Second Sight - PS2 review

4 out of 5
£40

For

Psychic abilities add something extra

Against

A touch unoriginal of late

Second Sight describes itself as a Stealth Action Epic, a genre that has been in plentiful supply of late. We got our hands on the PS2 version, to see what the creators of the successful TimeSplitters could bring to the gaming world.

You play John Vattic, an eminent researcher who awakes from a coma in a strange medical facility. From the start, it all sounds sort of familiar, and from the initial scenes and the general design of the cover and titles, you expect this to be a horror game. But that’s where you are wrong. The storyline, which is strong but not so original, plays into the game very well - so much so, I’m not going to reveal much more here as a blatant spoiler.

When Vattic awakes from his coma, he is in pretty bad shape, and it emerges that he has some form of psychic powers. As you progress through the game things get clearer, and you learn more about what is going on, and what you can do. The interesting feature in this game, which I think deserves special note, is the way they fill in the gaps in history. Rather than a cutscene memory, you play levels in the past to fill in the gaps. It is an excellent way of giving the story credibility.

Control of Vattic is complex because of the range of things he can do. Not only can you fight like a normal soldier, with all the range of stealth moves and so on, but you also have these psychic powers to contend with, so you’re going to need to figure out how to use all the buttons. Fortunately one of the ‘past’ levels you play is a training level, so you get to learn as you go along. The psychic powers are gently revealed to you, with each being needed as you progress. It does get confusing, and you might find yourself using mind powers to blow up a computer, rather than fire your pistol, but it slowly comes together.

Talking about the psychic abilities, think about Jedi powers, and that’s something close. The most fun thing is using telekinesis to pick up a dustbin and throw it at an attacker. Using these skills with normal attacks makes Vattic a deadly weapon, and therein lies the problem, at least, as far as the authorities are concerned. You get the feeling that it’s a case of man with special powers being hunted down, which is why it feels unoriginal - we’ve seen many of Marvel’s heroes on the wrong side of the law.

Graphically, its fairly slick, but not over the top. There is a good level of detail and texture to surfaces and it is a semi-destructible environment. There are the normal occurrences of ‘soft’ walls that objects sometimes poke through, but the game runs smoothly, so who’s complaining?

Verdict

Overall, the gameplay and the storyline complement each other well, and ensure hours of gaming fun. It seems a strange time to launch such a playable game, but I guess it's going to be a welcome candidate for filling stockings and time during the coming winter. To pick out the single most impressive thing, it has to be the dual-narrative that evolves as you play. In short, it is a very impressive package, and a serious competitor for the MGSs and Splinter Cells out there.