At first TimeSplitters garnered quite a bit of attention because its developer was Free Radical (which is comprised of some ex-Rare members). While the first TimeSplitters could only be found on PS2, TimeSplitters 2 was multi-platform and received very well critically and commercially. This was probably true because in addition to being a great game, TS2 felt a bit like GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, which are two of the best FPSs of all time. Now, TimeSplitters returns for its third installment, titled Future Perfect, because simply calling it 3 is apparently lame. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect has everything you know and love from TimeSplitters 2 and even some from Free Radicalís immensely underrated Second Sight, plus much, much more.
A big draw for TS: FP was that the story mode was more flushed out than in previous games, which were hampered by a fairly weak story. While the story is more intricate and certainly more entertaining this time around, it still takes a back seat to the action oriented game and is, unfortunately, not on par with Second Sightís either. Still, the story is easier to follow, less confusing and more entertaining this time around. Everyoneís favorite bald protagonist, excluding Riddick and Hitmanís Agent 47, is probably Cortez, who returns in this game with a whole new slew of witty remarks. The story (which is explained as soon as the game starts) revolves around an ongoing war between the humans and a malevolent race known as the TimeSplitters. Cortez is returning to the human base with nine time crystals, which were used by the TimeSplitters to attack the humans. The humansí plan for them is to send Cortez back in time to destroy the time crystals, ending the war, before it ever starts.
One of my favorite things about TimeSplitters 2, was that it retained a feel similar to that of GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, but it also contained a cornucopia of customizations and statistics, like Perfect Dark did. You view your personal stats in Player Progress, which details everything from time played and percent of game complete to how many times you played as a monkey and how many heads you knocked off. Multiplayer stats are shown at the end of the match and like the N64 games, awards are given depending on your gameplay. Future Perfect not only retains all of TS2ís good stuff, but the improvements are obvious. There are tons of ways to become engrossed with TimeSplitters; it puts most other games to shame. Thereís the usual story mode and co-op mode, and both modes are slightly different from each other, offering different situations and making playing each one a new experience. Arcade mode (multiplayer) still offers computer-controlled bots that are fan favorites.
Iíll come out and say it now, the campaign mode is just way too short. You can breeze through it in about 5 - 7 hours, depending on your skill. From the improved story and character development, a longer single player wouldíve been much more beneficial. The single player game and the co-op are not the same. There are some subtle changes made to accommodate the second player. The subtitle Future Perfect comes into play, because often times youíll be working with your future and past self, which adds a nice, innovative take on the game, as well as adding variation, because of a new perspective. Most of the levels are very good, although some of them arenít ones Iíd like to play over. The challenges are a nice way to extend the life of the game, because theyíre very unique and theyíll have you working hard to obtain a high score, and unlock more things. While most of the challenges are pretty good, some of them just drag on too long for you to obtain anything from them. In another move to be like Halo, vehicles have also been added, but unfortunately they donít control that well (mainly the jeep) and you donít get to use them often enough. The fan favorite mapmaker has also returned, but itís pretty much the same, restrictive one from TS2. You are still unable to create any outdoor/wide open maps. I felt it deserved more of an upgrade, but at least you can trade maps online. The mapmaker is intuitive and easy to use, but I just wish that you could do more with it.
Easily the best part about TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is the multiplayer. I spent countless hours on the multiplayer in TS2, because it also had bots, which is something that is unfortunately often exempt from other games. If you didnít notice it in the single player, youíll definitely notice it in the multiplayer, and that is the gameís incredibly fast pace. Things move fast and you can expect a lot of mayhem and a lot of respawning. One thing I didnít like was the distinct lack of new levels, as there arenít that many to begin with and some are copied from TimeSplitters 2, but then again Halo had a similar problem and that turned out to be fine. There are tons of modes, such as thief, where you have to collect coins; vampire, where you have to kill to survive; and a great one inspired from Unreal Tournament, which is assault and it has you completing a mission within a set time limit. With the action being fast and frenzied and the gameplay being very solid, chances are the multiplayer is going to draw you and not let go for a long while.
If youíve played any other Free Radical game, you know what to expect as far as the graphics go. The cartoon aesthetic has returned in their fourth and best looking game yet. The graphics still remain a cartoon-styled appearance, while being refined as well. The animations are well done and the characters and levels are varied. All of the levels have a very high level of detail to them, adding to the immersion and realism factors. No one was going for a hyper-realistic game here and so the low parts of the graphics donít stick out too much, but the textures could sure use some work. Some bump-mapping or detailed textures wouldíve made this game look a lot better. Still, the detail is impressive and for the graphical style that it sports, it looks quite good.
The audio parts of TimeSplitters are split right down the middle; the voices and sound effects are great, while the music is barely there. Youíre not getting a Halo style soundtrack in a game like this, especially because it doesnít take itself seriously. Music is occasionally added to reflect the mood, but most times, itís just a few generic ambient tunes. The voices are great, as is the humor in the game, which is something that many games fail to pull off successfully. Explosions are nice, but lack the power of other games, but everything from monkey chirps to cat meows are done pretty well.
The sticky aim is fixed! Finally, the sticky aim that was usable in GoldenEye, which was annoyingly carried to TS2 is now an option. The sticky aim would bring the reticule back to the center and would require you to press and/or hold a button to aim. TS: FP now controls more like Halo and it makes controlling the game immensely easier. Controlling the game is simple now, because of course itís an Xbox FPS, so it better be controlling like Halo or youíre going to have some displeased gamers on your hands. Thereís nothing new or challenging here, which is good, and even the mapmaker is pretty easy to use.
Even though the single player is short, the way that the game is structured, itís meant for multiple playthroughs. Playing through on harder difficulties will help unlock more items and thereís always the slightly changed co-op play. If you lack friends and Xbox Live, donít worry, there are bots in multiplayer as well as a bunch of varied and obscure, yet fun challenges for you to work at. The challenges also unlock stuff for you (unlocking adds length!) and it ranges from breaking glass with bricks to playing shuffle puck with monkeys to even missions that couldíve been in the regular game. While the mapmaker has returned, itís essentially the same one that was in TS2, which is a letdown, because the environments you can create are only indoor. However, you can trade maps online with other people as well as play online, two things that were absent from TS2. The multiplayer is fantastic and probably the best there is on Xbox. To become the master of unlocking, you have to keep playing in order to get access to all 150 playable characters.
If there was a game to dethrone Halo 2 as multiplayer king, itíd be TimeSplitters: Future Perfect. This gameís multiplayer is just incredibly fun, offering tons of variation as well as multiplayer bots to fit whatever your heart desires. It wouldnít be a TimeSplitters game without a ton of statistics and options, and all that good stuff is here. I do wish that the single player was a bit longer however, but it is very replayable regardless. Challenge mode keeps you entertained in single player mode, while online play does in multiplayer mode and mapmaker does it in both. There are 150 playable characters to earn, 16 player online and system linked play, plenty of humor and challenges, but as a whole the game couldíve used some more strength in the single player. At some points the game felt like more of an upgrade than anything else, because of the short single player and limited and rehashed multiplayer maps. Regardless, thereís enough here in addition to online play to keep you busy for a long time. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is simply put, a great game; besides what other game allows you to be a giant duck and fight against a ninja monkey, a cactus, a snowman, a robot, a zombie and a dinosaur, and for that fact alone, TimeSplitters rocks.
Gameplay - 8.7
Graphics - 8.5
Audio - 8.2
Control - 9.6
Reply - 9.4
Overall - 8.8