When Free Radical Design first announced itâ€™s new psychic-action game many were intrigued about two things. One being the fact that the game was revolving around psychic powers, and two, the fact that the people behind the very popular TimeSplitters series was also behind Second Sight. Despite the fact that Second Sight is headed in an entirely different direction that the company has ever taken before, the game still is up to par with the quality we have come to expect from Free Radical.
Now I understand that Second Sight isnâ€™t the first game to try and mix psychic with action, but I will have to say that itâ€™s the first one to pull it off successfully. In Second Sight you take the role of a researcher by the name of John Vattic. After regaining consciousness from a coma, Vattic finds himself inside an eerie medical facility, and to top it off, he has no idea who he is. From the start you can tell that this man is not in good condition, he is bandaged around his chest, and you can see a tint of blood. Utilizing his new psychic powers, he easily breaks free of confinement. From that moment on you are desperately trying to find out who you are, and what powers you have.
Johnâ€™s psychic abilities will soon be the talk of the town, or at least the talk of you and a couple of buddies who are playing the game. His powers are without a doubt the main attraction of the game, and as you progress throughout the first few levels, he becomes aware of some new psychic moves. Out of the five main psychic moves, the one most people will guess are his healing powers. The next one is telekinesis, a handy move that you will be using from the start. Later on in the game you can actually possess other peoples bodies.
Controlling Vattic isnâ€™t all that simple. Since you are a psychic as well as a strong soldier, you will need how to master both areas. To help you learn the controls, you will actually play a level in Vatticâ€™s past that will help train you with all the buttons. Along with controlling Vattic, is also the necessity to control the camera. The camera offers three main views, the default/manual view, an all around free view, and finally a fixed position camera view. Sometimes the camera will automatically switch view depending on your situation. Despite all the choices the camera doesnâ€™t feel too firm and expect yourself putting some time aside just to concentrate on how to operate it efficiently.
As I mentioned before, Vattic has two main features under his belt, the ability of a telekinesis, and the ability of an armed soldier. When using telekinesis, the player will have to make the target highlighted, and then perform the move. However, everything that can be moved by your powers will be highlighted and you have to cycle between them until you come to the enemy. A very irritating process, but you eventually get the hang of it. The other ability is of course, firearms. This game is loaded with more weapons then you will see in your entire life. Everything from sniper rifles, to shotguns, to pistols are in the game. However if you use a gun then of course you have to watch you ammo. On the flip side, if you use your psychic powers then there is a Psi-meter, which diminishes when a Psi-power is initiated, but the meter will also fill up when the powers are not in use. The speed at which the meter falls vary from power to power, so donâ€™t be too hasty.
The difficulty level of Second Sight is far too easy, a person with half a brain can pick this game up and simply be amazing right from the start. A reason to this may be due to the fact that Vattic can take numerous bullets to the chest for a long period of time, and still be able to perform as though he wasnâ€™t even touched. To top this off, Free Radical went ahead and added a healing power, which just makes the game even easier.
A nice little feature that I almost overlooked is another game that comes with Second Sight. Before you get all excited, this isnâ€™t a big name game, but it is a game none the less. The game is entitled â€œEarth Impactâ€. You can locate it during a mission with an arcade machine in it. Much like those who have played Donkey Kong 64, all you have to do is walk up to the machine and chose to play the game. After unlocking the game you can access it quickly from the main menu. Even this little gameplay extra makes the game well rounded and worth its money.
Second Sight offers the interesting psychic capabilities, but it just seems like that feature was thrown in at the last moment, and not focused on from that start. I say this because the game relies on guns more then the psychic powers itself. With the vast amount of power Vattic has, youâ€™d think that you would have more fun picking up a guard and hurling him to his death, but sadly there is no entertainment in that what-so-ever. I have found myself at many occasions, deciding to unleash a horde of bullets instead of my numerous powers. Free Radical had a great concept, but it just doesnâ€™t seem to amaze.
The graphics in Second Sight are on par with the Time Splitters series graphics. This isnâ€™t necessarily a bad thing, but one would expect more from a game releasing far after Time Splitters 2. The characters feature that same block like head that are in many of Free Radicalâ€™s games. When performing a psychic move the effects look decent. To further increase the graphical experience comes the destructable environments. For example if you are taking cover behind some wood object, expect it to break soon, which looks very good in terms of graphics. The animation is very fluid while walking, though it gets worse when taking control of another person. The game doesnâ€™t give the sense of weight that you would expect. Overall the graphics are not bad. A little more work on them wouldnâ€™t have hurt, but this game is in no way visually impaired.
The audio complements the overall atmosphere of the game. Since this game has a sort of dark atmosphere, the music that goes along with it, is a dramatic, suspenseful type of music. The sound effects are pretty nifty, with every object sounding like it would in real life. Crates braking, guns firing, and people falling each have their own distinct sound effect, so that even if you arenâ€™t looking at the screen you can tell what is happening. Along with the sound effects and music, the voice acting is of â€œAâ€ quality.
The game doesnâ€™t compel you to play it again like Halo or Fable does, but there is no reason why you still shouldnâ€™t experience the game one more time. The whole psychic genre was a risk for Free Radical to take, but in the end it payed off, making Second Sight a game worth playing again, even if you donâ€™t feel like it. The storyline is in depth and the gameplay is nothing to laugh at, so if you are bored, why not take another run through the game?
In the end Second Sight offers a refreshing difference from other games that are of its same genre. Loaded with action, and stealth, the game appeals to a wide variety of audiences. The storyline progresses in an entertaining manner, to keep the gamer glued to the TV for hours. Despite the short length of the game, which is on average 15 hours, Second Sight packs a lot during that time. Second Sight is a game worth its weight in gold, but if you arenâ€™t interested in the type, then at least give it a rent to see what I am raving about.