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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
Free Radical Design
GENRE: Action
September 21, 2004
Second Sight

Second Sight

 Written by D'Marcus Beatty  on December 21, 2004

Review: The Second time we saw this plotline?

Second Sight follows closely behind Midway's Psi-Ops, the surprisingly good action oriented game with a similar plot. Basically, both games have an amnesiac with psychic powers who must prevail against evil and gradually gains all of his superhuman abilities through flashback sequences. The similarities are obvious, and so are the differences. Psi-Ops is geared more towards action junkies, while Second Sight's more cerebral story is for people who actually listen to dialogue and don't just wait for the next explosion or car-chase.

Second Sight tells the story of John Vattic, who wakes up without any memory of who he is. However, he quickly discovers that he is possessed of powerful psychic abilities, and he uses these powers in concert with assorted firearms to defend himself and discover just who he is and how he gained these powers.

The gameplay in Second Sight revolves around two time periods. The present has psychic John Vattic and the past involves pre-pyschic John Vattic who must rely on firearms. The two storylines weave together to give players the whole picture and the storytelling is done quite well, actually becoming one of the best features of the game. This is a definite advantage over Psi-Ops, whose storyline was overly cheesy and seemed to be just an afterthought to the action. The game encourages stealth, allowing Vattic to perform a number of stealth game staples, such as sidling along walls and peeking around corners to avoid detection. In addition to sneaking, Vattic has the aforementioned psychic powers, which include telekinesis, healing (for self or NPCs), psi blast, charm, and projection. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but psi-blast allows Vattic to attack enemies with psychic energy, charm allows him become invisible to other humans (but cameras are still a problem), and projection allows Vattic to actually leave his body and explore as a non-corporeal entity. As an astral projection, Vattic cannot be harmed or detected, and can possess others, but leaves his physical body completely defenseless.

The graphics are easily recognizable to anyone who's played any of the Timesplitters games. Second Sight has the same character models as their FPS predecessor, with characters who have a realistic yet pleasantly cartoonish effect.

One of Second Sight's most glaring flaws is the fact that the psychic abilities, which should set this game apart, really aren't as effective as a good old bullet in most situations. For experimentation, all the powers are fun and have their applications, especially healing, but for efficiency, shooting an enemy is just better than telekinesis or psi-blast. Another complaint is that the telekinesis doesn't really seem to convey weight to the player, so that flinging foes around isn't as satisfying as it could be. Finally, the psychic powers aren't quite as accessible as they should be. Only one power can be used at a time and each power must be selected from an in-game scrolling menu. In effect, in an intense firefight, if a player wanted to use psi-blast, but was currently using healing, he would have to scroll through a menu until he found the desired power, which ticks off precious seconds and pulls the player out of the gaming experience. Psi-Ops does beat Second Sight in this respect as all of the powers are instantly accessible through the press of the button.

Bottom Line
All in all, Second Sight is definitely an enjoyable experience. Good graphics, interesting abilities and an absorbing storyline make this one of the more involving titles of the year. It does miss the mark on a few points, but overall, Second Sight will move you, even without telekinesis.

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