Second Sight PlayStation 2 Official Website
Developed by Free Radical Design
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99
When the developers of the award winning TimeSplitters series decide to release a new game it deservedly gains a lot of attention. This time Free Radical has a psychological thriller with a large dose of stealth that is quite unlike any game that's gone before. Free Radical have gained their reputation with the classic TimeSplitters and even better sequel but Second Sight is not simply another third-person shooter. The main character has special powers that give you a degree of flexibility when deciding how to do things. The game is a unique blend of styles that come together with pleasing results and it's great to see a game attempt something different.
Second Sight put you in the shoes of John Vattic although you'll begin the game as Patient JV-034. The game begins with Vattic in a high security medical facility. You get an initial impression that Vattic is some kind of madman who has been experimented with. You take control of Vattic as he comes round from being sedated. He's not in good shape and can barely keep on his own feet. His immediate priority is to escape from his confinement and he soon discovers he has special psychic abilities that allow him to use telekinesis to move and use items he should not naturally be able to. After finding out he can also restore his own health he manages to acquire the security key card, a map of the floor that he's on and the code for the elevator. Once he enters the elevator the game will switch to events in the past when Vattic was Dr. John Vattic for the military. Rather than simply watching cutscenes from the past though you get to play through them. Switching back and forth from the present to the past is something you'll do a lot in Second Sight.
What's really good about Second Sight is that for the most part you have a choice of how to complete the missions. It's not always a good option to take the rather obvious all guns blazing approach and with Vattic's psychic abilities and stealth manoeuvres you don't have to. As we mentioned in the last paragraph Vattic can manipulate items that he can't reach and this is a useful ability. Later in the game his powers improve and Vattic can even lift and throw his enemies, which is definitely a better option than a full on attack. He will acquire other psychic powers later in the game too (including Charm, Psi-blast and Projection) and it's these abilities that keep the game interesting and offer a certain degree of replay value too.
The quality of the control system is everything in a game such as Second Sight and thankfully the controls feel good. Items can be focused on with the L2 button whilst the R2 button will use your selected psychic ability. If you're using telekinesis for example you'll also need to use the right analogue stick (in addition to the focus and use functions) in order to move the object. This may seem like it's going to be a little clumsy but it actually works very well indeed. Movement is made with the left analogue stick and pressing the square button will enable you to crouch. Pressing the R1 button when next to a wall will allow you to move stealthily in a wall hug manoeuvre should you need to remain undetected.
If you've played TimeSplitters 2 you'll know that although the graphics weren't the most detailed (although most would agree it's still one of the better looking games on the PlayStation 2) they did have a pleasing distinctive style and this distinctive style can again be seen in Second Sight. The game is played from a third-person perspective and it works really well most of the time. You can alter the camera angle somewhat by pressing the triangle button and this switches from a fixed camera angle to one where you can rotate the camera with the right analogue stick. Some might moan about the lack of a radar to show the location of enemies but to be honest it would probably make the game too easy as well as taking a lot of tension out of the game.
Whatever else you can say about Second Sight you can't argue with the quality of the subtitling, which is superb. By default the subtitles are disabled but once they are enabled in the options menu everything is subtitled. The cutscenes are subtitled which is essential as it means you can follow the game's story. Even more impressive is the comments that Vattic makes (when he's thinking to himself) are subtitled and this is something you don't often see. As we've already mentioned stealth plays a significant role in Second Sight and the ability to know enemies are nearby is crucial. Should enemies be audible to Vattic their speech is subtitled so you'll know when enemies are nearby. Aside from the excellent subtitles you'll also receive text hints/reminders of the buttons you need to press to perform certain actions which is very useful, especially for the first few missions. All other information within the game is shown in text too so you'll have no problems with Second Sight.
Free Radical Design gained an impressive reputation with the TimeSplitters series and that reputation has only been improved with Second Sight. In fact there are few disappointments with Second Sight. The game contains 17 missions in total which may seem impressive but none are actually that long so it possible to go through them all rather quickly, especially on the normal difficulty setting (a challenging difficulty mode is also available though). You can't actually save your progress mid-mission and should you be killed you'll have to do all of the mission again. However because no mission is going to take too long this isn't really as big an issue as it might have been. On the whole though Second Sight is an enjoyable experience that's different from the usual style of games that we see and it's great to see that deaf gamers are so well catered for.
Game Rating: 8.4/10
Second Sight is quite unlike anything else on the PlayStation 2 and it deserves your attention. The length of the game is a little disappointing though and some might not like the lack of a mid-mission save.
Excellent use of subtitling makes the game enjoyable for deaf gamers.