has never been a story-driven series. Instead of a time-consuming single-player experience, past games have instead focused more on multiplayer options; the single-player game was just a way to unlock new characters, which is what makes TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
the odd-man out in the franchise. Though the game still leans heavily on multiplayer, there is actually a decent story to go along with the single-player mode.
Story mode finds you, as the series' long-time protagonist named Cortez, traipsing through time in an effort to track down stolen time crystals and a madman in search of eternal life. Admittedly, the story isnít that deep, and follows a setup similar to ďBill & Tedís Excellent AdventureĒ (that is, if Bill and Ted had guns). Each time period has Cortez dropping in on key characters of the time and getting involved in their activities. Conveniently, their activities also tie in with Cortezís mission, so it all works out in the end.
During missions, Cortez also teams up with himself, or at least, his future... err, past... present self. Regardless, the tense points in the story require Cortez to cover his own back while solving puzzles or taking out bosses. The catch to all the help is that you eventually have to go back and provide the help for your past self once youíre your future self. In other words, you have to play a few portions of each level at least twice, each time with different goals. Even though it sounds like it would be an annoying time-filler, the concept is actually enjoyable. The only time I got really frustrated with it was one scenario towards the end that had me solving a very poorly planned puzzle sequence multiple times.
Story mode is an improvement over the past two games, but still doesnít hit the mark. The entire story clocks in at about six hours total and can easily be completed in one day. The time periods you travel to arenít as diverse as past games, and you actually end up visiting the same time period more than once. This is a shame because the story is enjoyable and keeps you playing, if just to see Cortez try to get away with his corny ďTime to Split!Ē catch phrase or one of the gameís other jokes.
Stepping away from Story mode, Future Perfect offers all of the bells and whistles youíd expect from the series. Arcade mode is essentially a single-player version of multiplayer that puts you up against bots instead of real players, while Challenge mode presents a list of wacky stunts to compete in. Both modes are worthwhile to play through if youíre looking to unlock all of the gameís characters, but they still feel unfinished and at some times tacked on. Online gameplay is the most exciting of the gameís extra modes and one that has been sorely missed in the series.
Multiplayer offers several play types like Vampire, Capture the Flag, and the ever-popular Deathmatch. Compared to other FPSs, Future Perfect offers more up-tempo gameplay that feels a lot like Perfect Dark.
Rounding out the different play modes is the seriesí trademark Map Maker mode. The mode is very easy to use, and gives you as much, or as little, freedom as you want. The number of tools available enables you to make simple models of your house or office, or full blown scenarios if youíd like. Iíve even noticed some re-makes of GoldenEye maps floating around.