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Time To Split by FullAuto Written on 5th April 2005

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Harder than Michael J. Fox
Timesplitters has never fit neatly in with the other FPS games. While more and more realism has been forcibly shoved down our throats by other creators, Free Radical have stuck to their guns and taken their usual sidesteps into humour, sly tributes and cheesy lines, developing a consistent feel that is unique to the Timesplitters games.
The key word for Timesplitters: Future Perfect is Ďmoreí. More detail, more guns, more laughs, more bad guys, more plot... more of everything.

First off, the Story mode. This time around, it feels a lot more cohesive because you play as the Vin-Diesel-alike Sgt. Cortez as he travels through all the different time zones, meeting various old friends and fighting alongside them, which also provides a nice excuse for the two-player co-op mode. It kicks off in 2401 and then you bounce back and forth through time, chatting with Captain Ash, swinging with Harry Tipper, getting kicked in the balls by Jo-Beth Casey and so on.

And itís fucking great. The weapons handle nicely, thereís a lot more fine detail to them, dual wielding is cool, thereís muzzle flare galore, and the enemies bleed. There is, in fact, more gore in this game than in Brothers in Arms, a WWII FPS. Presumably itís okay because this isnít based upon real events, but it strikes me as slightly odd. No body deformation, but apparently bleeding rates a BBFC rating of 15 on its own. Still, it adds something to see a splatter of red when you headshoot someone. For me, anyway. Yes, Iím a sick, sick man.

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There are a few small additions to the gameplay in the form of playing alongside your past/future self and a handy little uplink that doubles as a map/manipulator, allowing you to check your position and throw switches or use innocuous objects as wapons, but nothing revolutionary.

But the Story mode is only 13 linear levels, and after that?

Well, thereís the Challenges. A series of (I was going to say Ďzanyí but Ďfucking nutsí serves better) 21 levels where the object is to gain a high score and earn bronze, gold or silver awards. The very first involves undead monkeys, and they only get stranger. You can earn a bronze award quite easily, thereby unlocking the next challenge, but getting silver or gold nets you a lot more extras.

Then thereís the real meat of the game, Arcade mode. This offers three leagues (similar to the Challenges) and thirteen different versus modes, team or individual. Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and all the usual suspects are present, as well as a few unique to Timesplitters. You can play online, or link console to console, which in my humble opinion, is the dogís bollocks. Thereís a massive range of characters (150, most of which you have fun unlocking) each with different attributes which can be turned off if you want to ensure a totally level playing field. Across 15 maps, which range from Vietnam to Venice, you can choose teams, bots, weapons and never play the same game twice for a few years, unless you want to. After every match you get statistics out the wazoo, from time spent in the lead to most headshots, and thereís detailed profile information for the perfectionists.

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Frying tonight!
Last, but by no means least, is the Mapmaker utility. With this you can create your own levels, for single- or multiplayer, and though it was included in the previous Timesplitter games itís been much improved upon. The options are too deep to go into here, but thereís a range of tile sets, themes etc, itís a lot easier to use, and theyíve kept the basic framework the same, so if youíve ever used the mapmaker on TS1 or 2, itís instantly familiar. You can also swap maps online.

Timesplitters: Future Perfect is more of the same, only more so. If you didnít like TS1 or 2, this might convert you. But if you did like TS1 or 2, you are going to fucking LOVE this game. Its funny, its violent, itís a damn good game played alone and it only gets better with friends. Itís full of one-more-go-ism, jokes that range from the shit to the hilarious, bad guys taken to clichť extremes, sly humour, ridiculously lush female figures and zombies.

Oh, and ninja monkeys.

Time to unleash the Arsekickulator, indeed.


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