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SummaryOne of the best games from my childhood (even though it traumatized me)
The GoodBecause the story is about time travel the decides to go nuts with the concepts and introduce ten levels each with zero connectivity. You go from 1930's Chicago to 18th century France and then to space for example. I actually really like this because it offers a lot of variety which helps keeping the game interesting, plus it also adds to the humor and silliness of the game. If I do have to complaint, it would be that the sci-fi setting returns more often then I would like and they never come with different weapons like the other levels, but that it nitpicking.
The game has a lot of humor, but it's a really weird kind of humor that is very hard to explain. It's incredibly silly, often it parodies stuff and sometimes it's acting all serious just to weird you out. In the earlier mentioned France setting you have to take down a satanist who is holding out in the Notre Dame, the cut-scene starts and you see him yelling about angels and preparing a woman for sacrificing, when all of a sudden the player characters sneaks into the building wearing a brightly-colored clown suit. I would also explain why it's silly, but I think the Gingerbread cookies you can play as and those monkeys speak for themselves.
Let me clarify the "traumatized" part that I mentioned in the summary. When I first played this game I was ten or something and my dad got it for me because it looked like a really funny game without any realistic violence. At the time I wasn't really used to violent video games, I didn't care all that much about them, but I was also very easily scared. The fact that I was a bit of a wuss was really troublesome when navigating through dark dungeons with zombies and aliens on your tail. Now, roughly seven years later, I am shaking while playing this game, constantly fearing something will jump at me or suddenly spawn into the game. I have played some of the scariest games out there, I have watched some horrifying movies and I am a big fan of the H.P. Lovecraft books, but it is this game that finally has me sleeping with the lights on.
That was a bit of a personal story that I really wanted to share, but something everybody has to agree upon is that this game has a wonderful multi player. Not only is there a co-op mode that allows a second player to join in on the story mode, there is also four-player mode with dozens of game modes, maps, options to change as well as almost all the items and weapons in the entire game and a whole library full off characters to choose from after unlocking them. Every fight is a guaranteed chaos with a decent enough AI to back-up or fight against the real players.
The player can also customize which weapons he wants to spawn and save these to sets, he can do the same to the enemies that will join in and last but not least: there is a mode in which you can make your own map. This "make your own map" mode in insanely detailed and a million times better than the forge mode from Halo 3, you can place hundreds of items, spawn thousands of props and make every tiny bit count. It's very easy to make a very good map that allows for challenging and fair battles, which is great because they often make for the best maps to play Deathmatch in.
Turning up the difficulty in the story mode does not only make the enemies stronger, but it also adds more objective and options to all the missions. For example: In the Siberia map there is a big dam that my cousin and I were always admiring, trying to figure out why anybody would go through the trouble of making that dam if it was off-limits, see on the easy setting this dam has no purpose, you just destroy the files and satellites before going into the base and destroying the alien machinery. However, if you play it on normal difficulty you suddenly also need to restore power to the base which allows you to take the lift up to the dam and use the turrets there to fight off an enemy wave and an army helicopter.
The auto-aim is pretty nice and makes this game much for enjoyable for everyone. It reminded me about Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 which I liked a whole lot better than Turok because the controls were not really top-notch, so in Goldeneye you could rely on your auto-aim to shoot the enemies instead of taking a magazine to the chest before finally getting your gun to aim straight at the enemies (like in Turok). Here you just need to look at the enemies and the gun will do the rest, this also doesn't make the game too easy and it can still get very difficult when lots of enemies show-up with snipers and machine guns.
The BadThe biggest problem in this game's story mode is a glitch that can be triggered very easily, at the end of most levels you will have to complete your final objective in order to make the exit appear, but that exit doesn't appear if you haven't completed all the main objectives yet. What also appears alongside the exit are constantly spawning enemies that do lots of damage and take quite a few bullets, so that means you will have to go back and try to complete the objective while those bastards are on your heels. It can also be very difficult to know you are missing something because sometimes a certain objective is in the same room as the boss, so you might assume the missing piece is there only to find out that it's not.
The game is graphically lacking, the animation is pretty nice and I liked the aesthetic, but when you look at the water it's just a still picture that never moves, you may also notice that sometimes there are problems with the cut-scenes (clothes that look like they are made of carton and characters floating a few milometers above the ground). One graphical problem that also troubles the gameplay is the blur you get when you turn around sometimes, it makes everything hard to see and can end with you making a 360 degrees turn when you intended to look at an enemy shooting in your back.
The maps aren't really linear, but they aren't really open either, it's somewhere in between which leaves fans of linear maps (like me) with uneasy feeling and not been sure in what direction to go first while fans of open maps will feel like they are trapped in a monkey cage, big and with a lot of paths to go, but ultimately still locked in and limited. It doesn't really please anybody and quite often the secondary objective are all placed on the easiest path anyway, so there is just no purpose to check the dozens of copy & pasted empty rooms.
One level takes the cake for annoying me and that is Neo-Tokyo, where you have to follow a hacker into her hide-out. This is the only mission where you are inspected to sneak and in multi-player it is practically impossible. It's also very easy to fail if you don't go through a certain door fast enough (it will close quickly after the hacker goes through) and on the higher difficulties there are police cars and more cameras to bother you. This is the only map the I dread to play every time I put this game in my Nintendo Wii.
The Bottom LineTimesplitters 2 is possibly the best console FPS of it's generation and that is for a pretty damn good reason. It has no realism whatsoever, it's funny,it works pretty damn well and it has one of the best multi-player modes and customization options I have ever seen in a video game. Sure it's graphically a bit lacking and there is one level that takes the piss (as well as one glitch), but that is hardly a reason to avoid this game.
If you have any of the three consoles from the previous generation lying around or your current system is capable of running this game (backwards comparability), then I highly recommend this game to all fans of FPS games because this is truly a gem in the genre.