Review by Cybersk8er5000
"It's good, but not THAT good..."
Splinter Cell is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful games on the PS2, and it's the first game I've ever seen with such lighting effects. The first time I played it (thanks to OPM's demo disk), I was amazed. The lighting effects are stunningly realistic, and the wide variety of stealthy moves that you're capable of doing are amazing. But while the game may be gorgeous, it's nowhere near perfect. The stuff that people tell you is only half true:
The graphics are one of the main things in this game that will astonish you. Like everyone says, the lighting effects are amazing, and despite with Xbox owners have said, the PS2 is capable of pulling it off just as well. Sam Fisher looks pretty realistic, and the nightvision and thermal vision are pretty cool too. The only reason the graphics aren't getting a perfect score is because of some small details that look like they were taken straight out of a PSOne game. For example: If you shoot something metal (like a pipe), then sparks that look like the stuff from Syphon Filter fly around. It's ugly as hell when that happens. The glass as well has a serious graphical problem. And the little curtain-ish doorways (like what you see at the back of any grocery store) have a horrible framerate. They do go the right way and all, but you can actually count how many frames there are between the time you hit them, and the time they go back to how they were without much effort, and that isn't a good thing...
The music will sort of get you in the mood, especially when you're spotted by someone. Also, the conversations and voice acting are pretty good. The weapons sound like... well... weapons, and even the thermal/nightvision goggles make a little 'wheeeee' noise when you turn them on. The only reason it isn't getting a 10 is because you'll hear every single line that the guards say and every single injury sound that Sam makes before you're through with the second actual mission, and it gets kind of repetitive after a while...
The controls are perfect. Everything is perfectly set, and despite their complexity, you'll get used to them after 2 or 3 runs through the training level.
What really bugs me about this game is that each level is divided into three or four parts, with a loading screen in between each, like in Max Payne. It takes at least a good 20 seconds for it to load up a small area of the level. Also, the equipment is sort of limited (you can count every single piece of equipment you'll use on two hands (I think...)). If it had at least a couple more guns, I'd be a bit more satisfied. Also, the missions are WAAAAY too linear. There's NO alternate paths at all. If you happen to find a hallway or an alley with two doors (which is really rare), then only one of them will open. There are some points where there are lots of doors, but 90% of them have gates over them, so you can't really get through. But, despite it's faults, Splinter Cell is a good game. It definately isn't a Metal Gear Solid rival, but it manages to give MGS a good solid shove in the stealth department.
To rent, or to buy?
With rental places like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster, with 5+ day rentals, I'd go with renting it. The game is very short on extras (a couple of ''making of'' things is about it), so once you've beaten it, the only other thing to do is to move up to the only other difficulty level. Once you've beaten that, you're done. There's no rankings, or anything. So with big name rental places, I'd say rent it. But if you really want to get this game, wait till it goes down to $30 or lower. It just isn't worth a whole $49.99...
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 04/21/03, Updated 04/21/03
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