I never got the chance to play the original Timesplitters and never picked it up either. I had heard good things about it, but I just never picked it up for some reason. Timesplitters 2 is one of Console Gold’s first provided review games, so I put it in my PS2 right away. This took away from my Grand Theft Auto: Vice City playing, but there needs to be some sense of priority.
Timesplitters 2 is a very good game. It has a Story mode that you can play with 2 players cooperatively. I enlisted my wife for a little bit to play some with me, but this certainly is not her favorite type of game, so I did not get her for too long. It is kind of neat to have double the firepower in the Story mode and I could see this going quite far for most people. The Story mode itself is not really a story mode. It is more objectives based with a few cutscenes here and there. This is not surprising considering that Free Radical spun off of Rare after Goldeneye was finished. In many ways, Timesplitters 2 is another sequel for the Goldeneye universe. It has a sci-fi feel to it, but it still has the basic Goldeneye style there. The Story mode is ok and has differing levels of difficulty (Easy, Normal and Hard) that give you different objectives in every stage. There are 10 stages in all: 1990 Siberia, 1932 Chicago, 1895 Notre Dame, 2280 Return to Planet X, NeoTokyo, 1858 Wild West, 1972 Atom Smasher, 1920 Aztec Ruins, 2315 Robot Factory, 2401 Space Station. The exciting stages were Chicago, Notre Dame, NeoTokyo, Atom Smasher and the Space Station. The others were just ok or were too easy.
The controls given here are pretty easy and are also very configurable. The basic controls are: left analog stick to move, right analog stick to see/aim, R2 to fire, R1 for alternative shot, L2 for target point and scope, Triangle to reload, digital pad to change weapons and X to activate. It is somewhat similar to Halo‘s configuration. I think this configuration is fantastic for an FPS and I think more should integrate this system into their FPS games.
The graphics are quite good and run at a constant rate throughout the whole game. I noticed no slowdown at all in the game. I did notice a little bit of blurring effect in some places, much like you could turn on in Grand Theft Auto 3 to bring the framerate up a bit. This game never drops though. The levels are impeccably detailed and seem to have a lot of thought behind them. In the Neo Tokyo stage it was really interesting to see lights shimmering on the rain drenched streets and on the puddles in the sewer. They even put in the rain effect used in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty where the rain pellets would hit the screen. The only thing I disliked somewhat with the graphics is that the character’s hand is not shown with the weapons. This may be deliberate to keep the framerate up, but it would have been cool if this had been in there.
The big plus here is the multi-player options and the extra single player options. There is a Challenge mode that you go through several scenarios trying to beat the times given and advance to the next challenge. There are many things to unlock as well, such as cheats. There are also several deathmatch options in this game as well. I have heard this game is probably the best multi-player FPS out there for the Playstation 2. If I had more people that were interested in video games around me I would love to try these out.The other big plus is the ability to create maps that you can then use in deathmatch and other things it seems. I played a little bit with the mapmaker, but I have never been a big map person and never found it too exciting. This just makes the game that much more enticing for people that love this kind of stuff. The graphics are very good in this game. There is no slowdown at all, the enemies are nicely rendered and the levels are built beautifully. The only possible minus is a few instances of blur used, maybe to keep the framerate constant. The sound is great. Explosions sound real and you can hear your enemies all around you. The music is only ok and brings this score down a bit. The techno beats were neat and all, but they seemed very repetitive. I like techno music, but sometimes it can become too much. The music done in the past stages are very good for the situations you are in. I explained the controls in my main review. The controls are configurable, but here are the default controls: left analog stick to move, right analog stick to see/aim, R2 to fire, R1 for alternative shot, L2 for target point and scope, Triangle to reload, digital pad to change weapons and X to activate. They seemed a lot like Halo to me and maybe that is why I liked them so much. The only thing I disliked was the digital pad to switch weapons. Sometimes it seemed like my push did not equal a weapon change on the screen. You have to memorize where the weapons are in the cycle as well so you can easily switch between them. Sometimes you could get caught without the right weapon as you are cycling through and getting beaten by an enemy. The control system makes this game quite easy to pick up. The AI of the enemy is quite good in this game, although in some ways they can be dumb as well. There are some stages where a little bit of stealth is needed (Neo Tokyo for example) and I thought that was pretty cool.
The only thing that brings the number down is that the Story mode is not very long and the fact that it really is not story driven, but objective driven. Much like Goldeneye you have Primary and Secondary objectives to complete. In the different difficulty levels (Easy, Normal and Hard) you have different objectives and the game becomes more difficult. If they work on the Story mode in Timesplitters 3 (yes, it is coming…the very end of the credits say so) I think this could be one of the best FPS games ever. There is great replay value in this game both in single and multi-player options. Once you get through everything in single player (which will take a while with the Challenges) this game pretty much has to stand on its multi-player options. There is a mapmaking program and various multi-player deathmatch games in here. From what I have been told this is the best multi-player FPS out there, I just wish I could test that theory. This game is not as long as Halo and that might be its sole minus in this section. Normal and Hard modes will give you fits, but so did the extra modes in Halo.