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GameCube Review: Timesplitters 2

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Timesplitters 2 may be a Player’s Choice title, but it’s one of the most overlooked games on the Gamecube (and PS2 and Xbox). It’s a quick single player ride extended by incredibly in depth multi-player and a create-a-map feature. It’s a game people will still be playing in a few years, much like the developer’s previous effort – Goldeneye.

Freshness is what keeps Timesplitters 2 moving. The pacing of the first game in the series (a PS2 launch title) is gone, thankfully slowed down to a controllable level. Now you’ll have time to appreciate all the little details that goes into creating a dozen different time periods. Unlike a lot of first person shooters, you’ll never see the same area twice. You’ll be sent back in time to a variety of historical periods, each one looking different than the last. Even though the animation routines and guns have little to separate them, the look alone is enough to make each new level exciting.

Maintaining a solid frame rate, locked at 60 fps, Timesplitters 2 offers some incredible mechanics. Everything feels natural, and your aim is adjusted by the ability to see bullets flying through the air, not a cursor. Destructible environments add to the feeling of power. Enemy AI is fair, and they’ll make a few moves to avoid being killed. The models always maintain a simple style, and there’s no question everyone involved had fun making this one (you’ll spend an entire level trying to take down a pack of ravenous monkeys).

Each level offers a few objectives, but there’s always a time piece to be found. These transport the player into the next level (hence the title), and are the highest importance. Each stage is short and linear, and the entire experience can be beaten in a day. Where it continues is the multi-player, and this is obviously the focus.

These are some of the most memorable set-ups for a first-person shooter. The staggering amount of characters (earned in single player) and flawlessly balanced attributes make these a joy to play. If by some chance these become boring, the detailed and simple to use map creator continues to expand the life of the game.

The only annoyance is targeting. It’s an adjustment to say the least. Instead of turning the c-stick to look, it first moves the gun. If you can imagine, think of it as moving your wrist when holding a gun instead of your entire arm. Worse, once you think you’ve found the spot, it auto centers. This is the same for every gun, from the sniper rifle to the standard pistol. There’s no real reason or logic for it, and if you don’t have the patience to make the adjustment, you won’t keep playing.

If that’s your excuse though, you’re only hurting yourself. This is a perfect example of how a game can fall into a crowded genre and stand out based on gameplay alone. It’s going to fall under the category of “lost classic.” Timesplitters 2 is just simple, light fun, and with multiple players, it’s on a whole new level.

Timesplitters 2 is a rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Violence. This game can also be found on: PS2 and Xbox.

(***** out of *****)

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.