode is not the true experience to Timesplitters 2 – it is the mini-games.

Arcades and multiplayer games are the bulk of Timesplitters 2, and make for everlasting replay. With the choice of playing hundreds of characters, one will be unlocking characters for months! These characters, along with other bits and extras are unlocked by playing through the arcade modes. The arcade modes range from the basic most-kills games to the tag-type games to the deeper mission-based games. For example, one arcade game is essentially a tag game that has you running away from one character on fire. Whomever that character touches will also be set on fire, until one character is left. This makes for some really silly and fun games that are far more satirical than the story-based mode. There are a plethora of arcade games to unlock, and one will be offered prizes in accordance to the trophy you receive (platinum, gold, silver, bronze, nothing). Obviously platinum will have you offered the complete prize of everything that particular game has to offer while bronze will be less generous.

By unlocking numerous arcade games, one receives newer modes, including capture the bag and virus. These games end up being extraordinarily addictive games with four people, especially the team-based games. If you have a good friend or friends to keep you company, you’ll be having amazing fun tracking down enemies, or your friends themselves! What makes this game so fun is the diverse amount of customization and the ability to choose from an extremely large assortment of characters. If lengthier, more constructive games are your cup of tea, you’ll be obsessed with the mapmaker mode, an editing mode with a simple and understandable interface. You’ll be able to create multiple floors, light types, objectives, missions and plenty more with this simple mapmaker mode. While it takes up a hefty chunk of your memory card, it provides one of the most engaging ways to create for the more creative minds. This game will keep you going for ages (if you don’t have dizzy issues like me).

”The audio presentation works extremely well with the visual presentation...”

The visual presentation is stylish and has a very cartoon appeal to it. The characters are very detailed and all have costumes in accordance to the timeframe they play in. For example, Jake Fenton is a detective in Chicago, with a long face and a Sherlock look to him, quite suitable for his investigator-look. Violet is by far one of my favorite characters, taken in the Hunchback of Notre Dame theme, she’s a young woman in a sexy joker costume with a scream to die for. The characters are gorgeous and I love how the creative style that makes TImesplitters 2 very animated. The backgrounds are something that people should be looking forward to, as they have a large assortment of colors in dependence to the theme. For example, the Aztec ruins are exotic, jungle-like and looks truly like something out of a Tarzan film using vibrant greens to offer that particular type of environment. Scenes like Notre Dame are darker, more somber and feature a very artistic and structured design to them, such as what a church would be. Futuristic settings end up being completely gorgeous with UFOs blasting rays from all sides, sunny beach-like visuals with aliens crawling up to you. Speaking of aliens, the monsters and enemies in accordance to that timeframe are done remarkably well also. We have mafia men in Chicago, militarized soldiers in Siberia, zombies in Notre Dame and monkeys in the Aztecs. It makes for some really remarkable visuals and I can’t help but say I like Timesplitters 2 and its creative cartoon-like appeal.

The audio presentation works extremely well with the visual presentation, utilizing fun and fast-paced themes for the futuristic settings and ominous church themes for Notre Dame. But what make the audio presentation so amazing is... pretty much the small things (when one is closing their eyes from dizziness, one notices these kinds of things!). Sound effects are crisp and emphasized well like when one pops the head off of a zombie, or the plain shooting of a silenced pistol. What Timesplitters 2 does well is making these sounds clear and most often silly, such as the overly dramatic screams of Viola when she’s on fire. The music is surprisingly done well, especially the Siberia theme, which crescendos often into a loud climatic tune and then falling back into its calm and espionage-like theme. Techno beats are ridden inside the futuristic alien settings while NeoTokyo plays something of a more serious and edgy, but rhythmically competent theme. Timesplitters 2 overall has a fun soundtrack and often knows what to use to fit the theme and make it suitable to match the humorous visual presentation and the end product shows through.

Granted I will never be able to enjoy these games with my dysfunctional eyes, but atleast I’ll be able to know how fun an FPS can be... even if it’s only for 30 minutes at a time!

I was shocked with Timesplitters 2. I personally decided to try for Medal of Honor: Frontline in hopes of not being disappointed with another shooter, but after being introduced and literally forced to buy Timesplitters 2, I was afraid that I might’ve made the wrong decision and gone into my anti-FPS feeling again. Granted I still don’t like the shooters due to my discomfort when playing them, but Timesplitters 2 is a truly riveting experience and while I may only be able to play this game for 30 minutes at a time, I still truly enjoyed the modes, the multiplayer and the endless offerings that this game offers to you. While I may not be the best shooter with a shooting accuracy of 25%, I still know when I experience a good quality fun game and many things Timesplitters 2 does is done right. I don’t fall to the majority of hype when it comes to first person shooters considering I most often hate them, but Timesplitters 2 is truly a fast-paced game with simple controls, endless unlocking potential, interesting visuals and a soundtrack that is as varied as the game itself. Dare I say that I may have to reconsider my skeptic attitude to FPS after playing Timesplitters 2. Granted I will never be able to enjoy these games with my dysfunctional eyes, but atleast I’ll be able to know how fun an FPS can be... even if it’s only for 30 minutes at a time!

Gameplay Elements: 9 - Modes, mapmaker and plenty of replay and multiplayer options make this game an all-around exciting party game and an engaging single player experience.
Visual Presentation: 9 - A very interesting and cartoon-like style along with an excellent execution of it.
Audio Presentation: 9 - It does an excellent job of a varied soundtrack and deserves more mention because of its large variety of themes.
Additional Add-ons: 10 - With an endless amount of characters to unlock, things will be added on all too often.
Score Bias: 8 - Problematic eyes fail me from enjoying this game for any longer than a half hour, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.


Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/11/03, Updated 02/11/03

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