The layout and presentation of the missions leaves quite a bit to be desired. Each mission opens up with a CGI movie that sets the tone for the mission but after that, you’re basically on your own. You’ll often be given objectives in the midst of a mission but often times you’ll have to discover for yourself exactly where or what it pertains to. Sometimes you may spent far too much time wandering around the levels trying to figure out exactly what it is that the objective is referring to. The storyline is also quite bad to the point where it’s borderline B-Movie quality. Blah blah travel through time, blah blah retrieve this, blah blah save the world. There’s little reason to care about what’s going on in the game, little reason to identify with the characters and empathize with them. This is a stark contrast to Red Faction 2
where most of the characters were memorable due to their distinct personalities. In Time Splitters 2
they’re basically cardboard cutouts from the Handbook of Generic Action Stars.
Of course the missions themselves don’t contain much to write home about. I have enough fingers on one hand to count the number of memorable moments contained in the story mode. Sure I was amazed when I found out that I had to take down a chopper with a roof mounted machine gun and I was bit frightened the first time I saw a zombie, but it’s just not enough. It seems like the game starts out great with the Siberia level and slowly degrades in quality only to rise again at the end with the Space Station level. Some of the levels were just bad and begged for more attention and variety, by the time I reached the Wild West level I found my attention wavering, craving something more entertaining. Had I not been playing through the game with a buddy of mine I’m certain that I would have found something better to play.
Much like sex, solo play is only entertaining for so long, it’s the multiplayer that really makes this game worth playing. As mentioned earlier, you can have at the story mode with another buddy of yours. This definitely makes the adventure worth venturing through and extends its replay value immensely. The story mode is nice and all but the meat of the game resides in the various multiplay modes at your disposal. There is an arcade mode that allows you to enter what is essentially a ladder mode. You’ll also be able to adjust the settings and create your own custom game. There is a challenge mode that will require you to complete a challenge within a certain amount of time. A particularly entertaining variant of this mode is a level where you are required to smash all of the windows in the Siberia level with bricks. It’s pretty competitive but in the end, some of them are quite ridiculous and in particular, redundant.
Most of the game’s entertainment can be derived from the usual assortment of multiplayer modes that have become a mainstay for the genre. Deathmatch, Team Death Match, and Capture the Flag are the modes that will no doubt receive the most play. Each of the modes that can accommodate up to four players on a single machine in addition to the AI bots. There are 16 levels initially available from the start and of them; about half of them are truly memorable. Of course this means that half of them are utterly forgettable and will likely receive little to no play.
There are some rather unorthodox modes such as Vampire, Virus, Monkey Assistant, Flame Tag, Thief, Elimination, Shrink, Bag, Bag Tag, Leech, Zones, Assault and Gladiator but they’re created for such a niche audience that I doubt most will choose to ignore them entirely. It’s sad too because they’re actually quite entertaining and include lots of thought and effort to assure that quite a large variety of gameplay would be included. Gamers will also be able to tailor the games to their liking adding modifiers such as one-shot kills, handicaps, powerups and radar displaying the location of your adversaries. Of course scoring methods and time limits can be set to the user’s liking as well.
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