Second Sight Review

Developer: Free Radical Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: September 21, 2004 Also On: GCN, PC, PS2 and Xbox

As most gamers know, Free Radical, the developers of Second Sight, was formed from ex-Rare members that had worked on some of the best games of all time. While TimeSplitters 2, Free Radical’s last project, felt like a distant cousin to GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark, Second Sight takes the developer in a completely different direction.

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Second Sight is a story-driven action game that tells the story of John Vattic. Early on in the game, the player discovers the recent events in Dr. Vattic’s life. Without going into too much detail, he is recruited into a military squad to investigate a supposed maniacal doctor. He breaks out of a psychiatric hospital and into an insane asylum. While the majority of the game has a moody, dark setting, there are a few missions with a lighthearted feel. While it’s unfortunate a story-based game has a mediocre story it does have enough twists and turns to keep the player interested until the end.

While the story cutscenes help break up the gameplay, it’s not the reason you’ll stay playing through the 15 hours or so of the game. The main reason to play Second Sight is the psychological powers that the player can use. Telekinesis can be used to open switches or throw enemies into walls, a “charm� effect can be used to become temporarily invisible and a cool effect where the player can move out of his body and interact with objects that were previously unreachable, just to name a few. Most of the puzzles in the game involve one of the effects, but they’re all executed in a clever way as to not be so obvious.

The targeting system is executed nicely, though not flawlessly. When the targeting trigger is depressed, the left thumbstick controls the aiming reticule while the right thumbstick controls the player. While this default setup works decent from a console perspective, it can’t compete with a good mouse and keyboard combination. There are a variety of guns that John can use in the game including a pistol, a tranquilizer, a sub-machine gun and, my personal favorite, the sniper rifle.

Second Sight’s visuals have a distinct, darker feel, as I mentioned earlier. The scenes that take place in the past, before everything went haywire, have a crisp, modern look, whereas the scenes that take place in the present have a green hue that gives the game a more film-like subdued feel. This coloring works great and helps the player know what part of the story is being played through. Most of the Psi-effects have great visual effects to match. The Cloning ability immediately comes to mind, where the ‘cloned’ player glows with a blue tint and flickers similar to holograms in Star Wars. It’s hard to describe, but it looks beautiful.

The sound in the game works well also. Environmental sounds fit with the level and sound effects sound like they should. The voice acting isn’t fantastic but it’s good enough to provide suspense or a laugh every now and then.

Second Sight is a nice diversion for a rainy weekend. The story will keep you entertained and the psychological effects will keep you thinking of the game for weeks. Unfortunately, there’s no real reason to play through the game twice, but the length of the game warrants a good time the first time through.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.7
Written by Chris Review Guide

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