Second Sight

From developers Free Radical (creators of the excellent TimeSplitters series) comes Second Sight, a third-person stealth-action adventure that revolves around a character with psychic abilities.

It's not had quite as high a profile as is it perhaps deserves - which is unfortunate because, after getting stuck into the game for a good few weeks now, we've discovered a game that's quite remarkable. It's so full of character, so full of wonderfully original touches and so refreshing to play, that we're hotly tipping this to be one of the finest games to come out this year.

You take control of John Vattic, a man who wakes up in a medical facility with no memory - but the ability to manipulate objects using only his mind. Throughout the early stages of the game you're awarded with more and more abilities. You can heal yourself, make yourself invisible and use psychic attacks that throw the enemy back with a blast of energy. Using these powers, it's up to you to figure out how, and why, you came to be like this. And it's here that the game starts getting all clever.

Levels alternate between the present and flashbacks to the past. In the present-day, John is trying to regain his memory while escaping and then avoiding those out to get him whereas, in the past, Vattic is assisting a special forces team that's trying to infiltrate a military base to locate a deranged scientist. Initially, each time period offers distinctly different playing styles - with the present-day, psychic John Vattic having to rely on his mental abilities and stealth to get ahead, while the levels that take place in the past present you with more aggressive gun battles.

Eventually, both game styles merge allowing you to choose how to use your abilities to solve any situations and objectives you're faced with. Think of a cross between Metal Gear Solid and 007: Everything Or Nothing with the diversity of choice offered by something like Hitman 2 and you'll have a good idea of what to expect from this.

Tying the action together is a superb plot. The dialogue and voice acting is strong throughout, supporting wonderfully cinematic cut-scenes that slowly reveal details of a gripping conspiracy, without ever being intrusive or overstaying their welcome. Visually the game is striking too. It's not the most detailed but what's there is clear and crisp. Particularly note-worthy are the character models which shun realism in favour of a more stylised, caricatured look that, while strangely similar to Free Radical's TimeSplitters 2, really helps to give the individuals in the game a level of personality that's so lacking these days.

Needless to say we're really impressed by what Second Sight has to offer, at least in so far as it delivers both as a stealth game as well as an all-out action-adventure, while still managing to inject some much-needed originality into both genres and carving itself a niche all of its own. A game well worth keeping an eye on.

Second Sight is released for PS2, Xbox and Gamecube in September