Has anyone seen my socks? I was wearing them a few moments ago, but now they're gone. I suspect, though I can't be absolutely certain, that TimeSplitters 2 may have knocked them off. And I have a feeling that sort of thing might start happening a lot.
I'll admit I had some (possibly unrealistically) high expectations when I booted up the game for the first time. But I was not disappointed; TS2 delivers the first-person-shooter goods with flair and humor from its first moment. And 55,947 bullets later (the game keeps count for you), I'm still opening up new modes. I'm still trying for better times and better scores. I'm still addicted.
There are, to be sure, still areas for improvement in the game. The single-player mode, while undeniably more complex than the point-A-to-point-B-back-to-point-A gameplay of the original, still lacks the coherent plot and story that make games like Half-Life and Red Faction so alluring. While each individual mission definitely has more of a story to it, the overarching plot that prompts your characters' time travel hangs together pretty loosely. So, I often found myself asking, "What's my motivation?" Not a big dealjust an area for improvement.
Similarly, the MapMaker utility is still a bit simplistic for my taste. It's undergone a major overhaul, but the actual construction of the levels remains disappointingly blocky. I just wish I had the option of going really hardcore with the maps. I want to be able to add very specific design elements: stairways, scenery, destructible objects. But, againnot a big deal.
The only really fundamental issue I had with the game was fairly easy to get over: When aiming, nudging the analog stick causes your weapon to "lead" slightly, and the screen follows. It makes for a kind of weird dead zone in the middle of the screen. The first TimeSplitters did the same thing, and I didn't understand why. I still don't. It makes aiming imprecise, and makes the game as a whole a bit harder than it should be.
Am I nit-picking? Yescome to think of it, there is definitely some picking of nits going on. Because the fact of the matter is, TimeSplitters 2 rocks harder than a roomful of stone rocking chairs. (Cut me some slack with that oneI haven't been sleeping much, because I can't put this game down.) There were so many points in this game where I yelled, out loud, "That is so bad-ass!" From the fantastic level-design to the supercrisp, supersmooth, beautiful graphics; from the hysterical mini-games in the Challenge mode (exploding monkeys, anyone?) to the extraordinarily in-depth Statistics run-down (including categories like distance traveled, limbs detached and animal cruelty), TS2 is exceptional on nearly every count.
And that's not even taking into account one of the coolest extras I found in the game: On three separate levels, you'll find a hidden cartridge that plugs into the little radar device you have with you on each level. These allow you to play seriously old-school, vector graphic-based, classic arcade knockoffs within the game, anytime you want. It's such a silly little thing, but little touches like this go a long way toward making a game feel really well thought-out.
I could go on for days talking about the many cool things I found in this game; it's that good. My only real disappointment doesn't have to do with the actual game at all, but rather with a planned feature that was cut at the last minute. I'm speaking, of course, about the criminal removal of the online supportbecause the frenzied speed of this game and multitude of options make multiplayer competition a thing of beauty. There's still four-player split-screen support and i.Link support for up to four linked systems, but it's just not the same thing.
The only bright side of this is the LAN support. It's no better or worse than i.Link out of the box... but I can't help but hold onto the hope that someone will figure out a way to trick the game into allowing itself to be played onlinelike GameSpy did with the Xbox's Halo. We have the technology.
In case you missed what I've been getting at, let me put this simply: TimeSplitters 2 is easily one of the best first-person shooters out thereon any system. If you like your FPS games fastpaced, with loads of action and miles of depth, buy this game. Don't stop to think; just buy. Ohbut hang on to your socks.