I owned Timesplitters 2 on the GameCube, and I liked it. The difference between that game and this, the next in the series, is pretty vast.
An important thing to me is that a game have a decent storyline to it. Now, that's important to ME; if you don't find that necessary then that's fine. But with TS2 I was completely lost as to what was going on in the Story Mode. I never played the first installment in the series, so I was without a clue as to why I was playing as all of these different characters in different periods of time. The story to TS3, though, although not necessarily deep, is a lot of fun. The voice acting was done superbly; I found Cortez (the main character) a really likeable character, in that although he's beefed up like every other action character in a videogame, he's a bit of a goof. All of the supporting characters, especially Anya, communicating through a wristband to Cortez throughout the entire course of the game, are very likeable. And for anyone who has already beat this game, they'd understand what I mean when saying it's interesting to play the first mission again and notice all of the small things you didn't notice the first time around. The story was also pretty funny--the game never seems to take itself too seriously. I laughed out loud quite a few times at some of the antics going on, whether it be stoner sidekicks or Snowmen multiplayer characters screaming "I'm melting!" as you shoot them with a flare gun or racing CAT vehicles, it's just a funny game, which is something few videogames ever achieve.
The graphics on this game are very smooth, very defined. The game really establishes an atmosphere when it wants to. One of the Story missions in particular and quite a few of the Multiplayer characters are for a mature audience. Running through the zombie house was truly freaky. The character models really look good, all the way down to the vains on Cortez's arms. Even the voice acting matches up somewhat closely with the mouths of the characters. Somewhat. Not bad.
I played the Story Mode on Normal difficulty, and had little problems beating the game. A couple of the boss characters were difficult, but other than that it wasn't too tough. I've started the game again on Hard difficulty, but so far (just through a few missions) I haven't had too difficult of a time. The AI is more accurate (but still inaccurate), and your health lasts less, and it seems that there are less health packs lying around, but they definitely still exist.
I like the weapons in this game. I wish the standard pistol was a little bit more powerful, but it's not bad. I also liked how the different weapons have different modes, as opposed to secondary fire. You can attach a silencer to your pistol, or a scope. You can attach a grenade launcher to another gun, etc. The left trigger works for throwing grenades. A lot of the weapons have *some* sort of scope, but usually not very much of one.
Inevitably, this game (among a couple of others) is compared with Halo. Where I think there is a huge difference between the two games is vehicles. There is one vehicle in this game, and it's not extremely useful. I guess you could call it the equivalent of a Warthog from Halo, except there's no gunner's position, it doesn't handle nearly as well as the Warthog, and although you can have a gunner sit in the passenger seat, it definitely doesn't feel worth the effort. The multiplayer is also far DIFFERENT from Halo. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. It's much more intense, as you typically end up having tons of characters spawning close to each other and the matches typically are just.....fast-moving. Personally, I think the multiplayer in Halo is more refined, but that's not to say there's anything wrong with the multiplayer in TS3. It's just a different style than Halo's. I like how easy it is to customize the multiplayer games in TS3; it's one of the easiest setups I've ever seen.
There are a lot of modes to this game; they've got some that are fun (and some that are really freaky). There's one mode where one character starts with a virus, and their objective is just to spread it, until one person is left. The screams of the characters 'catching' the virus are pretty scary. Again, this game shows atmosphere when it wants to.
I haven't yet played this game online, so I'm really not able to say anything positive or negative about the online multiplayer. I do like the Mapmaker feature, and they give you the ability to download other peoples' maps they've created, which is a really nice touch. I thought my map was pretty good until I saw the ones created by other people.
One thing I noticed that was EXTREMELY annoying was found in Co-operative play. Like in the previous installment of this game, you're able to play with a friend. There seems to be a glitch to it, of sorts. Maybe it's an option that's able to be disabled; I don't know. It has a 'warping' issue to it. You'll be walking along a corridor and apparently there are these spots you'll run over that end up bringing your partner right up next to you, no matter where he was. I don't understand why the game did this (if it was intentional). It seems like a very crude attempt at keeping the two characters together, but it definitely doesn't work, and is nothing but an annoyance. Again, maybe it's just a glitch in the game I own, or maybe it's an option, but whatever it is, it's a HUGE downer to wanting to play this game with a friend.
I don't remember if there is much music to the game--I don't think there was, but really am not sure, so even if there was it didn't stand out as being incredible. With the voice acting being as good as it is, though--your sidekick talks quite a bit, along with the enemies--it meant little to me that there wasn't much to the music. Sometimes you would sneak up on enemies and you could hear them talking amongst themselves--sometimes it was absolutely hilarious. I know I've mentioned this before, but there was enough humor in this game that I think it warrants repeating it.
No matter what you look for in a first-person shooter, this game delivers. Whether it be a fun, entertaining story, an intense, fully-customizable multiplayer, or a plethora of unlockables, this game delivers. It's frequently fun, and at times scary. Its graphics are crisp, its guns are fun to shoot, and its characters are full of life. Well, MOST of them are living, anyways. Timesplitters 3 is definitely worth the purchase.