Review: Second Sight

You could describe Second Sight as a third person action adventure featuring stealth, psychic abilities and a strong storyline. That's not exactly the most original premise gaming has ever seen. To top it off, you've even lost your memory and have to regain it over the course of the game. If you combine all these clichés things could get interesting though. Free Radical is quite a capable developer, they've more than proven that with TimeSplitters 2, but can they pull off a completely new game with success? You now the drill, the answer is written below, all you have to do is read!


Flashbacks, paranormal powers and more strangeness:

As we mentioned before, when you start the game you've lost all your memories. You wake up disoriented in a locked operating room, shaved bald and covered in scars and bandages. You soon find out that while your memory has gone, you've gained a nifty power. You can do telekinesis, you know, move object around with your mind. Using your new power you break free of your prison and set out to learn what happened to you that got you into this facility and made you lose your memories. As you explore the facility you start to remember things slowly, usually through flashbacks. These flashbacks are not just nifty cutscenes but playable levels. In the first one you find out that you're John Vattic, a doctor that got sent along with a military squad to investigate strange experiments in Siberia. This first flashback also serves as a tutorial, you learn the basic controls and you get to practice firing weapons. The game keeps on jumping between these two time periods. In the beginning they play almost like two separate games, the flashbacks a third person shooter and the present a stealthy action adventure with paranormal powers, but as your flashbacks get more and more recent the two begin to feel more connected.


Sam Fisher or John Rambo?:

In the beginning you slowly learn the controls and gain a new power every once in a while, so in the present stealth is the best option and in the flashbacks your guns are your best friends. But after a while you gain more destructive powers and find guns in the present, while you start getting powers in the flashbacks as well. This is when the game really starts getting interesting, you now have the choice to use your powers to conceal yourself and get through the levels unnoticed, or blast through them guns blazing and throwing guards around with your powers. Both ways are fun to play, but on occasion you'll have to combine them. If the fighting gets too hectic you can hide in a locker for while until your enemies have gone elsewhere to look for you and if you get tired of waiting and sneaking you can use your Psi-blast to knock a few guards out of the way. These different approaches also help the replayability. There are quite a few levels but the game isn't extremely long, so the fact that you can return to previous levels and try a new strategy to finish them is more than welcome.


Controller goodness:

This may be Free Radical's first third person title; it feels like they've never done anything else. You can choose between three camera standpoints; a camera that views the action from predetermined points, handy if you want to know which way you should look for interesting things, a camera that's controllable with the C-stick and a first person view in which you can't move but can look around. To use your powers or shoot a gun you simply hold L to lock onto a target (flip the C-stick to the side to switch targets) and press R to fire, lift things or whatever action you selected. Unfortunately this means you can't lift a guard up in the air while filling him with bullets, but you can't have everything. Besides, lifting him while choking him Darth Vader-style, chucking him in a corner and THEN fill him with bullets is pretty good alternative. Using your powers empties a power bar underneath your health bar, which gradually fills up again if you stop using them. The guns and powers control very nice, but it gets even better when you pick up a sniper rifle. The L-lock still works, but instead of the usual screen-filling sniper scope a discrete little scope pops up in the bottom-right corner of the screen. The scope automatically zooms in far enough to see what it's locked onto, so you can always aim quickly without having to worry about zooming. If you're not satisfied with the L-lock (it always locks on guards' bellies), you can even aim your lock a little higher with the C-stick to make the bullet hit brains instead of guts.


Second Sight's sights:

If you've played TimeSplitters 2 you know Free Radical has a pretty nice art style. They argue that you can't make hyperrealistic models that move like real people, the movement's never perfect, so you immediately notice they're not real. If you make your characters look more cartoony though, in their own reality they can look more convincing than realistic characters. They've put this philosophy in practice again in Second Sight, so instead of high polygon realistic characters you get very stylish models with long legs and slightly cartoony faces. This works great, it gives the characters a very distinctive personality and makes the animations look really good. The worlds they move around in look more realistic, think of labs full of breakable objects and a Siberia complete with falling snow and paths through mountains. There are also a host of nice visual effects that come with your powers, your Psi-blast deforms the picture in a very cool way and if you use up your power bar completely your screen distorts in a flash.


Final Say:

All these elements combined with very atmospheric music and great voice acting makes Second Sight a new game that deserves success. We didn't go into the paranormal powers too deeply in this review, because a great part of the fun in this game is getting new powers and discover what you can do with them. A lot of the puzzles in the game require you to use your powers in ways you often haven't thought of before, so you can understand we want to leave it up to you to discover all their uses. We can tell you though that your powers keep growing and that the story keeps on getting interesting twists throughout the whole game. The end may come a bit sooner than you'd like but you can always to tackle the game in a different way. The game keeps track of a lot of statistics for each level, so you can also try to do speedruns or go for high stealth and morality ratings. So if you're looking for a fresh game with a nice story, look no further, Second Sight tells a good story but doesn't let it get in the way of good gameplay.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Nice fresh game that plays swiftly and looks very nice indeed.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Cool use of powers
Nice story
Multiple approaches possible


Not very long
A bit linear

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