Second Sight (video game)
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|Developer(s)||Free Radical Design|
|Release date(s)||GameCube, PlayStation 2 & Xbox
Second Sight is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by Free Radical Design and published by Codemasters for GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. The storyline follows an American parapsychology researcher in his attempts to recover his memory about his past and a mission he undertook with a specialist taskforce of the U.S. Marines, all while trying to understand his new mental powers and why he has them.
In Second Sight, players control the protagonist, Dr. Vattic, through a series of levels, moving and controlling his actions through a third-person perspective, though there are moments when they either can operate in or be switched to a first person viewpoint (such as crawling through a vent, for example). The game features gun combat with a variety of pistols, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles, featuring a lock-on ability with the flexibility of being able to manually aim a reticle to specific parts of an enemy for better accuracy. In addition to guns, players can use cover, and can perform hand-to-hand combat if they get close enough to an enemy to do so. However, much of the game emphasizes the use of stealth to get around enemies rather than brute force, along with minor puzzle-solving. If the player is spotted when trying to be stealthy, an alarm mode is triggered which increases the number of enemies in the section of a level they are currently in, whose goal is to search for and eliminate the player unless they can avoid and hide from them until the alarm is cancelled. Along with an array of conventional weapons to use, Vattic unlocks a variety of psionic abilities to supplement his abilities, of which the majority are meant to be used in either being defensive, avoiding detection or healing wounds.
The game takes place between various locations in the United States and Siberia, including: a training base in Germany; the village of Dubrensk, the Huvat Plateau, and a secret cold-war research facility within Siberia; a medical research facility in the Virginia, an asylum in the Vermont, a tenements block in Queens, New York, and the headquarters of the NSE in the New Jersey.
Following an incident involving the killings of several innocent lives, staff at the Osiris Medical Facility, a research complex in Virginia, prepare to work on John Vattic, a parapsychology researcher and the man claimed to be responsible. Unbeknown to them, Vattic awakens and breaks free from his isolation cell, discovering that he has powerful psychic abilities of unknown origin, and no recollection of his past or his identity. Seeking to find answers for what happened to him, Vattic begins searching for the facility's computer records, experiencing a flashbacks to the past upon learning his identity. Finding himself reliving events that occurred six months ago, Vattic recalls that he had been recruited by the Pentagon to assist a special taskforce of U.S. Marines, called WinterICE. Although he had been told his role was strictly to be advisory, upon arriving at a training facility in Germany and meeting with the taskforce, including their commanding officer, Colonel Joshua Starke, and their advisor, Jayne Wilde, a psychic who Vattic had clashed with over his published works, he found himself being given weapons training, before learning he was to go with them to Siberia. The WinterICE team had been assigned to find and recover a Russian scientist named Victor Grienko, a renowned scientist who was now seeking political asylum with the United States in exchange for the protection of his secret research into parapsychology, deemed dangerous if it fell into the wrongs hands.
When Vattic finds the facility's computer records, he experiences a flashback just after reading information that Wilde died during the mission, killed in an ambush by Russian soldiers at a pipeline station belonging to an American petrochemical company, whilst the team had been making for a rendezvous with Grienko. Reliving the events, Vattic protects Wilde from dying, and is shocked to find he changed history upon his return to the present, but only for Wilde to be incarcerated at the Penfold Asylum, a psychiatric hospital in Vermont, upon her return to America. After escaping from Osiris, Vattic drives to the asylum, breaks in and rescues Wilde, leading her into a series of storm drains, by which time she eventually recovers from a difficult mental period. Upon informing him that Starke died during the mission, Vattic experiences another flashback, reliving the moment in which he and Starke were ambushed by Russian snipers during a nightwatch. Whilst securing the area and searching a series of abandoned rail tunnels, Vattic encountered a psychic projection of one of Grienko's child test subjects, who helps to awaken Vattic's psychic powers within him. Using them, Vattic rescue Starke from a group of Russian soldiers, saving his life, only for the pair to find out that they were really U.S. Special Forces, prompting them to wonder what was going on. Returning to the now changed present, both Vattic and Wilde escape through the storm drains, in order to seek out Starke, fighting past several members of the National Security Executive (NSE) that were sent with orders to kill them on sight.
With the NSE in pursuit, the pair travel to a tenement block in Queens, New York that Wilde had been given the address to, whereupon Vattic finds Starke hiding in an apartment, surprised to see him alive, before revealing that the rest of WinterICE were killed in the mission upon reaching the village of Dubrensk. Another flashback kicks in, causing him to relive the events and allow him to protect the team from an ambush by more Special Forces, in which during the aftermath, the team found that the villagers had been slaughtered before they arrived, except for one survivor who is slowly dying from their wounds. Brought back to the present, Vattic learns that his actions in the past could do nothing for Starke's team, as they were used as scapegoats for the slaughter of the villagers by the director of the NSE, Silas Hanson. Starke reveals that Hanson had been in the village at the time, searching for a secret research facility under it, where he soon stole Grienko's work, dubbed the "Zener Project", before killing him, his staff and the village's children that Grienko had used as guinea pigs, to cover his tracks before reactivating the project in the United States; the troops encountered by WinterICE were merely there to stall them while Hanson got what he needed. Forced to flee and uncover the full extent of Hanson's work, Vattic travels to the NSE headquarters in New Jersey, finding evidence he has begun to start creating an army of psychic super soldiers.
Wanting to prevent this, Vattic forces himself back to where he left off in the past, returning as the dying survivor informs him that he is the only one to save the project's children because he would be accepted by them due to his similar psychic abilities, while the WinterICE team would be killed if they approached them instead. Making his way down into the Zener Research Facility on his own, he soon finds Grienko in the process of transferring his work and test subjects to a new facility in the United States. Believing he is part of Hanson's team, Grienko explains to him the success he had with his project, believing he could unlock the children's psychic potential as a weapon that could change the world, revealing he contacted the Americans merely to be able continue his work. Brought back to the present, Vattic quickly confronts Hanson in his office with what he knows, only to learn his escape from Osiris was part of an experiment to determine how effective psychic abilities would be in combat, with samples of the project having been spread across the country. Angered at Hanson's lack of morals and his contempt of the lives he took, Vattic attempts to kill him, but is placed in a no-win situation when Hanson reveals that Wilde was taken hostage. Seeking to change the past, Vattic forces himself back to the past and use his current knowledge to warn Grienko that he and everyone else will be killed once Hanson gets tissue samples of his test subject. Grienko suddenly realises his mistake and tells him the children were taken to the lower levels, just before one of Hansen's men kills him.
Whilst making his way lower, Vattic suddenly finds himself experiencing a series of flash-forwards to the future, in which Wilde reveals in a telepathic message the reason he was on the mission with WinterICE and the truth behind his ability to flashback to the past and change history. What Vattic had thought was the present was in reality a possible future that he was experiencing, one of many that were manifesting from the use of one of his most important psychic abilities he hadn't realised was active the whole time - precognition. In truth, everything he thought had happened six months ago, is still ongoing with the mission yet to be completed. Wilde further reveals in her message that the children had been the reason for him being in Siberia in the first place, as they had helped him throughout the mission to stop Hanson's plan. Now knowing the truth of his situation, Vattic confronts Hanson in research lab to stop the future he experienced from happening, but is once again placed in a seemingly unwinnable situation due to Hanson securing himself behind a window impervious to both bullets and psionic powers. As Hanson's men come to deal with him, Vattic releases Grienko's original test subjects, referred to as the "Zener children", to aid him with their psychic powers and defeat them. After a long shootout, the children eventually use their powerful telekinesis abilities to pull away the frame of the glass, the only part of the window that was not impervious to psychic abilities, before attacking and killing Hanson. Vattic eventually returns to the surface, exhausted, as WinterICE and American troops arrive to secure the facility, while Starke and Wilde help Vattic into a helicopter as it takes them away.
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In 2006, Free Radical Design made the Second Sight soundtrack available for download on the company website, including printable album artwork.
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