TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

Review

posted 7/20/2005 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: GC
Yes, it certainly is that time again, time to split! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. As a longtime fan of GoldenEye 007, I welcome a return to that style of game play, and the third installment in the TimeSplitters series sure hits the spot. But is the third time the charm for developer Free Radical? Yes!...mostly.

For starters, those hoping for a decent single player campaign finally get your wish, barely. Free Radical never tried to disguise the fact that the Timesplitters games were their attempt to recreate sequences from their favorite movies, and the perfect vehicle for that the premise is time travel. So, Future Perfect’s single player is again a hodge-podge of film spoofs and references to some of the older games the developers worked on, strung together with a thinly feasible plot. This time, you play as the Vin Diesel-ish hero Sgt. Cortez, but you don’t jump into other characters’ bodies ala Quantum Leap.

This makes for a less confusing story; the previous games made hardly any sense, and the single player was mostly an excuse to have so many diverse environments and characters packed into the multiplayer. Still, the time-travel paradoxes in Future Perfect are more confusing than Back to the Future, and the plot doesn’t exactly rank up there with Deus Ex. On the whole the single player narrative is mostly for fun. And fun it is.

The levels are refreshingly diverse, compared to the dull, gritty space marine tromps of Killzone and Halo. There’s a wide variety of enemies, from the run of the mill to the excessively bizarre (what where the developers smoking?) and everything in between. Of special note are the zombie stages, which poke healthy fun at Resident Evil. In fact, there are a number of game related gags sprinkled throughout the single player. As many know, Free Radical is made up of ex-Rare employees, so the Goldeneye and Perfect Dark jokes are plentiful. There’s the obligatory train level, complete with bathroom humor, and a corporate office building with the notoriously slow Datadyne elevators.

To discuss the bare bones of graphics, Future Perfect doesn’t do anything really amazing or new. Upon close inspection, some of the textures are downright smudgy and the character models aren’t exactly gorgeous. But the developers have done so much with what they have, and with no slowdown whatsoever, you’ll find that the game’s visuals are impressive nonetheless. The little details will start to catch your eye, and while they won’t wow you, they still show that a certain amount of uncommon care went into this title.

Audio is comprised mostly of stock sound effects, borrowed from other games or the previous TimeSplitters. Voice acting is purposefully cheesy and over-the-top, to accentuate the comedic characters. The music shines in particular; the quality seems almost too good for the goofy situations in the single player missions, but stays unobtrusive enough so that it doesn’t get annoying. The music isn’t dynamic, but loops like the old-style shooters that Future Perfect emulates. In short, it suffices.
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