TimeSplitters 2 ReviewCain Dornan
The original TimeSplitters, released solely for the Playstation 2, featured a solid multiplayer mode but a weak single player mode. Since then, Free Radical has listened to the comments and criticism that was made by gamers. Free Radical than went into development of its sequel, hoping to create a solid game in both single player and multiplayer aspects. The end result is TimeSplitters 2. Although the single player mode may not be of equal standards seen in Perfect Dark, Goldeneye or Halo, the multiplayer is easily the best in the first person shooter genre.
In the year 2401, the human race is under threat by an evil alien race, called TimeSplitters. In a last hope for survival, you are sent to a space station, where you are able to travel through time easily. Your mission is to rid the world of the TimeSplitters, and to retrieve the nine time crystals. You will travel throughout several different time eras - from an old, western era in 1853 to a robot factory in 2315. In each time era, you play as a different character, according to the time you are in. Although all areas are connected through a time travel machine, the storyline doesnt appear to fit together appropriately. There are cut-scenes in-between levels, however they never link the previous level to the actual level you are about to play.
Due to some team members of Free Radical being ex-team members of the development team at Rare who made GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64, you will notice some similarities in levels and weapons that are available. The first level, in fact, is based on a large dam in Russia, however, this time around the mission directs you into the dam, where you complete further missions. Some mission objectives will also sound familiar to what we saw in GolenEye, such as using mines to destroy a satellite.
The single player mission mode, whilst unique and enjoyable at times, is too short, and can be completed rather quickly. GolenEye featured an extremely large single player mode, with possibly the largest amount of single player missions available on any first person shooter for consoles. Although TimeSplitters 2 does not feature a large single player mode as GolenEye featured, TimeSplitters 2 features over four times more multiplayer modes, options and unlockables than the GoldenEye classic contained. There is, however, the single player Arcade League that pits gamers at a large number of multiplayer-esque levels requiring you to do everything from a simple deathmatch mode to a mission like level. You are than rewarded a trophy depending upon how well you preform.
There is also the Challenge mode, which requires players to perform a variety of weird and wacky tasks, such as smashing windows with a brick to shooting monkeys out of the sky clay-target like. Each level is unique and enjoyable, and will provide a challenge for most gamers.
Completing levels in both the Arcade League and Challenge modes will unlock special goodies for the multiplayer modes. This can range from a new character, a new level or a new mode. There is an extremely large number of unlockables, with only the most determined gamer will actually unlock all the unlockables available.
Each level in the single player mode is dramatically different than any other missions available, largely due to the different time zones that you are in. You will use different weapons, compete against different enemies and complete different missions, making the whole experience feel authentic. As you progress through the nine missions in the single player mode, the game becomes harder regardless of which difficulty setting you have it set to. This keeps the gameplay interesting, and adds some more time to the overall lifespan of TimeSplitters 2.
Although the single player mode is commendable, the multiplayer mode is where you will spend most of your gameplay with this game. The multiplayer mode features enough modes, levels, characters and options to keep you playing for months on end. TimeSplitters 2 even features more options than what the masterpiece Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64 contained. The multiplayer mode is split into two main sections the co-operation mode, which allows two gamers to go through the single player missions together, and the Arcade mode, which consists of everything from deathmatch to the ever-enjoyable and unique flame tag.
The missions, levels and difficulty in the co-op mode are exactly the same as the single player experience. Players will need to ration their supplies between each other in order to get through the level successfully.
The Arcade mode, however, is where most of the gameplay is located. It features over fifteen different arenas to choose from, with some locked to begin with. Levels vary, from smallish, fast flowing levels to larger, sprawling levels. All levels, though, are designed well and are a joy to play in. There are than a large number of play styles to choose from whether it is the classic deathmatch, to the exciting and unique flame tag, which requires players to keep away from the it player which is on fire. Going near this player will account in you being on fire, with the aim to avoid from being it for as long as possible. There are also the difficulty settings, with chilled being the easiest, normal than frantic being the hardest. There are than the basic settings available, such as the time limit, kill limit, selection of weapons and selecting bots. The feel of the multiplayer mode is defiantly unique no other first person shooters on the market feature such frantic, smooth and enjoyable gameplay as TimeSplitters 2.
Last, but not least, TimeSplitters 2 features an extensive level creator. The mode is simple enough for beginners to have their own fully-fledged level created in a short amount of time. This, of course, adds even more to the reply value of TimeSplitters 2.
Although not the best graphics seen in a first person shooter, Free Radical has done a great job in the graphics department. Each level is highly detailed; achieving everything you could expect the level designs to look like. TimeSplitters 2 even manages to include a large number of characters, particles, lighting, explosions and transparencies without dropping the frame rate noticeably. Although TimeSplitters 2 doesnt feature great detail as seen in other first person titles, such as Metroid Prime or Halo, what the game does perform is commendable.
There is a large number of characters available in TimeSplitters 2, each detailed nicely and unique to other characters. Everything from normal humans to aliens, monsters, animals and zombies are detailed accordingly with no faults visible. Characters move appropriate, whether they be running or walking, with other parts of the body moving appropriately.
One problem, however, is that some weapons with a number of characters appear to float in front of the characters without any arms, legs or tentacles actually holding them. This is something Free Radical needs to work on for the next instalment.
The music in TimeSplitters 2 fits the levels perfectly. The music is often soft and moody, never annoying. As well as the great music, the game also boosts a large variety of sound effects. Everything from footsteps to the shot of a bullet, yells from players and explosions are performed satisfyingly. Each weapon sounds exactly as you would expect it to, the same with the characters. The voice acting, which is found mainly in the cut-scenes between levels, suits the character perfectly.
The controls in TimeSplitters 2 are amazingly smooth. The characters react quickly and smoothly to any commands that you give. The default controls are perfect for the game, however there is the ability to change the controls accordingly if players dont enjoy using the default configuration.
Although the single player mission mode is completed rather quickly, there are also the single player Challenge and Arcade League modes, which will definantly keep you playing for some time. The large amount of unlockables in the game will keep gamers playing for a long time in order to unlock them all. Than, there are the multiplayer modes. This, put simply, will have you playing for months on end, and you will still keep coming back for more for as long as you have the game. There really arent many other titles available that have the large amount of multiplayer value, which is available in TimeSplitters 2.
If you enjoy first person shooters even slightly, TimeSplitters 2 is a must own. There is no other first person shooter available for any console that can beat the amount of gaming value and enjoyment that is gained from TimeSplitters 2. The number of modes and unlockables is staggering.
The single player mission mode does have some faults, namely the shortness of it. However, the other modes more than make up for this problem. Even if you are unable to use the multiplayer mode, you will still get enough enjoyment out of the Challenge and Arcade League modes to make this a worthwhile purchase.
Simply put, if you own a console, you need to own this game. Free Radical has produced an outstanding game here. I cant wait to see the next instalment of the franchise.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.