Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Second Sight

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vattic.JPG (1514 bytes)            With all the marketing and hype surrounding the recent release of Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, it’s become the general opinion of consumers that Free Radicals’ (the team behind the highly acclaimed TimeSplitters) Second Sight is little more than a cash-in on Midway’s success. However, the fact that Second Sight actually made it to the shop shelves two weeks prior to Psi-Ops: The Mindgate completely negates this argument in my view. Also, both companies had teams developing games based around psychic powers – which actually seems to be a complete coincidence – both companies would have had the games in development for some time before announcing them to the public, and both titles were shown running within weeks of each other, an effort that would have taken somewhat more time to achieve on Free Radical’s part.

            Second Sight then, rather than merely a money-spinner, secsight4.jpg (18856 bytes)appears instead to be Free Radical’s effort to branch into new territory. For the first time, the company had a project running alongside the development of the new TimeSplitters instalment, and all the trademark Free Radical design remains. Each of the characters (although some have remained substantially more two-dimensional than others) has the look of Free Radical’s design and feature a multitude of facial expressions. To this extent, the game’s graphics are more than adequate. Although not excelling at any particular trait, the polygon count and frame-rate are very reliable which results in very little slowdown. Some of the lighting effects featured in the game are a little impressive, as well as the grainy effect used when your Psi-Powers are depleted.

            The plot of the game sees you travelling between two time zones, both occurring within the game’s main character’s life. You begin playing on a hospital-style bed in some sort of institution. You are soon slung into a world where fear is your ally, and intimidation is often the key to your success. Within minutes of the action breaking loose, you travel back in time – six months earlier, you have been recruited into a military team to infiltrate a Russian base and discover their secret operations. I won’t delve any further into the plot, due to fears of revealing too much about the ever-twisting story.

secsight3.jpg (17536 bytes)            Throughout the game you will encounter both blazing gunfights and puzzles which attempt to be mind-bending. Most of the puzzles within the game you will pass with invariable ease; destroying cameras, sneaking past guards, opening doors using computers, but there is the odd “stumper” in there. Along with the usual array of military firepower such as rifle’s, handguns and SMG’s, you also have several psychic abilities. These are, quite obviously, the main element of the game and feature some pretty smart abilities and deadly attacks – although often you may find that relying on these powers to dispatch guards is not quite as effective as capitalising on the enemies dropped weaponry.

            Although the game doesn’t seem to push any boundaries or really offer too much that you haven’t seen before, it does provide a worthwhile, rewarding and, above all – fun experience. Free Radical’s own insistence on the title receiving a GameCube release show’s some faith in the console as a base platform, rather than the speciality console it appears to have become in the UK, but still with only 15 hours of play for the average gamer and, sadly, next to no replay value, the game feels more of a good attempt at a great game then the shining beacon of Free Radical’s innovation it should have been.

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