Here we are again. Another series which has a special place in my heart, and holds so many fond gaming memories. That’s right, Timesplitters: Future Perfect is the third game of the franchise, which follows on pretty much directly from the second.
It was released at a time, for me at least, that once that school bell rang on a Friday afternoon, the weekend was there for the taking. This meant piling into someone’s bedroom, stocking up on snacks and drinks and not giving a toss about how long the gaming session lasted. Simpler times.
Anyway, I shall wipe the dewy nostalgia from my eyes and crack on. Timesplitters: Future Perfect, as with the previous game, launched on all the main consoles and was well received by critics across the board. The first noticeable difference was the single player campaign. In Timesplitters 2 it was enjoyable, but pretty linear. The experience felt much more fleshed out and varied in Timesplitters: Future Perfect, and included more playable segments involving vehicles. The story was also more connected, following Sgt. Cortez throughout as he travelled back to save the future. This was instead of you assuming the role of several different characters from each time period, which made each mission feel disparate and isolated in Timesplitters 2.
Happily, you did encounter plenty of characters from the previous game such as Captain Ash and Harry Tipper who, despite being utterly stereotypical, were a joy to interact with. All of this made the single player campaign feel more front and centre this time around as well as being more substantial, no longer playing second fiddle to the vast array of multiplayer options.
Never fear though – multiplayer was also strongly represented in Timesplitters: Future Perfect. Yes, both Arcade and Challenge modes returned, complete with unlockables and medals to be earned. There are loads of characters to get, old and new, and the vast majority of customisation options returned. And that is exactly what makes Timesplitters so enjoyable, oodles of different modes of play, match conditions and characters to play as. Although online play was available, albeit in its relative infancy, it didn’t matter. It was all about the local multiplayer and campaign co-op modes; that’s where Timesplitters: Future Perfect shone brightest. Some may dispute that, however.
Timesplitters: Future Perfect also saw the return of the series’ much loved Mapmaker mode. Despite how impressive it was in Timesplitters 2, the new and improved Mapmaker went further and was truly groundbreaking. This wasn’t just because of the vast amount of cosmetic options at hand, such as bots, items and tilesets, but also due to the ability to create your own complex and detailed missions. In fact, the Xbox version allowed for ten bots per map, compared to the PS2 and GameCube’s measly seven. I remember spending hours and hours fine-tuning my home-made scenarios to play through, crafting my objectives in a way I had not experienced before, certainly not in any console game anyhow. Yes, for the record, this was also my favourite element of the game.
Even though we are here looking back some 15 years, there has recently been a bit of light at the end of the long Timesplitters tunnel with news concerning Timesplitters 4, the long awaited sequel fans have been dreaming of for so many years. Cruelly, however, due to Free Radical going into administration and despite Crytek acquiring the studio, the project was put on ice. Now we can only wait and pray that the good people there deem gamers hungry enough to make the sequel viable. Failing that, we hold out for Deep Silver to work some magic.
Wacky, cheeky and above all else a laugh from start to finish is my best attempt to sum up this game. Timesplitters: Future Perfect was a worthy sequel to its predecessors. What the world needs right now is more of this, so while we hope and pray for the fourth game this is a title that deserves another look. Go dig it out or grab a copy on eBay. You will not regret it.