Video Game Thoughts: TimeSplitters 2

TimeSplitters 2 was a 2002 first-person shooter by Free Radical Design that I played on the Nintendo GameCube. This was one of the many rented games that I later bought. While I had fun when I first played the game, it just didn’t have enough to it to get me to buy a copy. Luckily, a few years later, I happened to see it in the used pile at the video game store. I scored many good deals this way. Usually, I could get a $50 game for only $20. TimeSplitters 2 was definitely worth $20.

I wrote in my entry on Star Fox Adventures how the developer Rare was bought by Microsoft. They were the ones that made the original Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64. They hadn’t been happy with Nintendo for a while. In fact, even before Rare was bought by Microsoft, many of the original Goldeneye developers had already moved on. One of the new video game studios created was Free Radical Design. Their first game was TimeSplitters, but it wasn’t available on the GameCube, so I never got to play it. I was fine because the game didn’t get good reviews. TimeSplitters 2 did get good reviews. In addition, it was released on the GameCube.

The whole theme and story of the game was completely different from Goldeneye 007, but the gameplay felt almost exactly the same. I had a lot of nostalgia for Goldeneye, so I really had fun reliving that game while playing this newer game. I felt like I was right at home. The downside to this game was that the single player wasn’t as good as that classic game. There were only half as many missions (10 vs. 20) compared to Goldeneye. The missions tended to be pretty short as well. The first time I beat the game, it took no more than maybe ten hours. Goldeneye took me probably thirty or forty hours to beat.

The story involved a fight between humans and TimeSplitters, a malevolent alien race. Rather than fight a traditional war, the TimeSplitters went back in time to early times in Earth’s history to mess with things and bring the future to ruin. The hero, Sergeant Cortez, had to go back through time and fix all the problems the TimeSplitters caused. I liked the premise behind the story. It was cool being able to go back through different time periods. The problem was this made the story really disjointed. Every mission felt kind of like it’s own self-contained story. Cortez took on the persona of someone else when he went into the past. All the missions were fun, but I just didn’t get that absorbed feeling to keep playing and playing.

The missions had three difficulties levels, with more objectives on the harder settings. This feature was also in Goldeneye, and I still liked it here. Unlike Goldeneye, I never had the drive to unlock all the cheat codes. Each story mission had to be completed in a certain time limit on a certain difficulty to unlock the cheat code. I got many of them, but a few of them were really hard. I know I could have gotten them, but I just didn’t have the motivation now. With Goldeneye, I always had friends coming over to play. I wanted to unlock everything for the good of the group.

By the time I was playing TimeSplitters 2, I wasn’t interested in multiplayer games. I was really busy with my college studies. I had much less free time, with homework, projects, and a part-time job taking up much of my time. On my free time I just wanted to do my own thing. I didn’t want to share my gaming time with anyone. This was pretty easy to do because everyone seemed to be doing their own thing in college. It wasn’t like elementary school or high school, where everyone had the same classes and the same schedule. In college, we were all in different states of progression towards a degree. I did make friends, but they were studying friends not video game friends. We always grouped together when we had to do group projects, but we all did our own thing outside of school.

Anyways, TimeSplitters 2 wasn’t a perfect game, but it was pretty fun. It reminded me of all the fun times I had playing Goldeneye by myself and with friends. After the single player campaign, I played a lot of multiplayer with computer bots. They also had many single player challenges. I never did everything in the game, but I went back to it several times to try my hand at unlocking another bonus. It was fun every time, but many times I would grow bored within a few days.

There was just something missing from this game that kept it from really keeping me playing long term. I couldn’t tell what it was because the game basically had everything that Goldeneye had. It may have just been experience. I had already explored this kind of gameplay as much as possible in Goldeneye and other similar games. It’s possible there just wasn’t enough “newness” to keep me playing for months like I had before. I’m still glad I bought the game because I probably put a hundred hours into it over the years.

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