Machine Code

January 3, 2023

Second sight (2004)

Filed under: — @ 12:23 am



Second Sight

Release date: Sep 21, 2004
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Free Radical
Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Windows, Xbox
Genres: Action, Third Person, First Person, Detective/investigation, sci-fi/futuristic, Shooter, Stealth

Official promo text:

    Look Again

    Exciting and different, Second Sight flexes its psychic muscle.

    Intriguing only begins to describe Second Sight, the new third-person thriller from TimeSplitters developer Free Radical.


    Two intertwining storylines
    Seventeen levels
    Wide variety of weapons and psychic abilities

    When Dr. John Vattic wakes up from a coma, he discovers scars all over his body and remembers almost nothing. Stuck in a faceless research facility, he quickly finds out that he is the experiment.

    During his escape, he realizes that he possesses paranormal powers. As Vattic gradually masters his newfound abilities, he also begins to recalls events six months previous in Siberia, when he accompanied a Special Forces unit investigating a mysterious laboratory. Something must have gone terribly wrong on that mission…

    You play as Dr. Vattic, a string bean with the power of the world in his head. The good doctor uses his psychic abilities, stealth and weapons knowledge to discover what happened on that fateful trip to one of the most remote areas of the world.

    Play in Two Worlds

    When Vattic starts to remember what happened in the past, Second Sight doesn’t go to a cut scene– it goes to a cut level. You control Vattic as he fights alongside the Special Forces unit in Siberia investigating a psychic research project that uses children as test subjects.

    Although Vattic is a psychic naysayer, he soon discovers that he possesses psychic powers and can communicate with the children. He also carries the responsibility of healing his troop members and infiltrating the enemy’s stronghold. Is Vattic simply remembering what happened or is he changing the future?

    In the 10 levels set in the present, Vattic relies heavily on stealth moves and his psychic skills to unlock doors and evade the men in black. The seven Siberian levels focus on more conventional run-and-gunplay. Second Sight keeps statistics on what type of psychic powers you use, how far you’ve traveled and who’s spilled more blood: you or the enemy.

    Psychic Powers

    Even without the psychic powers Vattic possesses, Second Sight would make for a good shooter. Vattic’s psychic abilities turn this game into a strategic challenge and a load of fun to play.

    Vattic possesses five psychic abilities: Telekinesis, Healing, Psi Attack, Charm and Projection. The coolest of the five has to be Projection. Any run-of-the-mill psychic can leave his body like it’s a dopey party trick. When Vattic leaves his body, however, he can possess another body. In his new skin, Vattic can, for a limited time, scout ahead, access computers and highly secured rooms or press buttons to unlock doors. Most impressively, he can make the possessed enemy shoot and kill his fellow guards.

    The mellower Charm ability briefly renders Vattic invisible and allows him to calm down frantic friendlies. Healing lets him patch up others as well as himself.

    The Psi Attack converts Vattic’s psychic energy into a massive attack against a bad guy. It’s very effective in stealth situations, but drains about half of Vattic’s psychic power meter.

    Telekinesis plays a big role in the game, but isn’t used as frequently as you might think. At first, Vattic uses telekinetic powers to distract guards. Later, he uses the power to disable cameras, flip switches and lift items. When his power becomes great, Vattic can use his telekinetic powers to lift and throw people. Sometimes this results in their demise. Other times it just knocks them out. Use Telekinesis to force snipers perched high above you to the ground, then move on.

    In our first run through of the game, we used Charm twice as much as the other powers. Gameplay is quite flexible, though, so you may find yourself using Telekinesis or Psi Attack more.

    Two difficulty levels add replayability.

    Visual Stunner

    After you learn the controls, which doesn’t take long, every other aspect of the game falls into place. The voice acting accentuates the action and gives the characters real personalities. Second Sight keeps the voice drama from being over the top.

    Vattic doesn’t talk like some beefy hero stereotype. He talks like your teacher (unless your teacher is a beefy stereotype). His everyman appearance and wry sense of humor makes him one of the most believable game characters we’ve seen in a long time. You’ll soon find yourself engrossed in his twisting story.

    Entertaining dialogue certainly helps, too. Of particular note is Vattic’s evolving relationship with Siberian squad-mate Jayne Wilde, whose well-argued willingness to suspend disbelief forms a worthy foil to Vattic’s skepticism. Even his name is a mild joke: “vatic” means “prophetic.”

    Vattic might sound like a teacher, but he shoots like a man possessed. With a sniper rifle in his hand, he can hit a head from a half-mile away. The scope of the gun shows in the bottom right of the screen and although locking onto a target isn’t simple it’s not difficult and won’t give you a headache.

    The game pauses while you switch between a weapon and a psychic ability. You choose from three cameras in which to view the game: first-person, third-person and third-person rotating. Third-person rotating lets you use the C Stick to move the camera 360 degrees. You’ll use this one most often. The first-person view is effective in some shooting situations, but you’re unable to walk while in this mode. Your targeting becomes better, of course, but your mobility is limited too much. Besides, Vattic is a pretty good shot in third-person rotating camera mode. And if you’re looking for blood spatter and bullet holes, you’ve come to the right place.

    If there is a gripe about Second Sight, it would be that moveable objects are too moveable. When you rev up your telekinetic power, blue swirls help you target the items that your power can affect. Some of these items are security cameras and fire hydrants. Others are boxes and miscellaneous debris. The problem is when Vattic runs into a box, it looks like he’s playing poor-man’s kickball. As soon as he comes in contact with a moveable item, it moves. We’re not talking a little nudge here. If you make Vattic spin in the middle of a group of boxes, he looks like a 150-pound tornado the way the boxes go flying. It’s a little cartoony, but it doesn’t take away from the scope of the game.


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