Review by MegaMoose
"Buggy and frustrating at times, but generally extremely fun"
For anyone unfamiliar with the world of Splinter Cell, this is a stealth game. Basically, you are Sam Fisher, a Splinter Cell (a sort of super-spy, if you will), and you're supposed to hide in shadows and not be seen and complete objectives. If you haven't already, play the first one. You're missing out.
I rented the first Splinter Cell maybe a year or two ago and had a great time with it. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but I found it really fun and enjoyable. So naturally, I had to give this one a try too. I rented it at first and enjoyed it, but the disc kept making some sort of clicking noise and I figured something was wrong. When I finally bought it, my disc did the same thing. I'm not quite sure what it is; for all I know it could be my GameCube. But it's annoying. Anyway, on to the actual review.
Let's get the unimportant stuff out of the way. This game's graphics aren't terrific, but they're not that bad. The character models are good, the environments are generally well done, and the FMVs are nice. They could be better, but it's not that important anyway. Well that's about all there is to say.
There's not a whole lot of music, and of the music there is, none of it is memorable, but none is annoying. When somebody sees you, there's this little "twang" that fits perfectly and gets a little freaky when the lights are off. The voices are pretty good, if not as good as the first. And the sound effects are fine, not really exceptional, but they work for what they are. Which would be mostly footsteps, dog barks, etc.
Since it's approved by Tom Clancy and everything, it has to be good. Again, the first had a better story, but this one is still well done. This time around, it deals with smallpox. Well...just play it for yourself. With an attention span like mine, it's hard to pay a whole lot of attention to the story. But that's not why I like the game anyway. Time for the most important element.
The basic gameplay is exceptional. Sneak around trying to avoid people, knocking them out or killing them if you have to. On a large portion of the missions, probably more than the first one, you aren't allowed to kill people. But it's all fun still. If you played the first one, you're already completely familiar with the gameplay: same weapons (I think, forgive me if I'm wrong...it's been a while since I played the first one), same special moves, etc. You can go up against walls, crouch, hang off pipes, split jump, basically everything from the original Splinter Cell. Some of these, notably the split jump, rarely have to be used, if ever, but there are still a few places where you can use them. Moving on...the A.I. could certainly be better. Most of the time it's not difficult to avoid being caught. But many parts of the game are extremely frustrating. A lot of the game becomes trial and error, and you have to do something just right to complete the mission.
On the other side of gameplay, we have plenty of bugs and glitches. Aside from the aforementioned clicking noise, the game skips and jumps around on occasion, and every once in a while it will even freeze. This can be very aggravating, as you have to restart the game to fix it, and the load times aren't very friendly. On top of all this, there are occasional glitches that are REALLY annoying. For example, there's a glitch toward the end of a certain level that prevents you from going into an elevator which you need to enter to progress. The only way to get around this is to restart the whole mission, and getting back to that point could take quite a while if you don't know what you're doing. This all degrades the gameplay, but the majority of the time it's not all that annoying.
Now what it all boils down to...
To buy or not to buy? That is the question.
If you liked the first one and don't mind the glitches, go ahead and buy it. Otherwise, give it a rent first. If it were more polished, this could be one of the best games out there. But at least rent it. You could love the game. But how am I supposed to know? I CAN'T READ YOUR MIND! GO RENT IT NOW!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/11/05
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