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Free Radical
September 21st, 2004

Second Sight

What would happen if psychic powers really did exist? What would happen if the military could control such powers? That’s what Free Radical is dabbling with in their new, original title, Second Sight. After bringing the TimeSplitters series to the GameCube, they’ve branched off from that and tried something new. Thankfully, it’s been working out so far and Codemasters has since picked up the distribution rights. While they still haven’t set aside the series that they’ve been working on for so many years with EA, it’s still excellent to see such a talented team of developers working on something new. Now, while we’ve been hearing the title over and over again, what exactly IS this game?



In Second Sight, the player takes control of John Vattic, the main protagonist in the stealth-action title. Starting out, John finds himself in a medical facility with naught but the name written on his wrist-band and strange powers emanating from his mind. The rest of his memory is completely erased. Progressing through the game leads to flashbacks which describe what happened before he found himself escaping the facility and how he came to receive such amazing psychic powers. Throughout seventeen levels, half of those will slowly feed the storyline to the player and refresh the void that is Vattic’s memory. Vattic will run into several other interesting characters, both past and present, such as Jayne Wilde and the old curmudgeon Professor Grienko.

While the immersive storyline is intriguing to say the least, the more impressive features within this game is the play mechanics. If you own a GameCube, you’ve probably had your fair share of stealth-action titles. The folks at Free Radical know that and are prepared to bring home the bacon, so to speak. While stealth plays a big part within the game, the biggest feature is the psychic powers. John’s first power is Telekinesis, which is easily the most useful power in the game. With telekinesis, you can move any inanimate object that isn’t bolted to the ground and throw it at anything, or anyone, who gets in your way. Later, you’ll learn how to control this power even more and pick up enemies, bash them around a bit and toss them like the rag dolls they are.

Other powers include projection, which allows John to control an out-of-body experience, which is invisible to enemies and cameras. Fortunately, with this power, you can reach new areas by deactivating security systems. You’ll soon learn possession, which uses the projection power to take control of enemy units and use them against their co-workers. There’s also a Charm power which works much in the same way as projection, but you’ll be spotted by cameras. Healing is just what it sounds like and there are also a couple of different psi-attacks, which uses your powerful mind powers to dispatch your foes. Unfortunately, you can only equip one psi-power at a time, but switching automatically pauses the game. Using these powers requires drawing from the pool of energy which is much like the way your health is measured. Fear not, however, as your pool regenerates for some more psi-mayhem.

Of course, not all of it can be fun and games. In the past, before the “incident”, John didn’t necessarily have the incredible powers he has in the distorted present. He must rely on his abilities to take cover, sneak around enemies and, of course, shoot to kill. The arsenal of weapons includes the usual assault rifles, an MP5 machine gun, pistols, and tranq guns. The most interesting weapon we’ve seen has to be the sniper rifle. Of course, no shooter would be complete without a sniper rifle, but Free Radical has played around with the scope aspect. Rather than switch to a different “first-person” mode where you’re looking through the scope itself, a small screen pops up on the lower right hand side of the HUD, allowing the player to look through the scope there. Reminiscent of the Silent Scope series, it’s very helpful, especially if you want to still want to keep an eye out on your surroundings. The lock-on targeting is helpful and can be toggled easily with the analog control. However, unlike other lock-on shooters, you can easily tweak your target reticule for headshots.

Rounding things out is the amazing visuals found in Second Sight. Free Radical is just one of those developers that leaves their signature on a game and you can automatically point to it and tell exactly who developed that game. Since the game is strictly a single-player based game, as opposed to the TimeSplitters series, Free Radical has been able to bump up their technology with the saved memory. These improvements include more polygons, textures, as well as details and shadows within the environments. They’ve also been able to stream their environments into the game which they haven’t been able to do in the past. What’s more is that the animations used in this title are absolutely amazing. The characters react naturally to their emotions and their situations. This makes the main characters within the storyline much more sympathetic. To put it simply, the characters just exude character, making them more memorable. We all know that Free Radical can do action right. Now it's time to flex their intellectual muscle.

word on the street

Is new necessarily better? That’s been the rumblings around the gaming community with the upcoming release of Second Sight. Has this drawn away from the development of the next TimeSplitters? After checking out both games at this year’s E3, we can easily say otherwise. Will it win over the gaming crowd, though? Seeing as how Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy on the PS2 and Xbox slipped through the gap, maybe Codemasters and Free Radical can pull through and bring us an even better game.

press release notes

  • Rich dual time narrative allows you to explore the past and present: actions you take in the past affect events in the future
  • Mind-blowing psionic abilities include Psi-Blast, Telekinesis, Projection and Charm
  • Powerful weapons supplement your psi powers including handguns, tranquilizers and machine guns
  • Open ended gameplay blends stealth action, fighting and shooting, allowing multiple ways to complete objectives
  • Explore an intense suspense filled adventure as you unravel the mystery and reveal the terrifying truth behind your powers and your past
  • Powerful rag doll and full interactive environment physics bring the Second Sight world to life
  • Locations span the globe: the tundra of Siberia, streets of New York, a Vermont Asylum and more


After months and months of whisperings, Second Sight is nearly upon us. Has Free Radical created gold once again? Or simply cracked away at an iron block for a couple of years? In all seriousness, it’s excellent to see something new from these guys. Good or bad, they should be commended for the effort. In any case, we’ll see once we get our hands on this promising new title.

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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