Review by Troll Slayer
"This game is really, really great!"
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell was originally released in 2002 on the XBOX, but it has now been ported to the PS2, with several new features. Splinter Cell is a masterpiece in terms of both gameplay, and aesthetics. It draws you in like few games can.
There are many things that have been changed from the XBOX version. The graphics have been slightly downgraded, but it isn't too noticeable. The inventory system has been streamlined, as well as the gameplay mechanics. The alarm system is more forgiving. You now have a limit of setting off 3 alarms in most missions(there are a few exceptions), which should ease some frustrations. The most frustrating parts of certain levels have been cut from the XBOX version as well. The biggest change is a new mission, which in my opinion is more fun to play through than most of the other missions, and offers a good challenge without being too frustrating.
The graphics in this game can't match the awe-inspiring visuals of the XBOX version, but it is still easily the best looking game on PS2. Everything is so detailed(especially in the new level) that PS2-only gamers will be blown away by the amazing visuals. The PS2 version still has sharper and better visuals than the GameCube version, so it's all good.
The sound in this game is great as well. The voice-acting is top notch; Sam Fisher is expertly voiced, and all the characters in the game are believable as well.
The background music is pretty low-fi and quiet for the most part. When an enemy is alerted, the music is great. It gives you an incredible feeling of tension and danger.
Splinter Cell has a mature, superb story. Special agents Madison and Blaustein have gone missing, and Sam Fisher must investigate their disappearance. From there on, it becomes a story filled with political intrigue and suspense. There are quite a few twists, but don't worry; it's not as ridiculous as Metal Gear Solid 2. You won't find any campy dialogue or whiny bleach-blonde heroes like MGS2, either. Sam Fisher especially is an awesome character. I wish there was a bit more dialogue. I mean, I don't want an interactive movie like some of the recent Final Fantasy games, but there should have been a bit more. Overall, good stuff.
Now that I've covered all the basics, I will cover the gameplay, which is what really matters in a game like this. The control is superb; the PS2 controller feels as if it was made for this game. It controls better than the XBOX version, in my opinion. Sam Fisher controls very responsively, and the camera works perfectly, unlike most 3rd person games of this type.
The overall gameplay has been streamlined, so it's a lot more forgiving, and less frustrating this time around. The inventory is accessed with a simple press of the Square button. The alarm system is still very sensitive, but you get a limit of 3 alarms in most missions now. The enemy AI is excellent for the most part. Normally, they act as a real person would in that situation. At times, however, they are amazingly inept, and you have to wonder why someone who can't see you when you're standing 2 feet from them was recruited in the military.
Trial and error is the name of the game here. I have heard bad things about this, but the gameplay is so compelling that I just kept going if I was stuck in a tricky area. Many people find it frustrating, but I had no problem with it. Checkpoints are very frequent, and prevent annoying backtracking. My only real complaint is with hiding bodies. Sometimes, you have to shoot an enemy, and there's no dark corners to hide the body in. That causes your alarm stage to rise, as well as your frustration stage. These are simply minor gripes in what is such a great overall product.
Medium. If you enjoy exploration, and want to play out every possible route and way of dealing with enemies, then you'll definitely enjoy replaying it over again. However, due to the linear nature of this game, there are only so many ways to complete each mission, which is why the replay value is ''medium'' instead of ''high''.
Buy this game if you have a high attention span and are not easily frustrated. If you are easily frustrated, but like stealth games, give it a try, but be sure to keep extra PS2 controllers in case you break the one you're using out of anger.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/10/03, Updated 06/10/03
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