Lately there have been a number of big name first person shooters released on the Xbox; each taking the graphics and game play to a whole new level and reminding gamers just why they bought their system. And then there’s TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, a game that seems perfectly content with staying in the good old days, when games like Halo and Doom 3 weren’t competing for shelf space.
The original TimeSplitters was an early generation PlayStation 2 game that offered a glimpse at what could be done with first person shooters and the new technology. Future Perfect is the third TimeSplitters game and is showing up towards the end of this current generation’s life cycle, yet it feels a lot like that first game, the one that we hoped was only the tip of the iceberg.
Thankfully Future Perfect strays a little from the past TimeSplitters formula. In this sequel we find a coherent story that follows the adventure of one guy, traveling through time to save his people, or save some crystals, or something along those lines. You play Cortez, a Vin Diesel as Riddick look alike, who has to jump in and out of time on a mad chase to collect various crystals and chasing evildoers. The set up is pure camp, but there’s something endearing about Cortez and the funny situations he finds himself getting into.
The real star of Future Perfect is not Cortez or even the people he stumbles upon in his travels, the real draw of all TimeSplitters’ games are the various time periods you get to experience first hand. This time around you’ll find yourself bouncing all over the place, from the 1920’s all the way up to the 25nd century. Not only do these eras offer completely different environments – from trains to castles to haunted mansions – but they also manage to keep things interesting with different technology, silly humor about the time period, and missions that compliment your surroundings.
While most first person shooters take their atmosphere very seriously, Future Perfect always seems to be winking at the camera. The levels are almost blatantly taken from other games, movies, and popular culture … each giving the developers a chance to satirize much of the source material. In the mid-1990’s you will be stuck in a creepy mansion infested with zombies and an underground laboratory; the only thing missing is the road signs for Raccoon City. A century later you will be playing through a world that feels more than a little influenced by Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64. And yet even further in the future you are smack dab in the middle of a war between humans and robots, a level so reminiscent of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine you almost feel let down when Arnold Schwarzenegger never shows up.
With each level brings a brand new arsenal for Cortez, offering you the best goods that era has to offer. This is probably the best part of the game, since the weapons never seem to feel stale. Just when you’ve run out of uses for your backpack full of guns, you are whisked away to a brand new time period with all kinds of new items. Although many of the guns are kind of useless (especially in the single player game), all of the levels offer a nice variety.
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