Let’s go back in time with this Timesplitters 2 review.
It’s true, rumor has it that the franchise you loved so much is to make a return; Timesplitters could be making a return – the news to many gamers eyes. This review with refresh your mind on just what you can expect, let’s begin.
Timesplitters 2 is going to make you cry. Which is just as well really because Sony must have been worried with all that talk about the emotion engine reducing grown men to tears was starting to look a bit silly. So why the sobbing? Well, it’s partly to because this is the most retina-scorching barrage of state-of-the-art graphics yet seen on PS2. Play multiplayer long enough, and you understand exactly how Malcom MacDowell must have felt while filming A Clock Work Orange – strapped to the chair with his eyes pinned open and unable to look away from the multicoloured mayhem on-screen. But the main reason you are likely to find yourself welling up is out of sheer relief, because this time the Story mode is every bit amazing as we hoped.
A BREIF HISTORY OF TIME, then.
Along with SSX, the original Timesplitters remains one of the few Playstation launch titles capable of withstanding scrutiny today. But let’s be honest, shall we? It was no GoldenEye and to be fair, it never intended to be. Given the contracted development cycle, compromises had to be made, and the solo missions just weren’t up to the high standar set by the multiplayer experience.
Which brings us back to the brain-warping majesty of this sequel. It might sound a glib, but Timesplitters 2 feels like the game that Free Radical wanted to make. Where movie sequels generally adhere to the law of diminishing returns video game fans are pretty much guaranteed that each new instalment will be bigger and better than the last. Even so, nothing prepared us for this.
Looking at this game on purely technical terms, Timesplitters 2 is an absoluter masterclass in how to make the Playstation 2 chip set really sing. Imagine Holly Vallance’s Kiss Kiss video but without those pesky lensflares. That’s how good it looks. From the cavernous halls of the gothic spires of Notre Dame to the arid landscape of Planet X, where UFOs buzz overhead, its breathtaking third-generation stuff and an interstellar mile away from the drab corridors usually found in first-person shooters. The spot effects are equally impressive: a fully charged laser gun makes the air surrounding shimmer while the highly polished floors in Big Tony’s Chicago nightclub create pixel-perfect reflections.
TS2 is overflowing with ideas and influences, yet its remarkable how succinctly the whole thing plays. This is a joyous B-movie pastiche, taking in hammer horror, spaghetti westerns and cult sci-fi. But whether you’re playing as a spandex-suited spaceman or moustachioed super spy, the hand-drawn animation and cartoon characters ensure the game retains its unique stylised look. Blinding the whole package together is Graeme Norgate’s incredible score, which mixes Georgian chants, sleazy jazz and Morricane twangs to characterise each different era.
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