Nice, I wasn't expecting it to score so highly. I might have to pick this one up!
When Rare was sold off to Microsoft, most of its higher end talent moved off to form their own independent development teams, one of which was Free Radical Design, co-founded up by David Doak of Dr Doak GoldenEye fame. Unfortunately, the first title produced was TimeSplitters for the PS2 and missed Nintendo out completely. However, the second did make it to the GameCube and now the latest edition, Future Perfect, is here and ready to blast the competition out of the water. But is three the magic number?
The game begins with a video sequence of space-time marine Cortez crash-lands in the middle of a major battle with the TimeSplitters, a force that is intent of annihilating the world. Armed with a Temporal Uplink, allowing you to levitate and control certain objects, you set off through time attempting to find the origins of the vicious 'Splitters and stop their mayhem and havoc once and for all. What better an excuse to go round blowing things up?
Free Radical definitely has a certain graphical style that has become quite apparent over its past three games, with some even going as far as criticising the superb Second Sight for looking too similar to TimeSplitters 2. However, this may have been seen as a step back on the PS2 as the age-old Sony machine was being pushed to its limits already. Yet on the GameCube, Free Radical has been able to throw extra little flashy techniques into the mix, whilst maintaining the lightning-fast frame-rate. So not only are you treated to the usual smooth video sequences, chunky characters and impressive, expansive locales, but a plethora of little touches that make you do a double-take, such as with the particle effects flying out of some of the weaponry you have to hand or the background detail that does not quite affect the general gameplay, but can prove to be a pleasing distraction. Free Radical really does seem to have the GameCube innards figured out and use it to the best of its capabilities.
The same is true with the amount of speech that is crammed into the little GC disc, with everyone talking on a regular basis. And the best thing about it? The voice acting is actually of a high standard, unlike some recent games where it has been less than ideal. You can even listen-in to conversations going on behind closed doors in order to try and find out useful information or just chuckle to yourself at the inane babbling of guards just hanging around. Then you can storm in on them and blast away with the heavy fire-arms in your possession, completely blowing yourself away as well if you have your GameCube hooked up to a powerful sound set-up! As for the music, well, it certainly rouses your attention and gets the adrenaline pumping. As for general themes there is nothing particular catchy, so you will not be wandering humming to yourself after you have switched off your console.
Those of you that have played either GoldenEye 007 or Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64 will automatically have an inkling of what to expect from TimeSplitters: Future Perfect due to the core members of Rare and Free Radical Design being the same. Therefore, what is laid bare in front of us all to tinker with is a standard First Person Shooter, with tight controls, heavy fire-power, superb characterisation and a plot that is actually of interest, rather than seemingly being tacked on at the end of the development cycle. TimeSplitters 2 is currently deemed the pinnacle of GameCube FPS' by many Nintendo fans, but Free Radical has certainly done its darndest to ensure Future Perfect takes the past formula and tweaks it enough to warrant this trequel.
The standard control set-up is that of dual-stick, with the analogue control moving the player round and the C-stick helping with looking and turning. The tiny Z button lobs a grenade at unsuspecting enemy soldiers, L helps with the aiming of weapons and other devices, R fires whatever you have chosen using the D-pad and X activates a melee attack. Other buttons such as B make you crouch, Y reloads and up / down on the D-pad either loads / takes off a missile from certain weapons, or zooms in and out using the sniper rifle. Everything is easy to get used to without any trouble, and the same can be said about the menu screens.
This proves to be blessing as the action really heats up right from the start, with barely any time to ease yourself in. The game is broken into separate time sections, with each period being set in an alternative time zone. For instance, the first chapter takes place in the future, yet suddenly you are transported to the hippy period of the seventies. This brings a great amount of variety to the locations you visit, resulting in the word 'boredom' never once entering your head. But it is not just the level of variety in the places you visit, but the tasks you must complete whilst on missions.
Ranging from simpler objectives such as making it up to a specific point in the level, defending your base or blowing something up, to trickier goals like protecting a friend with a sniper rifle from atop a tower or locating different items, Future Perfect serves up something interesting for all tastes. Then there are the clever tricks that can be used, such as manipulating things from a distance in a very Second Sight-esque manner, riding round in vehicles and taking hold of gun turrets to blast away even more! It really does prove to be a thrill-a-minute ride, and with the Arcade (multiplayer maps, using friends or AI Bots), League (beating set level targets) and Challenge (face off against various unusual challenges to beat the time/score required) modes thrown in you brain will be frazzled trying to think of what to do first!
And if you had any doubts about how long Future Perfect, then cast them from your mind right now. TimeSplitters 2 was a mammoth title and so is this, with even more to do than last time! You can fight against three other friends, work through the main adventure with a comrade or take part in one of the many weird and wacky extra modes that are available for selection. For instance, test your driving skills on various racecourses by controlling…a cat (complete with ‘miaow horn’). Or perhaps you would prefer to see how your endurance holds up in the zombie-monkey levels, where you must blow their heads off whilst confined to a small area – quite a disturbing experience, but not as bad as the cow carcasses version unlocked later on! There is even the possibility to play through scenarios from TS2…and that is without even discussing how difficult the main game itself can be. Suffice to say with the quality and difficulty of Future Perfect, there may be no need to actually buy any other GC games until Zelda comes out at the end of the year!
From playing through the many different modes in this third TS outing, it is clear the team has gone overboard on making the memory of 'that' N64 game disappear. THIS is the new GoldenEye...
Free Radical knows how to push each platform to its extremes, and whilst not as eye-poppingly gorgeous as Metroid Prime 2, it sure does pack a punch.
The amount of speech, rousing background themes and rollicking sound effects crammed into the small GC disc is amazing. Applause all round!
So much to do and only a half a year until Zelda hits the streets. It might be a challenge to get everything done and dusted by that point, but it will a heck of a lot of fun!
Whilst Rare is slowly plugging away at Perfect Dark Zero for the XBOX successor, Free Radical has just put out its fourth First Class title since starting-up. Future Perfect really knocks the socks off the competition, with only Metroid Prime 2: Echoes having the last laugh. Thought the formula would be stale by now? Think again...
Nice, I wasn't expecting it to score so highly. I might have to pick this one up!
Exactly - I never quite got into TS2 properly, so it was very pleasing to get my teeth into this version. Great action and funny at the same time...superb! MP2: E is the best FPA on the GC, whilst this has to be the best FPS! :-D
EDIT: It has a 15 certificate...
< Edited by jesusraz On 2005/4/8 18:10 >
Sounds good, I think TS2 can keep me happy till I can get it a bit cheaper though :-D
jesusraz did you have problems with the game freezing?
Sounds really good. Whats the map make like on it is it better than TS2 at all? Are there still lots of characters to unlock?
Yeah, good point that I didn't pick up on in the review - the mapmaker feature blew me away. I never tinkered with it on TS2, but this more than makes up for the lack of online features (there are some in the PS2 and XBOX versions, right?). And yes, SO many unlockable characters! :eek:
Hmm, not TOO much of a loss...It'd be a nice feature to have, but in all honesty I'm more than happy with what's here in the GC version. It'd be great to see Free Radical do something for the DS...
Top review Raz.
You've convinced me. I'll pick this up soon :
Glad the map maker's good too :-D
I love map makers :-D
Good to hear Snowman, and many thanks for the excellent praise! Between this and Resi Evil 4, I've been spoilt for choice lately
To be honest, getting people round for four-player shenanigans was tricky for myself as well :roll: I had to resort to getting my wife to join in! That made for easy kills...hehe
Nice, pity EA had anything to do with it though. :P