Second Sight is an action-adventure video game developed by Free Radical Design and published by Codemasters for Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Windows. It was released on September 21, 2004. The storyline follows parapsychology researcher John Vattic and his attempts to recover his memory as well as the secrets behind his new mental powers.
The game begins with John Vattic, the protagonist, waking up in a medical research facility. He has no memory of his past except for a mission that he went on six months before. His role in the mission was to be strictly advisory, but he finds himself going to Siberia with a group of U.S. Marines called WinterICE, and a psychic named Jayne Wilde, in search of a Russian scientist named Professor Viktor Grienko, whose secret research is beginning to draw attention from The Pentagon.
Vattic learns from a computer he finds in the medical facility that Wilde was killed on the mission. He then has a flashback, in which he prevents Wilde's death. Back in the present portion of the game, the computer now says that Wilde survived the mission as well. Vattic finds her in an asylum in Vermont and rescues her. They escape into the sewers and she tells him that the WinterICE team's commanding officer Colonel Joshua Starke was killed during the mission. Vattic then has a flashback in which he rescues Starke. During this flashback, one of Grienko's child test subjects awakens Vattic's psychic powers. Back in the present, Wilde informs Vattic that Starke is alive and that he gave her an address in which to contact him if she ever needed help. Vattic and Wilde then travel to the location to find him.
Vattic finds Starke in his apartment in Queens, New York. Starke is surprised to see Vattic alive and says that the rest of WinterICE were killed in Siberia. Through a series of other flashbacks, Vattic is able to save the rest of WinterICE and make it to the village of Dubrensk. Soldiers have killed most of the villagers, but a dying survivor tells the squad that their children are the research lab's test subjects, and that while they would kill the WinterICE team, they would accept Vattic due to his similar psychic abilities. Vattic infiltrates the research lab alone in his flashbacks to save the children, while also infiltrating the headquarters of the National Security Executive (NSE) based on the evidence given to him by Starke in New York.
In doing so, he discovers the secret of Grienko's research and the true meaning of the mission. The main antagonist is revealed to be Hanson, the director of the NSE, who wanted to use Grienko's research into psychic abilities in order to create an army of psychic super soldiers. WinterICE was sent in to discover Grienko's research facility and dispatch anyone who got in the way; they could then secure Grienko's work for Hanson's evil program. Vattic confronts Hanson in his office and is ready to kill him, but backs down when it is revealed that Hanson has taken Wilde hostage. Placed in a no-win situation, Vattic intends to once again change the past via a flashback, using his current knowledge to stop Hanson's plans.
In his flashbacks, Vattic finds that Grienko's research project is in the process of being packed up for transport to the United States. Grienko and his staff believe they will be relocated as well, but the real orders are to kill them once the project is ready for transport. Grienko is killed according to plan, but Vattic continues to infiltrate the lower levels to try to save the children. The flashback is repeatedly interrupted by a series of flash-forwards, showing the various outcomes that Vattic has prevented so far via the actions in his other flashbacks. During these, Vattic discovers that he has not been having flashbacks at all. The WinterICE mission is still ongoing and incomplete, whereas all his experiences in the present are merely possible futures, and are a manifestation of one his mental abilities, precognition.
Now knowing the truth of his situation, Vattic confronts Hanson in the research facility, but he is once again placed in a seemingly unwinnable situation, with Hanson taunting him from behind a window impervious to both bullets and psionic powers. To aid him, Vattic releases the test subjects, referred to as the "Zener children", who were the basis of Grienko's original research. The Zener children help Vattic fight through many waves of soldiers with their psychic powers. After this long shootout, the Zener children use powerful telekinesis to pull away the frame of the glass and then attack and kill Hanson. After that, WinterICE and the troops arrive, raiding the facility. Starke and Wilde help an exhausted Vattic into the helicopter. Vattic then finds out through Wilde, why he was so important to the mission.
Second Sight emphasizes stealth and minor puzzle-solving over brute force. Vattic uses psionic abilities to supplement his conventional weapons. Being spotted triggers an alarm mode, increasing the number of guards and they search for Vattic. The majority of the psychic powers are meant to be used defensively, avoiding detection or healing wounds.
In 2006, Free Radical Design made the Second Sight soundtrack available for download on the company website, including printable album artwork.
Music by Graeme Norgate and Christian Marcussen
- Isolation – (1:52)
- Experimentation – (4:12)
- Fieldwork – (5:42)
- Escape – (4:24)
- Madness – (5:16)
- Rescue – (4:51)
- Reliance – (3:49)
- Entrapped – (5:18)
- Street Life – (4:53)
- Teamwork – (4:53)
- Breakout – (3:33)
- Conspiracy – (5:37)
- Infiltration – (5:21)
- Childcare – (4:47)
- Confrontation – (3:11)
- Redemption – (6:03)
- Credits – (5:35)
The game received good reviews. IGN reviewer Juan Castro gave the game a 7.9/10, praising the "slick graphics", "varied environments", and "good voice-acting", but criticized it for its "clunky interface" and commented that "controlling telekinesis can be a slight pain in the ass." GameSpot reviewer Brad Shoemaker gave the game a 7.3 out of 10 noting the "intriguing storyline, nice variety of guns and psychic powers, and stylized characters."
The game sold nearly one million copies.
In 2010, the game was included as one of the titles in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.