TimeSplitters: Future Perfect


TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

Developer: Free Radical Design
Publisher: EA Games

Release Date: 03/21/2005

ESRB: M

Genre: shooter
Setting: alternate

I’m a sucker for bonus features. I always get the special version of DVDs with the deleted scenes, and director's commentary, and the making of featurette. The more bonus features a DVD has, the more likely I am to want it, never mind the fact that I will never actually watch 99% of those features. That’s why I like TimeSplitters: Future Perfect so much. If video games were DVDs, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect would be the super-extended-triple-bonus-ultra-deluxe-extra-mega-awesome version with never before released material. I have never seen a game so packed full of features. And unlike the DVDs I buy, these features are actually worth unlocking.

TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is the latest in the TimeSplitters series. This was my first time playing a TimeSplitters game, but it didn’t take too long for me to figure out what was going on. The TimeSplitters are an evil race of creatures bent on humanity’s destruction, and it’s up to you to stop them. You play as Cortez, a tough “Vin Diesel”-looking character with a catch phrase that everyone hates (It’s time to split!). While the plot sounds clichй, the delivery is done in a wonderfully hilarious style. Defeating the TimeSplitters involves traveling through time to various points in history in an attempt to stop them from becoming a threat.

The story and the dialogue are fantastic. Usually, when dealing with time travel, writers get very serious about the science of it all and follow all sorts of rules. You can’t interfere with the past, you can’t interact with other versions of yourself, don’t cause a paradox. TimeSplitters takes all of those concerns and throws them out the window. Cortez routinely travels through time to help himself. He provides passwords and keys to past versions of himself that he received from future versions of himself. No explanation is given as to how he originally got them. At one point, there are four different versions of Cortez running around in one room. Two of them are hacking computers, two of them are fighting off enemies, and within a span of 15 minutes you end up playing as all of them.

TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is a first person shooter. The controls are fairly standard, but the gameplay is incredibly smooth. I would occasionally get snagged up while running around, but for the most part the camera worked great. The hit detection was almost flawless. Headshots are a vital part of taking your enemies down quickly, and they were made a reasonable tactic by the well done hit detection. There were a few times that I could have sworn I was lined up perfectly and ended up missing, but it was fairly uncommon and didn’t cause too much trouble in the overall experience. There is a huge variety of weapons, with different ones being available depending on what time period you are in. One minute you’ll be using a double barreled shotgun and a flare gun, and the next you’ll be using a laser rifle and plasma grenades. The weapons provide even more variety by having multiple firing modes. These different modes usually drastically change the feel of the weapons. One of my personal favorites is the mag-charger which, on its alternate fire mode, lets you see and shoot through walls.

But by far the most amazing thing about TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is the sheer volume of unlockables on the game. There are over 150 unlockable characters that can be used during the multiplayer stages of the game. Each one of them has different stats (although, to be honest, I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference between them) and there are a large number that are just completely ridiculous. Ever wanted to play a FPS as a school of fish? Or a living cactus? Or a monkey? It’s great. There are lots of mini-games that play completely different from the rest of the game. I was best at recharging the robot monkeys so they could keep dancing, but I also liked the cat racing. The mini-games are used to unlock the cheat codes which usually have some sort of crazy effect on the game like rotating heads, giant hands, or turning everyone into a cardboard cut out. My favorite was definitely the “Human Voice Weapons.” It’ll remind you of the original first person shooter you ever played: running through your backyard with a stick making your own sound effects.

There are a few things about Future Perfect that seem a little odd to me. The map is one of them. Rather than having a map in a corner of your screen or something similar, you have to pull it up as a weapon. You always have it with you, but if you’re attacked while you’re looking at your map you’re defenseless until you can switch to a weapon. I guess it actually makes more sense that way, but it’s just not what I’m used to. Another thing is the lack of a jump feature. I didn’t miss it at all in multiplayer. Personally, I hate it when people jump around like spastic kangaroos during multiplayer, so in that case the lack of a jump is actually a positive. During the story mode though, it was much more apparent. There were a number of times when I would get snagged on a piece of scenery and, instead of just being able to jump over it, I would have to back track and go around it. At other times I would want to leap over a small gap or up onto a ledge, but couldn’t. Overall, it wasn’t a very big deal, but it just seemed a little odd.

TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is a solid first person shooter with a hilarious story. Take a turn with it, start unlocking some bonuses, get into the story, and I guarantee you’ll love it. Great writing, smooth gameplay, and more unlockable features than you’ll know what to do with all add up to make for a package everyone should try. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to split!

Wow. That really is a horrible catch phrase.

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About the Author, Jake Burket (A.K.A Diesel)

I’ve always loved video games. I don’t know why, but they’ve always fascinated me. When I was younger, if I visited someone who had an Atari, that was all I wanted to do. It was a glorious day when I finally got my very own Nintendo.

I like a wide variety of games. I’m great at action and rpg games. I tend to be too much of a perfectionist with first person shooters and stealth games. I’ll spend 20 minutes in a level, only to reset it the first time a guard sees me. Platformers aren’t really my thing, I think the technology has better things to offer than that now. And I don’t do sports games.

I love games with a good story. I’ll play for hours just trying to get to the next plot twist. In a perfect world, I’d be writing my own video games someday