Monday, February 12, 2007

2K7 Game-a-Week Week #6: Time Splitters: Future Perfect

(As I'm not feeling quite "perfect" myself today, this will be a shorter than usual entry.)

I've always been a fan of the Time Splitters games all the way back to the first one which was also the first FPS I played on the PS2. I have to admit that it wasn't without problems. Trying to get used to a dual stick FPS was tough. Every time someone started shooting me, I spun around out of control or was staring into a corner while getting shot in the back. But I stuck with it and managed to get some fun out of it before selling it (the original TS) on eBay. Wasn't a whole lot in it for me to go back to once I got through a few missions.

TS2, however, has always been a major favorite of mine. The combination of smooth, visceral shooting with time travel and wacky scenarios made for a perfect game. My brother and I actually got through the story mode (on easy) in co-op mode. While I owned and played it on the Cube, I got a copy for the Xbox just because I thought it was that good.

I had heard the latest installment, TS:FP, was not quite as good as #2 but I had to give it a try anyway. What I found is that for the most part "they" were right. The game feels a bit too creaky (best word I can think of to describe it). While the story mode, which is driven by very amusing cutscenes, is more entertaining, the combat seems less smooth and harder to manage. I know about the endless criticisms that FPS's should only be played with mouse-and-keyboard, but I really don't remember having this much trouble with TS2. On easy mode (which is what I played TS2 on - never even could get through episode 1 on Normal!), I was dying or getting badly shot up fairly regularly after about the 3rd or 4th mission. Still, I was making progress and the auto-partner system really helps. What I don't know is how it works with co-op. Your "partner" in each level sort of directs you where to go next either through comments and/or heading to the next area. When John comes out next time, we will have to give it a try on the Xbox version I got (yeah, a $9.99 cheapy from Fry's). I also had problems with the Cube controller (again) because of the damn shoulder buttons. When you want to rapidly do something (like swinging a baseball bat), those buttons really slow you down. I may have to revisit my collection and see if there are any shooting games that I should rebuy in PS2 or Xbox versions while I can still get them from Gameworld.

One thing that did impress me was how much was packed into this game. In addition to the story mode, it has arcade mode (various versions of "multi" player), challenges (lots of mini-games), and a whole mapmaker utility. You could almost make a career out of this game!

All in all, I really enjoyed playing TS:FP even with some of the problems (Cube controller, long levels without saves, rough controls). I'm sure I'll get back to it from time to time as it is a very simple game to pick up and play again. Just have to remember to shoot more monkeys!

As this is Valentine's Day week, I'm picking a game that has something to do with hearts: Kingdom Hearts.

Other bits: Our FFXI linkshell goes between being annoying and helpful - sometimes within the same evening. We got some more AF gear and have actually put points on our 65's again (as opposed to dying and taking them off)....Playing more Hotel Dusk when the opportunity presents itself. I had to hit the FAQ's again to get past a block that really should have had a better hint.

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