Even if the controls aren’t ideal, the backward compatible Xbox version is such a gift
[Update: If you were struggling to aim in the Xbox backward-compatible versions of TimeSplitters 2 and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, the team has implemented an update for the controller sensitivity, according to Xbox’s Jason Ronald. Granted, it’s not what I would call “perfect,” but it’s a noticeable step up from before. In TS2, I was able to get a silver medal in Simian Shootout after a few attempts, so it has already made an impact.]
Just in case you didn’t hear the recent good news, the Xbox team dropped one big final batch of backward-compatible Xbox games, and fans got not one but two TimeSplitters titles. You can fire up TimeSplitters 2 or TimeSplitters: Future Perfect on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S with a disc, or pay a super-reasonable $10 for the digital versions. It’s not that easy to find BC titles on the Xbox storefront unless you already know what to look for, so I feel like the word is still getting out. There is one thing to note about the aiming, though.
The aiming in this backward-compatible Xbox version of TimeSplitters 2 is, in a word, hyper. And I don’t just mean in comparison to contemporary shooters, which is a stark contrast on its own. It even stands out in relation to the Xbox/GameCube/PS2 originals. I’d say the aiming goes from zero to 100 in an instant, but it’s actually more like zero to 1,000. Anything but the absolute slightest nudge of the right stick will whip your aim around.
In the chaos of split-screen multiplayer with bots and other players and wacky modes and modifiers, it’s not the worst. With very patient stealth (and map/AI knowledge), the campaign can be bested. But in the higher-stakes Arcade League and Challenge Mode missions, which are just as much of a draw as anything else in TimeSplitters 2, oh boy.
Arcade levels like Can’t Handle This — the one where you have to kill way too many sentient hands with Tommy Guns as a mobster — and Golem Guru — where you’re dueling a Stone Golem who can shrug off rockets — were hard back in the day. Getting gold medals now, in 2021, feels like even more of an accomplishment. In some cases, like the Simian Shootout challenge with flying targets, I will absolutely settle for silver.
Granted, the aiming in TimeSplitters 2 is something you can potentially get used to with time, as I kinda sorta have. I’ve developed this weird new muscle memory where I rely much more on my character’s movement than normal to try and get the reticule lined up. I’m still having a wonderful time, though. Nothing else scratches that TimeSplitters itch.
The Xbox BC version looks great and generally runs really well outside of some rare, short-lived hitching I’ve noticed in a couple of spots in TS2 — it could just be a bit better.
Other players have expressed their concerns, too. It’s unclear if any additional work can be done by the backward compatibility team to tone down the way the aiming ramps up, or if we’re stuck with it. For what it’s worth, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is easier to acclimate to, and it has more options, so if that’s your preferred game, you’re better off.