To review a first person shooter for the X-Box is about as easy as not looking at a pink elephant in the corner of the room. Regardless if you're an Oddworld Inhabitants release or Doom 3, the measure of your might is Bungie's behemoth. The same goes for the recently released TimeSplitters: Future Perfect. Luckily, EA's new title is such a different game from Halo 2 that, at times, it achieves similar levels of enjoyment and excitement while having a style all of its own.
If Halo 2 is like a blockbuster movie with heavily cinematic gameplay and tone; Future Perfect is a comic book come to life. Cortez, the main character, is a Vin Diesel clone. And he knows it. In fact, he seems to be so clued into the fact that he's in TimeSplitters that he comes up with his own catchphrase, It's time to split.¯ This gag is compounded, since the game itself conspires against the protagonist by never allowing him the opportunity to utter his pithy motto. Each time he's interrupted mid split¯ the player groans but cracks a smile even if it's against her will.
TS:FP is irreverent and ridiculous and somehow it works. Touting replayablilty in the form of many unlockable features such as a multitude of characters (from giant gingerbread men to cyborgs) and modes of tournament play, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is an honestly fun game that has staying power. One of the best features that TimeSplitters offers players is the map editor mode in which players can design custom levels and even missions for those levels. What makes this wonderful addition even more worthwhile is the ability via X-Box LIVE for players to share their levels with the LIVE community. Creating maps and up/downloading them are easy enough (and is a marvelous feature, especially in the wake of shelling out twenty bucks for a bunch of Halo 2 maps) however, the X-Box LIVE interface isn't nearly as smooth as Bungie's massive infrastructure, and that's where Halo 2 sticks TimeSplitters with a plasma grenade and then snipes it just for good measure.
Live play is what makes or breaks a game these days and, unfortunately, for most other games, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect included, Halo 2 has spoiled players rotten. Even a little bit of lag bothers me¦and TS:FP has more than enough lag to go around. This is especially bothersome when the game is as fast paced as is EA's title. Plus, finding a decent game is a hassle. There are usually only four or five games you can choose from, but most have only one or two players in the lobby.
Where TimeSplitters does shine is the customizability of off-line play. TS features traditional game modes like two player co-op, Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag as well as off-beat variants like Shrink, wherein your avatar's size is in direct proportion to your rank (so you're very large if you're on top - thus an easier target - for all of the midgets and sprites running around at knee level) and Vampire where killing others extends your own life span. It also allows players to team up with and against computer controlled players! Coupling all of the various game modes with easily over a hundred playable characters, each with specific ability levels, shapes, sizes, speeds, etc., and TimeSplitters is a robust game.
If you're looking for a fast-paced frag-fest to play with your friends off-line TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is an awesome choice. But, if you're looking for something to play on-line, my advice would be, reenlist with Bungie's space marines.
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