Second Sight (PlayStation 2) review
"Do you like bald men? Yes? Like men with hair? Yes? Well then a person like you must be in a bit of a dilemma over which third-person action/adventure games to invest in. Well, for all those who base their purchases on the state of the characters hair (you know who you are), Second Sight may be the game for you. "
Do you like bald men? Yes? Like men with hair? Yes? Well then a person like you must be in a bit of a dilemma over which third-person action/adventure games to invest in. Well, for all those who base their purchases on the state of the characters hair (you know who you are), Second Sight may be the game for you.
OK, so hair may have absolutely nothing to do with it. Actually, what I was referring to there was the way this game's story switches from the past (when the character had a nice, full head of hair) to the present (where the character has a shaven slaphead). Actually towards the end of the game, you even play out some sections in the future (events which may happen, unless you change them, of course).
The game begins with your character (John Vattic), waking to find himself being held in a medical facility, unaware of where he is, how he got there, or who is keeping him there. Instead of half the story being played out in the opening cut-scene, you're thrown into the action right at this point. Straight away, you realise that you're not quite right. You seem to have been gifted (or cursed) with psychological powers. The ability to do certain, normally unachievable tasks, using the power....OF YOUR MIND!
As you're slowly reminded of things which occurred in the past, you play your way through flashbacks which John is remembering. It turns out John was a member of a small team called Winter Ice, who were attempting to discover what exactly wsa going on in a research facility in the USSR. The missions, of which there are 17, alternate between the present and the flashbacks which slowly piece together an explanation of how John Vattic came to wake up in a medical facility.
The game's plot is actually quite varied as you progress. To start with, your main objective is to rescue a female member of the Winter Ice team who is being held in a mental institution. After this task is complete, however, it seems that the story sort of drifts off in another direction entirely. Of course, it never leaves the overall plot of finding out why you were being held prisoner, but the rescue-story of the other team-member just seemed to drift off.
But it does eventually gather itself together again, and if you were left feeling slightly confused at the end of any of the missions, the final mission of the game certainly ties up any of the loose ends.
Now, controls really couldn't be any more simple, even for the psychological actions, it's all very straight forward once you try it a few times. When I heard from somewhere before playing the game that you have the options of carrying out missions by using your psychological powers, or by simply running in, guns a-blaze, I thought "Pah!" In previous games with similar 'gimmicks', I found that no matter how many zany little powers the character is given, 90% of the time, I run in splitting wigs like nobodies business and at times forget I'm even blessed with special powers. Not here. No siree. In fact, I found that I was actually pleased when new powers were discovered. It's a game where it's actually a lot more fun to use your special mind-powers that run about like an idiot shooting everything in sight. Of course, using mind-powers doesn't rule out shooting, you'll still have plenty of that to do. It's unavoidable.
So what are these powers Mr Vattic has at his fingertips? Well, here they are - telekinesis, healing, psi blast, charm and projection. And yes, I did say 'healing'. In fact, because you "Psi-meter" reloads after a short period of time (you need this to perform psi-powers), you effectively have limitless health. You can just charge yourself up when you're a bit bashed up. So you won't need to go hunting for any hidden medi-kits under staircases...because there won't be any. Perhaps the psi-power I enjoyed using most was the "Projection", where Vattic crouched down and 'projected' a hologram of himself which you then controlled. As this hologram is invisible, you could use it to investigate the next area in order to check out the position of any bad guys. Of course, Vaddic's physical body remains in the original place, so he's vulnerable to attack. Another nice feature with the Projection power, is if you walk up to an enemy and tap X, you have the ability to possess them, and can therefore start gunfights between enemy soldiers, which can help old John out now and again.
As much fun as the psi-powers are to use, the combat is just as good too. In the missions which involve you fighting alongside your Winter Ice comrades, you get to show off your gun-skills nicely. Leaning against boxes for cover while peering round the side, before jumping out and popping a few caps in someone's ass. The animation is all very smooth and it's highly enjoyable. One complaint I do have it that I would have enjoyed a little more cooperative missions with the team. Your time with them seemed to end a little too quickly.
All the characters are well designed and voice acting is surprisingly good, especially from our main-man John Vaddic. If the graphics and human models look a little bit familiar, it's because the game is created by Free Radical, those god-like people behind the Timesplitter series ("time" seems to be a common topic for these guys, eh?)
Although the storyline has it's moments, in the end, you can't really call it an epic. Don't get me wrong, it certainly holds your attention. But if you're looking for an action-packed, no-holds-barred blaster, then a tense thriller revolving round memory-loss probably won't be your cup of tea. It's not exactly epic in length either, as it took me around 9 and a half hours of playing to complete.
All in all, Second Sight is an exciting supernatural thriller with enough action and special powers to keep most gamers occupied. If you're looking for a game that won't test you too much in the way of skill and puzzle-solving, then this could well be it.
Community review by harvester (April 12, 2006)
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