Description official descriptions
After waking up in a high security medical facility with no recollection of how he got there, John Vattic's memory slowly returns through a series of playable flashbacks to his days as a civilian advisor to a military operation in Siberia. In the past, he worked with a group of soldiers known as WinterICE, attempting to locate an elderly scientist who has been conducting research into psychic powers. In the present, John attempts to piece together what he remembers and locate members of WinterICE in the hope that he can clear his name, work out what actually happened, and discover how he came to have psychic powers himself.
Second Sight is a 3D shooter with stealth elements. The player mostly controls John from a third-person perspective, though it is possible to switch to first-person view under certain circumstances. During the course of the game the player gets to use telekinesis, healing, charm, projection and possession powers and two types of psychic attack, plus a variety of weapons. Most situations can be tackled with stealth, mindless violence or psychic powers, or a combination of the three.
Credits (PlayStation 2 version)
64 People (59 developers, 5 thanks) · View all
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Average score: 77% (based on 55 ratings)
Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 46 ratings with 2 reviews)
I dunno why, but for some weird reason I always thought this is a plain FPS game with some extra powers to make it... well, sloppy to say the least. Turned out I was wrong 180 degrees because this is mainly 3rd-person perspective oriented game with ability to look, fight and when it comes to narrow spaces, even move in 1st-person perspective. The gameplay is somewhat challenging, but with the help of mouse even the trickiest parts won't pose much trouble for skilled FPS players (I'm saying "skilled FPS players" because that assumes that player doesn't mind to cope with the games that require reflexes and quick thinking).
The game starts with ever-intriguing story of waking up in a medical-threatment room with no memories of much and even less about psychic powers you acquired. You don't know whether to fear that or put it to use... but you will, and soon. As you progress through game, you powers increase and you start remembering your past. Furthermore, you start remember your powers and skills. And of course, you realise how skeptical you were about psychic powers and all that mumbo-jumbo. As you play the present role, John Vattic (as in, you) has flashbacks as to what happened six months ago in which story you also participate. One might find it silly that you can die in that flashback story (after all, John is alive in the present, so he couldn't possibly have died six months ago), but when you realise the brilliant twist near the end of the game, you won't have trouble accepting it. Let me just say without much elaboration, that the real deal is what happens six months ago, not the timeline you consider the present. Bet that makes you think of an impossible explanation, eh?
Aside being able to use formidable powers to frighten your enemies, you can also blast your way through with weapons you acquire from your fallen enemies. This all might present you with a question why does this game considers itself to be a stealth, if only partially? Good question, and the game does give you an opportunity to avoid your enemies without being spotted and preventing them from raising the alarm and bringing the reinforcements. But that's the only thing that puts even the slightest context of stealth presence, 'cos some of the levels can't be passed just by shooting along the way because there is no limit to enemy number when alarm is triggered, you can either try to find a spot to hide and let everything gets back to normal, or find the alarm switch and deactivate it without enemies actually seeing you do so, 'cos that wouldn't do much good as they can radio for backup.
At first, I was very disbelieving about those psychic powers John is to have, but soon found them very valuable, especially the ability to heal yourself (and your allies, of course). Before you acquire that skill, you can only heal if you find some medical kits on your way. Probably the most fun one to use is telekinesis which lets you move objects and your enemies safely out of the way. By banging your enemies against the wall several times, their time will come, but when you're surrounded by them, this is not a good time to play with telekinesis, instead, you can use psi blast that renders unconscious all nearby targets (and your allies, yes) with a shockwave. The most useful one, especially later on, is called a projection which lets you project your image outside your body. Not only does it let you pass through deadly obstacles such as lasers, but also lets you take control over the enemy rendering it to your command. I really don't think I need to explain how useful, not to mention entertaining, is to make your enemies kill amongst themselves.
The story has a nice drama and dialogues and doesn't disappoint you at any point. Just as I thought all the intrigue was gone, it just became even more suspenseful. Accompanied along your way is a great background music which really makes a fascinating blur between front music and ambient one. Good enough not to mind having a soundtrack (just think of "The Moment of Silence" which has released soundtrack). The world is created with almost as great touch as in "Anachronox" and "Deus Ex" games, it varies along the way of frozen wastes, secret bases, government facilities, gang streets, asylum, and labs.
At first sight, you can spot this is a console port (similar as to how you can immediately say the same for "Cold Fear"), but graphic is good nevertheless and quality is on the fair level. However, some of the gameplay concepts are lacking in its design. I dunno how that is handled on consoles, but telekinesis really gives you some hard time at switching targets. All is working fine with the help of mouse, but John is just doing everything a bit slow (or maybe his powers are just not as powerful, which might explain this point). Furthermore, sometimes things are just unrealistic when you fight ordinary guards. It's just not real when you grab them and toss them from some high roof (and even higher thanks to your power of telekinesis) down, and they just continue as if nothing has happened. If you try jumping down, you'll die for sure, and you are much powerful than they are. The camera doesn't make your life any easier, either. You can either freely rotate them, which becomes impossible when you're near the wall or something, or can make it fixed which isn't good during fights for sure. In time you can get used to rotateable one, but it would be easier if it can always be behind your back, even if that means making some of the walls transparent during the time.
The Bottom Line
This is by far much better game than I would have ever anticipated, and without a doubt, I'm more than glad I got a PC version, because I have no idea if I'd ever be able to pass it with a gamepad, not with all those infinite enemies alarm can trigger. It's not on of the easier games out there, but sure is one of the most intriguing and capturing ones of 2004/05.
Windows · by MAT (238622) · 2012
Second Sight offers a good sci-fi thick plot running on the background and the whole game is laid out like a Tarrantino movie, as it goes back and forth in time. The player incarnates John Vattic, a scientist who's been ordered to join a U.S. special forces squad to investigate on the works of a Russian scientist / psychologist called Grienko, and to reveal why Grienko has asked political asylum from the U.S. But before all this gets revealed to you, you're waking up in some sort of a scientific clinic, with a really bad headache and some even worse question marks on your head, which you'll have to find answers for, such as how on earth did you end up in there. That's how your quest begins.
The game offers a good mixture between psychic weapons and tools and conventional arsenal. As for the latter the same trade applies here as well: find weapons and ammo either by killing enemies or searching and use them to kill more enemies.
The big difference to the majority of shooters are the psychic abilities of the hero. There are two kinds of abilities: the tools and the weapons, to put it simply. For starters when you begin the game you have a simple Telekinesis ability with which you can open doors, move objects around, destroy computer screens etc. A few more minutes later when you encounter the first enemies you discover how to heal yourself, which is a rather neat ability. The further you progress on the game you discover some new tricks such as how to seem like a charming (!) creature to enemies and friends, which basically renders you invisible to enemies, how to project a hologram of your self so you can operate distant switches in order to open doors etc. On the psy-weapons side you have a psy-ball like thing which you throw at your enemies and literally blows them away, especially if they are near.
The graphics of the game are really good and the 3D modeling adequate enough to keep the believability in a decent level, the same applies for the textures as well. The physics of the game's 3D world are also good enough.
Gameplay wise, the game offers a very good and strong concept, as you have to think twice before entering a room or a corridor. With moves such as sneaking behind walls and the need to observe the enemy's movements, there is a good stealth element involved in. Usually I dislike stealth games, but I think that in second sight there are enough tools to make life a bit easier for the player for a successful stealth approach. Once you've solved the security issues that usually require you to be stealthy, you can finish'em up.
I really liked the way enemies react to your psychic abilities, especially when you use telekinesis to move objects when enemies are present they really freak out and run away scared, only to come back a few moments later. Also telekinesis is good for distracting the guards' attention and thus leaving a clean field for you to proceed. Remember, Second Sight is a game that requires well thought moves in order to survive. You simply can't run in front of them and start blazing your guns and then ask questions.
One thing that really frustrates me with this game is the conventional weapons combat, which also applies to selecting target objects for your psy-abilities. You simply don't have a free choice of aiming, by hitting the right mouse button you pick a general area of a target or an enemy and then you have to fine tune your reticule in order to score a good lethal shot on him. The same goes on selecting objects to move, you aim at an area and it's only luck if you pick the right object. That basically means that in situations where rapid precision is needed the game gets really frustrating. Even worse it gets when the sniper rifle is used where you have to face the general area of the enemy and by hitting the right mouse button you have to guess where on earth he is. Not to mention close quarters combat... you simply can't survive it and at times it's really hard to avoid it.
The second flaw of the game is the lack of a saving your position option. You simply have to finish an episode first in order to quit and go to bed :) That's all fine for young people, but it's really frustrating for working adults like me lol! If you quit in the middle of a level you have to replay it from the last checkpoint you've passed. And checkpoints are quite far away from each other.
Finally I really disliked the hero's movement, which is 4-way rotational, a system that works best with playstation gamepads. And due to this awkward movement in conjunction with the view camera the view-field gets obscured by walls and other surrounding elements, or is constantly wiggling when you crouch next to a tight corner surrounded by walls, not allowing you to focus on the incoming enemy.
The Bottom Line
Second Sight is a good game, if I was to categorize it I would say that it's a streamed action RPG with tactical shooter elements.
I really wish the gun combat and target selection tactic was better. With such bad combat mechanics and player movement system, I can only say that the game is really bleeding and will never be a blockbuster, it would otherwise deserve to be. I can safely say that if Second Sight was really well fine tuned, it would equal the first Max Payne, although they're slightly different I'm talking about the gameplay satisfaction here.
The concept and story behind it is awesome, the good mixture of psychic powers, stealth, exploration and combat elements make this title irresistible to gamers, but without a free pointing reticule and a mouse rotation direction of movement the game looses all it's might, downgrading to a nice, but very frustrating game.
By seeing the release dates for all the platforms, I do now realize that Second Sight was ported straight down to the PCs without any minor fine tuning. Hence this is all the source of problems. For a gamepad user, this movement and aiming system is ok. But for the mouse orientated pc gamers the controls are awkward and problem spawning.
Nevertheless, thankfully the other elements of the game will keep you coming back for completing this title, but after completion there goes another box to catch dust. On the other hand if you're used to this kind of hero movement and enjoy a bit of frustration, you should definitely try Second Sight.
Windows · by SifouNaS (1309) · 2007
1001 Video Games
Second Sight appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Tim Furnish.
Windows added by Kabushi.
Game added October 2nd, 2004. Last modified August 27th, 2023.