|a game by||Free Radical|
|Editor Rating:||7.2/10, based on 3 reviews|
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One of the most heavily hyped PS2 launch titles has got to be Eidos' TimeSplitters, and for good reason: it's being developed by Free Radical Design, which was founded by several prominent defectees from Rare's GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark design team.
The game, which is being billed as the "fastest first-person shooter ever made for a gaming console," spans 100 years (from 1935 to 2035) and includes a cast of 24 playable characters, with laughably bad names like "Peekaboo Jones" and "Chastity Detroit." (Finally, a game with serious technology behind it that doesn't take itself too seriously.) Apparently, this disparate bunch of heroes and villains has attracted the attention of the TimeSplitters, an alien race who have been meddling in human affairs for eons. Will the good guys wise up in time to send those time-traveling bastards packing?
While a story mode is well and fine, everybody knows the game's multiplayer matches are the real attraction. Up to four players can square-off via the MultiTap in eight different scenarios, including Death Match, Bag the Flag, Escort Assassin and Last Stand.
In addition to names like "Hick Mutant" and "Siamese Cyborg," enemies possess an uncommon level of intelligence, stalking and retreating with deadly efficiency. They also know how to seek cover, attack in groups, lob bombs from high overhead, and generally make your life miserable. Fortunately, you'll be armed with 20 obscenely big guns, each with dual operating modes (a la Perfect Dark).
Coolest of all, however, is the game's innovative level editor, which allows you to construct sophisticated battlefields from predesigned building blocks. You can also texture map them with the theme of your choice, populate them with regenerating baddies, and scatter an arsenal of weapons to be collected.
Given the number of high-profile sequels that'll be available by PS2's launch, it's going to take a lot to break away from the pack; however, TimeSplitters seems to have what it takes to do just that.
This PS2 launch title from Eidos and Free Radical Design is a fast and furious FPS free-for-all. Right now, the development team (which is comprised in part of former Rare employees who worked on GoldenEye) has the one-player and two- to four-player split-screen modes running at an awe-inspiring 6ofps. It also features a variety of co-op and deathmatch scenarios, tons of themed levels and characters, and a fully featured level editor (sweet). The thing looks like it's going to rock out.
Everyone's been harping on for ages about what a great game TimeSplitters is, but now that it's actually here, does it live up to all that prerelease hype? Is it really that great? Is it obvious that the GoldenEye boys were behind the development? Yes, yes and yes. It's fabulous, so fabulous in fact that we've even had instances of die-hard FPS-haters picking up the joypad and having a good time with the thing. It's that great. Part of the charm is no doubt due to the fact that deep down, TimeSplitters is one of the simplest games around. In one-player story mode the objective is "find an object, kill everyone and then get back to where you started." It's real, old-school. Doom-type stuff, and boy is it fun. And tough. Many players will probably only bother with the story mode when they realize it's the only way to open up the cool stuff for the real "meat and potatoes" of the game which is the multiplayer aspect. Deathmatch, teamplay and capture the flag (bag, in this case) modes are all here and in each mode you can play with up to four of you crowded around the TV and fight it out with or without bots of varying intelligence. Everything in the game is customizable; you can change weapons sets, characters and then most importantly, you can build your own levels. The editor is a joy to use and assures this is a game that's going to stay with you for a LONG time. An instant PS2 classic. Buy it.
Sure, you can play TimeSplitters alone. The singleplayer game's got no plot and packs simple fetch-the-doodad objectives, but it's still surprisingly fun and addictive--especially the bonus challenges. More than just cleverly designed, the arenas are downright creepy, thanks to the game's oddball aesthetic. But you're best off buying TimeSpiitters with a multi-tap and calling over three pals. This is the fastest, smoothest fragfest on the consoles, and you get all the modes and options you'd expect from the guys who worked on GoldenEye. You can even play the Story Mode cooperatively. Heck, the map editor itself will keep you busy for days.
TimeSplitters feels like a game that I should like more, but I just can't bring myself to. As a change of pace for first-person shooters. I can appreciate its speed and simplicity, but after awhile it just seems like there isn't enough depth. I really like the amount of extras that you open up as you progress through the levels because it really makes you want to keep playing. It's just too bad that the story and atmosphere are unimpressive, as is the low interactivity with the environments. The saving grace is the map creator that lets you easily make new maps for multiplayer combat. It's too bad the rest of the game isn't as well thought-out.