Chris examines this tongue in cheek sequel. With monkeys.
Oh dear, I seem to have some problem with my PS2. I can’t seem to tear myself away from it! What is going wrong? I have a sneaking suspicion... Time Splitters 2 is one of the most eagerly awaited sequels on the console, but does it stand up to the competition? Having not played the original I felt more than a little bit scared of the prospect of reviewing such a game. Yet with it’s very smooth controls I was immediately at ease. What can you really say about this game? It has excellently stylised graphics, a competitive and engrossing story, countless bonus features and cheats to activate, I could go on forever… but I won’t. My first drop-off point is the graphics. It’s a refreshing change to see a first-person shoot ‘em up not striving for a hundred percent reality. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing a game that is trying to recreate ultimate realism. Look at Max Payne, for example, the most endearing part of that game has to be the graphics. It’s just so detailed. This game doesn’t go for that and that, as far as I am concerned, is a step in the right direction. The comical, cartoonised characters do however also hint at the problems some people have with the story. The characters are deliberately foolish and caricatured. A lot of criticism relevant to this has been aimed at both the Time Splitters games for lacking a decent plot. The plot is ridiculously farcical and flimsy. It doesn’t hold up to any interrogation, but crucially, the gameplay does not require it be so. The story is designed in an accentuated and with tongue very firmly in cheek motive. The opening mission set in a Siberian Military base around the Oblansk dam, is more than just similar to a certain secret agent game! The story is also used as a vehicle to get as many different styles of level, ranging from 1830’s Notre Dame to a 23rd Century Robot Factory, as well as different styles of weapon; Tommy gun, homing missiles, fire extinguisher to name but a few, in one game. To a great extent this works. The story is also definitely not the be-all and end-all of the game with the multifaceted Arcade mode, with single-player leagues of varying difficulties and multiplayer custom battles with an inexhaustible amount of options, and the wonderfully challenging “challenge” mode! You can do such a range of things it’s quite unbelievable, from stealth missions, to window smashing and running away from millions of flaming monkeys in a Wild West setting! I kid you not. A nice little addition has to be the mapmaker function, but this also houses my only real qualm with the game. It’s a wonderful idea to be able to create your own maps, of course, although not entirely original and some people love doing this more than playing the game itself. I understand this too as there is something ultimately satisfying in the process of creation, you can be god and manipulate the world in front of you. This editor is, however, not the most approachable and, because of the style of game being heavily focused on addictive, varied gameplay, I feel that too many of the people who'll buy this game won't use it. It’s a nice idea but with probably thousands of hours of gameplay in this little beauty I fear no-one will ever really delve to deeply into this element of the game. Still, we can’t bemoan them giving us the option. The games plethora of options leads us to one great thing, a plethora of bonuses! The more you progress in the story, Arcade and challenge modes, the more options you get in these areas. It is pleasing, as well, that with all these extras you don’t ever get a sense that they will be impossible to get through. Finally, it’s refreshing that because of the open nature of the story, and you’re progress through the game, you won’t find things get repetitive for a long time. All in all, TimeSplitters 2 represents good, honest, monkey killing, zombie stomping, high noon shootin’, alien-blasting, soldier-sniping fun. If you’re after a deep game to immerse yourself in, leave now, but if you’re after something fun, yet challenging, but ultimately a very sociable game you have probably found your calling.