TimeSplitters: Future Perfect Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 8.0
Gameplay : 7.0
Multiplayer : 9.0
Overall : 8.0
Review by Andy Levine
Timesplitters: Future Perfect is the latest first person shooter to hit PS2 from Free Radical Design. You play as Cortez, a man who must travel back in time to save the future. As you travel all over time to different locations, you must prevent others from bringing evil with the power of time crystals.

Unlike other Timesplitters games, in Future Perfect you’ll spend all of your time as the hero, Cortez. The single player campaign starts off on a distant planet in the year 2401, and the headquarters are being invaded by strange creatures. The timesplitters, your main enemies, have the ability to cloak themselves, but still leave a partly visible translucent outline. As you blast your way through hordes of invaders, Cortez finally makes to the base where he can safely store the time crystals. Here, he learns that he must travel back in time in order to destroy the crystals, before they fall into the wrong hands. While it might appear to be a fairly simple task, it’s challenging to defeat those who also have the ability to travel in time.

What separates this game from the rest of the crowd is the constantly changing environments and arsenal. From the early prehistoric times to the space ages far into the future, Cortez will find himself on an adventure that’s always full of surprises. Without even being told where you are, the detailed environments and the people you find there are enough for you to determine your location. The architectural styles of the building reflect the styles that were popular of that time period. Not only will you notice civilizations regressing or evolving, but stereotypical characters of the era can also be identified. One level that takes place in the 1960s has the ever popular hippie character, who feels the need to rebel against the oppressive government. The best feature of the time travel capability is seeing different types of weapons. As you travel back in time, you’ll notice that most of the weapons are basic pistols and flare guns, while in the future most of the weapons involve high-tech laser beams. These variations help keep Future Perfect maintain a fresh feeling from the first mission all the way to the end.

The single player campaign, while not the main focus of the game, has many areas for improvement. The plot of the game seems very promising, but it could’ve been delivered in a more professional fashion. The controls are easy to get a feel for, but after the first level nothing new is introduced. While the varying arsenal helps make up for this, when you get down to the bare bones of it all not much is being changed. While the weapons do look different as you travel from different times, the actual feel of the guns isn’t altered much. The guns have little to no recoil, including the sniper, which makes it amazingly easy to pick off whole lines of enemies. You’ll still be challenged when facing huge crowds of incoming enemies, but in some levels your adversaries will be found in small groups of two or three, which is just target practice. Despite these flaws, the missions still offer good times, but don't even come close to what the rest of the game is like.

The actually story makes up for less than a quarter of the entire game, making you wonder what could possibly be left to do. The seemingly endless possibilities in the challenge and arcade modes will keep you occupied for a great deal of time. For the challenges, you choose from a variety of characters that have been put in to rather awkward situations. You can find yourself decapitating the undead, to racing around tracks as a cat, and even watching monkeys at a disco. Future Perfect is full of humor, and whether you think the jokes are hilarious or downright stupid, it’s something that you don’t see too much of in games today. The arcade mode uses the typical deathmatch style with thirteen other slight variations to diversify the gameplay. You can choose to do the Arcade Story challenge, which is a campaign of deathmatch missions where you must meet a quota to move on to the next level. You can setup your own games with any desired number of bots, and you’ll immediately be put into the action. Future Perfect could be one of the most popular online games for the PS2 because of the map design feature. You can build your own maps, play with them against bots, and even share them online with other people. An already intense multiplayer game combined with the ability to customize your environments leads to an amazing online experience.

The graphics are better than most of the games for PS2, but there is room for improvement. The characters look different based on the time period they are from, which makes choosing from the list of 150 characters a difficult task. While the gun models are very detailed, the textures are rather plain and ugly. The muzzle flash from the guns is nice, as are the explosions of barrels and gas tanks. The fire effect comes to life right before your eyes, but unfortunately it’s the only aesthetically pleasing part of the game. The animations are painful to look like; the NPC characters squirm around in a manner that is anything but human, which is probably the funniest part of the game. The environments vary enough to keep your surroundings from looking repetitive, but it would’ve been nice to be able to interact with it more. You aren’t allowed to jump in this game, which really limits the capabilities of the environment. However, when you put everything together, Future Perfect manages to maintain solid visual presentation.

The audio performance delivered gives you a better understanding of the location you are currently in. The background music, while not the main focus, adds a soft touch to every mission to make it feel more authentic. Whether you’re listening to a classic symphony or modern techno music, many different types of music will come across throughout the game. The characters, complete with their own dialect, sound how a typical person of that era would also sound; slang words, slurs, and other speech attributes are carefully taken note of. Occasionally you will come across a character who tries to be funny simply because of his voice, but this is simply annoying. The classic guns all sound how you would expect them to, at least for the most part, and the futuristic guns have a laser beam sound. Nothing too original was included with the sound effects, but what they have included suits the game just fine.

All in all, Timesplitters Future Perfect delivers a much needed change to the first person shooter genre. Fans of previous Timesplitters games will have a great time with this one, and people new to the series can still appreciate it for its heated action. Although the single player campaign can get a bit boring, the multiplayer aspect of Future Perfect offers endless hours of mindless violence.