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Timesplitters is a series that has been around since the dawn of the PS2, a shadow game that wasnt widely publicised but gained a lot of critical acclaim. The first Splitters introduced a frantic style of play that saw the player running from the start of a level to the end to pick up an item, just to run all the way back, chased by zombies, Timesplitters or some other type of ghoul.
This simple gameplay mechanic was incredibly addictive, despite being a Story mode in the loosest possible way. However, with the advent of the third game in the series, we are given a story mode that lives up to its name and that is worthy of particular attention. This time it is an expansion of the mission based structure found in Splitters 2 set across every time and place plausible, from Scottish Castles to Futuristic alien planets. All set in glorious graphics that preserve the comedy and exaggeration found in the characters and environments, much like the previous games. There are numerous stages and a good plot, that makes you want to keep playing without having the depth found in some other shooters.
However, the magic of Timesplitters is to be found in the multiplayer aspects of the games, with 14 different game modes, including the standard death match, and the slightly more disturbing Virus mode where the aim is to set everyone else on fire like a perverse game of tag. These games are addictive and engaging, particularly when involving 4 friends and a multitap, where the anger and frustration flows freely, in the best way possible.
For the first time however those of us without friends, who are willing to dedicate time to playing a video game. Then the new online mode is for you. This is just the arcade mode but with people in place of bots with all features and all 150 hilarious characters supported. Yet there is slightly less satisfaction in chasing down a stranger with an injection gun and watching them swell into a zeppelin version of themselves, than there is when the person is sitting at your side. There is at times some problems with lag and occasionally comms problems, however the online mode is well supported and an excellent addition to the main game, with the ability to download player made maps from the online server.
There are a few minor hindrances with the game as a whole though; the story mode though vastly expanded and improved, lacks in some depth and cohesion at times and lacks the flair of certain newer shooters. The arcade modes are sometimes too similar and there are certain weak modes that are unlikely to hold your interest for long periods of time, though it depends on your own personal taste. The minor problem concerned with the transfer to EA was the dumbing down of some of the game making it slightly easier than the hardcore nature of the previous games, in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, yet the variable difficulty levels usually allow you to customise the challenge to your playing skills.
Overall this is a game, and a series, that has addictive multiplayer action and masses of features, many of which I have been unable to cover here such as; the huge mapmaker mode, challenge modes and arcade league. This game, though arguably removed slightly from the series due to the reduction in the hardcore nature of the previous games in terms of difficulty, provides a exhilarating gaming experience for veterans of the series or first time players and is, in my opinion, the best Splitters game yet.
Firstly, I was impressed considerably with the Sony Walkman, having previously owned an Ipod Mini it was a refreshing change and the design was eye catching and exciting in comparison.
The software included with the player, Sony's own Connect player, however was less impressive. The interface of the software in contrast to the player itself was rather confusing and complex. The time to import and export songs, from CD's and to the player respectively, was at times inconvienent and excessively slow in comparison to the ease and speed of ITunes.
However,after putting a considerable chunk of my music collection on to the lightweight player I was impressed by the features it offered. There were numerous search and selection options to be found. Including searching by initial, either on a song, artist or album. There were also a number of random selection techniques which could be based on genre, year and rating.
There was however in my opinion a lack of extra features that the ipod possessed such as games and a text reader, however in the players defence it is not always necessary for an MP3 player to have these capabilities, however in my opinion it would have been a valuable addition.
I did encounter problems with the player eventually though, the response time between selecting songs and it actually playing became excessive and unacceptable as my collection expanded. This may just have been an isolated problem however as I have yet to receive a replacement due to Sony's policy of repairing over replacing.
Overall the player, despite a lack of bonus features and some dodgy support software, was an excellent one. It had a brilliant sound quality and was supplied with good quality Seinhouser headphones. The controls were reasonably simple and easy to use, despite the lack of a single button switch off, which may just have been a problem due to laziness on my part.