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First Impressions: TimeSplitters 2

Free Radical’s homage to GoldenEye has arrived! Eurogamer stops in its tracks...

We love this time of year, we really do. As developers rush to get their Christmas goodness onto the shelves on time, us lucky gaming pups have a feeding frenzy at the gaming zoo as quality software arrives on a thrice daily basis.

Our friend on the right is biting metal
Let's dance!

With that in mind, we greeted TimeSplitters 2's arrival like an excitable hound hailing the return of its faithful lord and master, and prepared to lavish it with enough slobber to drown in.

Do we sound excited enough? Good, well so should you if you have a pulse, because TimeSplitters 2 is already looking like the answer to every console owning FPS fan's dream.

Firstly, the controls are the sweetest, most responsive we've ever come across for a console FPS. Gone are the days of making wild lurching movements as you attempt to move yourself around. Suddenly the PS2 Dual Shock feels like it was positively made for games of this type. For the first time, the old "I wish I could use a keyboard and mouse" moans are becoming redundant. David Doak and co. deserve hearty congratulations for this - and just about every other area of the game for that matter.

The visuals are also stylistically beyond just about anything attempted on the previously humble PS2. In the tradition of GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and TimeSplitters, Free Radical's latest masterpiece oozes quality in every area: the animation is first class, the character models superb, while the overall look has an a crafted comic uniqueness about it, a whole world away from the Quake 3 and Unreal powered FPSes. Sadly there's no 60Hz mode, but thankfully there are no borders. At all. It all moves without a trace of frame rate loss - even four player multiplayer is slick. Rejoice!

Tons of modes

Unlike the original, the challenge mode is unlocked from the beginning, which will delight those (like us here at Eurogamer) that enjoyed the Challenge mode above the fairly thrown together single player campaign. Fortunately, the story mode in TS2 has been lavished with the kind of multiple objective attention that made GoldenEye and Perfect Dark so enjoyable, although remember this is a first impression - we're confident the remaining eight levels will be right on the button too.

Multiplayer wise, there's four player split screen support, and more modes than you can shake a pair of maracas at. Suffice to say you won't be bored - there's even a map builder for when you've had enough of the maps provided. If you can be bothered with that sort of thing, of course.

With the release date set for October 18th, there are just a few more days to wait for its arrival. And our advice is put this right at the top of your wanted list - you won't be disappointed. Check out our full review in a couple of weeks time, when we'll know all there is to know about the best console FPS to arrive since Halo.