Review by ElricVanClaus

"Broken and failed attempt."

Why Splinter Cell Essentials is a terrible game:

From the get go, you'll notice a problem many early PSP game suffered of: it takes way too long from starting the game to actually begin playing. I haven't timed it, but I'd say 2 minutes at least if not more. Loadings are certainly not as long as Midnight Club's (damn those were LONG), but they're numerous, and in the end are pretty much the same as MC, if just cut up.

You get into the game all excited, this is Splinter Cell on PSP, dream come true yay, only to be met with a brick wall: the controls are horrible. Stick moves Sam, but what is this, the camera is static! It doesn't follow Sam! Alright, maybe it's like in Daxter, with R and L. No! You have to stand perfectly still, and press O. A quick tap "resets" it behind Sam, and holding it will make you move the cam with the analog. It's a huge bother, and gets in the way 90% of the time.

The rest of Sam's action aren't that hard to pull off, if loose. Shooting is even worse than in the first SC, where a headshot, CLEARLY in the EYE, doesn't even touch the guy. This is "balanced" if one call it that with Sam carrying 500 bullets on the field. I usually finish my SC games without using my guns, but I've actually been FORCED in multiple situations to empty a good 2-3 clips, because the designers thought it would be fun to put "action" sequences. Would have been, if the controls didn't suck.

If anything, one could get over the fact that the visuals are bad, even for a PSP game (among the worst, no questions asked), or that the voice acting is fishy (Shetland voices multiple characters without changing his voice, which is very weird, among other voice actors.) Or even that the loadings are annoying. But the controls ruin everything.

It's not the same as the console version, and being a huge fan will NOT make you like the game anyway (I'm an immense fan of Ubisoft, and especially their SC series, which made me change my mind about Microsoft in the first place, because of the first SC being only on XBOX at the start).

I, personally, find the game to be complete garbage. It's not fun, it's ugly, and it really make you sad that such a great franchise must have spawned such an ugly game. Sure, the DS had an even worse one, I don't know, I never played it. What I know however, is that I've played so many fantastic PSP games in the last week (Daxter, Syphon Filter, MGA2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai), that I see no reason for anyone to even bother with the broken, clunky, mess that is Splinter Cell Essentials.

It could use a better control scheme, work on the graphics, and on the loadings. Here's to hoping the next one make it up.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 03/27/06


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