Review by bentiguy9

"Splinter Cell, Now in convenient portable version."

Splinter Cell: Essentials takes place in between the upcoming Splinter Cell: Double Agent and Splinter Cell 5. The Story involves Sam Fisher being spotted with terrorists on U.S soil. The game is basically a flash back sequence chronicling Sam's past as Sam and his mission help at the NSA, Anna Grimsdotter and Will Redding try to figure out who set Sam up.

The graphics are pretty good for a hand-held game. Dynamic lighting that makes Splinter Cell what it is on the consoles is used here. (For those of you who do not know, dynamic lighting is lighting that can be turned off and on during game play) The game uses the power of the PSP without sacrificing the will of the user (a.k.a long load times, I'm looking at you Midnight Club: 3) One problem is how dark the game is, you thought the game was dark on consoles, just play it on the PSP. Dark on the screen can mean you're as “lit up as times square” as Lambert would put it.

The gameplay is Splinter Cell, there is no question about that. Pretty much anything you can do or use on the consoles is here. Camera is handled in a different mode. When you hold the O button, you can move the camera with the analog stick. Taping the O button centers it behind you. This can be problematic at times but once you learn how to use it, it almost becomes second nature. For moving you have two modes, walking and running. If you hold the analog nub all the way down you'll run. If you hold it down a little then push it all the way down, you'll walk. The problem with this is that you cannot turn a run into a walk and vice versa. You have to stop completely to do this. Also enemies move faster then you're walk and will catch you if you run. Ubisoft has also brought back “three alarms and the mission is over rule” so if you played aggressive in Chaos Theory, that won't translate well here. (I guess Lambert realized this really is a video game!) These changes turn Splinter Cell from an action game to almost a strategy action game, setting up your moves before putting the plan in action. This works well for the series and the save as you go feature allows you to change your strategy if one fails.

Almost every sound effect from the Splinter Cell universe is faithfully reproduced here. From the wonderful sound of a knife slitting a guards throat, to Lambert's “Sweet Jesus Fisher!” you will be bound to here your favorite sound. Ubisoft even got the guard whistle in the game which I have officially called the guard jingle.

All in all this a good game if you need an action game on the road. Fans of the series will love it, and new comers to the series should enjoy it as well enjoy it as well!

Final Verdict: 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/13/06


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