Hello all! So, last week, I checked out a game about manipulating time with sand.
This week, I took another look at a game with some time-travel stuff of it's own, though the focus is more on psychic powers and a pretty interesting plot.
Second Sight was a sort of quiet release by the now-sadly-defunct Free Radical (TimeSplitters). It came out in 2004 for the PS2, Xbox, PC, and GameCube. You play as one John Vattic, and the game begins with you waking up in a strange facility with amnesia. Making your way through said facility, John's psychic powers quickly manifest themselves-naturally through tutorials.
The twists start to occur when you find a computer early on that details who John is. See, you read about a mission John went on with a group of Marines, which includes a psychic named Jayne Wilde, six months ago. The computer file states she died on the mission, prompting a flashback where you save Jayne. At which point, you return to the present, where the computer now states Jayne is alive.
It's a cool twist to start the game on, and these temporal anomalies occur throughout the game. The plot mostly keeps you hooked on the admittedly short-to mid-length adventure.
A cool shot of Second Sight's unique aiming mechanic.
But none of that matters if the game doesn't play well, right? Well, Second Sight is pretty solid in the gameplay department. Much of John's psychic abilities are largely defensive in nature. You can throw boxes and junk with Telekinesis, of course, but mostly, you spend your time mind-controlling guards and cameras (yep) into not seeing you. You can also heal, which is nice, because you get shot a lot. There's astral projection as well, allowing you to scout ahead as an invisible mental image of yourself. Oh, and you can totally Darth Vader-choke people, which never really gets old.
Honestly, while it sounds awesome on paper, you sadly spend an awful lot of time shooting, and this kinda sucks in a game about psychic powers. Telekinesis in particular: targeting an enemy you wanted to mind-fling across the room was frustrating at best. Thankfully, the shooting is competent. You've got a light but healthy selection of guns to choose from, and locking on to enemies is easy. You can in fact lock on and move the reticle simultaneously, allowing you to pull off headshots-easier than you should be able to, actually.
There's also sniper rifles! See, when you aim a rifle, the scope view appears in the lower right-hand corner of the screen instead of dominating your field of view. Realistic? Hardly. But I always found it to be an interesting take on sniping, one that let you maintain situational awareness in the shooting-heavy "past" levels.
John and the officer have a disagreement.
My favorite part of Second Sight though, and I guess, the reason I write about it at all, is the overall design of the game. Specifically, the level and character design.
First, the levels. There's an early level that takes place in an asylum, and it's one of my favorite levels in gaming. See, it doesn't feel like a video game level. It feels like a real place. Anyone who's played it knows what I mean. In that level, you're dropped at the front gate, and it's up to you how to proceed. Guns blazing, stealthy approach, front door, heating vent...all are applicable. Hell, you can climb one of the guard towers and snipe all the guards if you like. Most of the levels follow this trend, feeling more like places than a waypoint path you have to follow. I mean, of course you have to go to set points, but the surrounding level just feels real. This is a philosophy I wish more games would follow. Though they're getting better.
Then there's the characters. Second Sight, having been designed by the same people who made TimeSplitters, features the same slightly elongated, almost cartoony character designs as that magnificent shooter series. It's a departure from the hyper-realism a lot of developers go for, but the characters have more...well, character this way. Think about Uncharted, for example, and how the characters in that had just a very slight cartoon thing going on. Second Sight takes it a bit further, but the end result is oozing with personality. I love it.
I am tired of these jokes about my giant hand. The first such incident occurred in 1956 when...
I really like Second Sight a lot, despite the psychic power gameplay not being all it could be, and the story, while compelling and with a cool twist, kind of derails a bit towards the ending. Still, it's a great game by a talented company that's sadly no more. It's gotta be dirt cheap these days, so pick up a copy. It's a great time. A brief, one shot kinda time, but a great one.
Thanks for reading! As always, leave comments, suggest future games to be featured as Game of the Week, and find me on Twitter! Also, catch up with my other article series here, and consider subscribing to my Patreon if you like my stuff!
Next week-We're gonna go look for ghosts. Grab your camera (Obscura)