Time Splitters 2 (PS2)

Review

posted 11/16/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
I used to think that First Person Shooters only belonged on the PC but thanks to the release of Halo last year, my perception has since changed. Many great FPS have come and gone in the console realm, Medal of Honor, Agent Under Fire and more recently, Red Faction 2. Now Eidos has decided to re-enter the realm with the sequel to their of their hit and miss first person shooter, Time Splitters 2.

In TS2 you’ll travel to different moments in time to retrieve the time crystals that have been stolen by an alien race. Now instantly I feared for my life, the last time I played a first person shooter that featured time travel I ended up getting stuck with the debacle that was Daikatana, I was already getting flashbacks. Thankfully, TS2 manages to avoid the crippling blows that eventually did in Daikatana and in the process, deliver quite an entertaining experience that is worthy of finding itself in the collection of any devoted gamer.

Unlike Time Splitters 1, there is now a full-fledged story mode that spans 10 missions over different periods of time. The first time I booted up the game I was given the impression that I would be forced to go at it alone. Thankfully it was only after a few buddies of mine had come over to help me test out the multiplayer modes that I realized we would be able to go at it together, co-op style. So thus we have the inclusion of what just about everyone has wanted, a story mode where two players can experience together. Thank Halo for bringing this feature into the light but give small nods to PC titles like Duke Nukem 3D and Serious Sam for showing that this is indeed an entertaining mode of gameplay.

The control scheme utilizes the Dual Analog sticks and for the most part it works. The left stick acts like your feet while the right analog stick acts like your eyes; it’s a combination that basically mimics a mouse and keyboard combination. Each of the weapons contains two fire modes that are controlled via the R1 and R2 buttons while aiming is handled with the L1 button. Weapon selection is mapped out to the control pad but I found this to be far too clunky for a game that is often hectic and fast-paced. Most times it’s very difficult to switch to the right weapon when your enemies are raining fire upon you. Oddly enough you can crouch but you’re not able to jump. Not being able to jump really hinders the action quite a bit as it lessens your maneuverability as well as negating the usage of the splash damage effect on many of the rocket-based weapons. I found it to be quite a bother when I fell down a small ledge and had to run all the way around a level just to get back up a 2-foot ridge. I also found that aiming was quite difficult at times and it takes quite a bit of getting used to. The sticks just aren’t precise as I’d like them to be and I wish that Eidos had included support for a USB keyboard and mouse.

The 10 missions may seem like a paltry number but it is their expansiveness that really makes them seem like so much more. You can select three different difficulty modes at the onset of each mission, which one you pick will directly impact the route you take through each level. Select easy? You can easily miss out on half of the level. Selecting the normal difficulty mode will open up new paths that have be followed, thus making the levels more larger and expanse than before. Each level requires you to fulfill a set of objectives in order for you to move on to the next. Afterwards you’ll fight against a boss and then be transported back to the mission selection screen.

The levels are quite long, much longer than one would initially expect out of a game from this type. There are checkpoints throw into the level for a player to respawn from after they die but they are few and far between. Sometimes a mission can take 20 or more minutes to complete. Since you don’t have any lives you’ll have to depend on the respawn point in case you get killed. Often times you’ll be teleported back much further back than you’d like to be and all of work you spent doing in the past 15 minutes will go for naught. This especially becomes frustrating when you’ve finally reached the boss only to find out that you should have picked up a more powerful weapon a few rooms back.
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