Review by jahbal

"Good solid fun for long trips"

Most of the professional reviewers, for some reason, panned this game. This may discourage one from buying it. Trust me, you should get it anyway. The major problems with this game are the framerate and well... the framerate, and it really isn't all that bad. It does get slightly worse at the last level but it's not that noticeable all in all.

Graphics: 8/10
These would get a 10/10, but I docked it a point for the minor framerate issues in regular play, and another point for the more major framerate issues when you turn on thermal or night vision. You aren't doing this all the time, but it's still noticeable (especially with the thermal). Otherwise, the graphics are some of the most beautiful you'll see on the DS. Animations are fine, and you'll notice the little touches. For example, in multiplayer, when a spy grabs a merc from behind, the merc will see the knife slide across his screen. It'd be a treat if it wasn't for the framerate, and to some extent, it still is.

Sound: 9/10
There are no real noticeably bad things about the sound. The music is excellent, but each tune is short which means you'll be hearing it over and over again. Guards say appropriate things. For example, when a caution goes up, you'll hear "Is someone there?" When it goes back down to normal, you'll hear something like "I must return to duty." The only things that make it lose a point are the repetitive songs and the somewhat canned way in which the guards say things (aka it cuts into the general noise of the game so that you can hear it's a prerecorded saying).

Gameplay: 7.5/10
It's Splinter Cell. You sneak around and kill people. If you're looking to buy this game, you probably know what it's about, which is why I'll just list the bad parts of the gameplay:
-1 point: Trial and error methods. Sometimes it'll take you three or four tries to get a specific part right, and the save points are so few that you'll probably be doing the same rooms over and over again. When you finish with them, you get to do the same thing for the next few rooms.
-1 point: Unnecessarily hard and/or easy in some parts. You'll be stuck doing the same three or four rooms 10 times in a row, and then breeze through the next four in a couple of minutes. Something that adds to this is that it's hard to sneak up behind a guard; you'll be creeping up behind him, and suddenly he turns around, which means...
-0.5 points: You're dead if you get caught. You have a knife but you can't use it unless you grab a guard. Your gun is difficult to pull out and shoot in an instant. Basically you're screwed.

Story: 9/10
Nice little story with a twist or two. I won't give anything away but it starts out small and escalates into something bigger. Much bigger.

Multiplayer: 7/10
Framerate is worse than the main game, but it's fun. You have two types of multiplayer: spies vs. mercs and the co-op mode. Co-op is where one guy is the assault spy with weapons and the other is the hacker. It's fun, but expect arguments over who gets to be assault. Spies vs. mercs is the same as the consoles. Merc controls are bad, but manageable.

Replay Value: 7.5/10
Multiplayer provides most of it. There are also various suits you can unlock by getting "bonus" items in the main game. Apart from that, that's pretty much it, unless you have all your mission scores memorized and want to improve them (the game doesn't save mission scores)

Buy or Rent?
Buy it if you're a fan of stealth action. Rent it if you're not sure if you'll like it. Avoid it if you don't like small drops in framerate. I say buy, but that's just me.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/05


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