Compared: February 1, 2003
When it comes to first-person shooter (FPS) games there is certainly no shortage on the PC or any of the consoles. TimeSplitters 2 is at the core an FPS game that follows the design premise of the now famous GoldenEye on the N64 system. This was no stroke of luck as several members of the design team for that game were the founders of Free Radical. Free Radical was responsible for the original TimeSplitters game that launched with the PS2 back in 2000, but driven by deadlines to launch this game with the system they ended up with a game that suffered from severe lack of content, both in single and multiplayer modes. TimeSplitters 2 is irrevocable proof of what can be accomplished when you leave the design team alone and donít rush their product out the door.
TimeSplitters 2 is now available on all three of the next-gen systems and I had the luxury of playing all three. While they all share the same content and great gameplay, there are still a few subtle differences that are worth exploring.
Round 1: Control
The geniuses at Free Radical have finally figured out that every gamer is different and prefers their own custom controls. You have unprecedented ability to configure each and every command used in the game to any button of your choosing. No more getting used to awkward default control schemes and no more excuses. No matter which console you play TimeSplitters 2 on you will find the control is flawlessly smooth, accurate, and totally configurable. This round is a tie.
Round 2: Visuals
All three versions of TimeSplitters 2 are about as close to perfection as you can get visually, but the PS2 surprisingly offers the best and most consistent graphics. The Xbox offers some noteworthy improvements in resolution and detail but these appear to pop-up at random with just as many levels looking identical to the PS2 and GameCube. The GameCube makes an impressive showing keeping up with the other two systems and comes in second place right alongside the Xbox version.
Round 3: Music & Sound
Once again the PS2 squeaks ahead of the other two systems but this is more to overall reviewer preference as I heard absolutely no discernable differences in any of the versions of this game. While an FPS game would certainly benefit from a killer surround mix the Xbox chose to stick with the same mix used on the PS2. The GameCube managed to offer some excellent sounds and music that were surprisingly not compressed, or at least not compressed to the point where you could tell. In reality, this round is a tie across the board, even if the PS2 does win with a perfect ten.
Round 4: Other Deciding Factors
The only other things that differentiate are strictly hardware limitations. All three formats support 4-player split-screen gaming on a single system but PS2 owners will need the Multi-tap to enjoy this feature. You can link up to four PS2's or Xbox's together for up to 16 players at a time. It's a shame this game predated the online capabilities of these systems, but at least you have some networking options not available on the GameCube.
Some other factors to consider are if you are planning on using the MapMaker to build your own levels, then you will find the hard drive storage on the Xbox much more suited to this than the limited capacity of the PS2 or GameCube memory cards. The Xbox version also seems to have considerably faster load times while playing the game.
The Xbox wins this round with the PS2 coming in second and the GameCube trailing in third only due to the limited player capacity and lack of networking options.
Let's face it. TimeSplitters 2 kicks ass no matter which system you play it on and choosing the one that is right for you is going to boil down to mainly the issues discussed in Round 4 of this comparison. If you want to play with three friends and don't want to buy additional hardware to do it, or if you plan on making huge libraries of maps then the Xbox is for you. In the end, every version of TimeSplitters 2 has won a GCM Gold Medal and the scores and the features of each game are simply too close to even matter. Just make sure you play this game on one of these systems.