is a FPS through-and-through, with barely enough plot to really call the single-player campaign a 'game.' Of course, the multiplayer mode is where it's really at, but you've got to beat the levels in single-player mode to open up all the goodies to use to virtually annihilate your friends. This sort of bait-and-switch tactic works well for TimeSplitters
, keeping you interested in the single-player mode long enough to get all the goodies.
In the Story mode, the object is to find some item in the level, then get to some 'extraction point.' Sometimes said point is where you start the level, but other times you have to find it as well. Once you find the key item, the TimeSplitters start to phase in on the level, intent on killing you before you make it to the end of the level. This means that even if you clean out a level completely, there'll be plenty more baddies coming after you to finish you off. It's a great idea, and it keeps the game from being a 'creep and kill' since once they start popping in, there's usually too many to manage. That's not to say that the game's hard to control. The default settings are fantastic, and after a few minutes of fiddling with the controls, you'll have them down pat.
Doing everything in Story mode opens up scads of new characters to play, levels to run around on, and bots to fight against. And where do you use all of this? The Arcade mode, of course, and preferably with your friends. Up to four people can play on the screen, with an acceptably small loss of
framerate. It doesn't hurt that the multiplayer mode is a blast. It's also insanely configurable, from the level you play to the weapons you use and the AIs you fight. There's enough meat here to last you and a group of friends for years, which is understandable, as the developers are ex-Rare employees. Remember that little game Goldeneye? Yeah.
Now, oftentimes you'll find yourself thinking that the level design in TimeSplitters isn't that hot. And it's true -- not all of the levels make you go 'wow,' and a few of them are just... blah. But there's a remedy to that: build your own level. TimeSplitters comes with a level builder, allowing you to put together the arena of your dreams. You can choose the lighting (and even the phase of the lighting, if it strobes), the texturing, and how the rooms lay out. It can be a sprawling single-level design, or a tightly-packed multi-story complex. You decide. The level editor is simple to use and easy to understand, giving you the freedom to place anything you want, from player starts to ammo to weapons.
Even if the game's a little 'light,' especially in the Story mode -- even though you can do it with a friend, it doesn't have quite the same oomph that the multiplayer does -- it's plenty fun.