Review by Kapiko
"A great, old-school stealth third-person shooter."
REVIEW of Splinter Cell, for the Microsoft Xbox entertainment console, by Ubi Soft.
Splinter Cell is a great Xbox game by Ubi Soft. The sheer depth and immersion caused by this game will cause you to look around corners and peek through the door to your own room.
Basically, it is a stealth-based action game, with a very slight shooter element involved. It is somewhat resemblant of Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2. You are Sam Fisher, seasoned CIA veteran of the NSA. You are now called back into duty because 'it's the only thing you do well.' I've broken down the rating:
The gameplay is excellent. I've not seen a stealth-based game that tops this one. I saw it at first and I was skeptical: ''Oh, there's another MGS clone. Wowwie.'' I was wrong. This is such an awesome game. I have spent five or six hours playing it, and I'm about half done with the second level. There are no cheats that I know of, which makes it more fun because there is no temptation to cheat. It only makes my try harder, and, in the end, feel more satasfied.
There's no multiplayer or XBox Live deathmatches, although hard to concieve, that would have been great. There is an XBox Live ability to download levels and play them--excellent concept. Perhaps in the future, maybe in Splinter Cell 2, they will release a free map editor on the website and let you upload it into your Xbox via Ethernet link.
The gameplay gets a bit difficult at times. As I said, I'm only half done with the second level, and I've owned it two full days. Well, I can't complain much, considering it will be that much more fun to get to the next level.
The graphics are totally superb. They are better than any console game I have seen yet, better than ANY game I have seen barring Doom III. Or maybe Halo 2. But neither of these are even playable yet. So there.
The textures are sweet--curtains flow and wrap around Sam, shadows cast by moths flicker exactly where they should be, animations are fluid and crisp, and when it comes down to it, realistic.
I've not become more insanely scared, so intensely disturbed by a game since playing Perfect Dark at nighttime. This game wouldn't be half as disturbing without the incredible graphics. I've seen only a couple of minor flaws: arms poking through walls, shadows not being exact, etc. But you know what? The gameplay is solid, the overall graphics are great, and the framerate is constant, so the game deserves a 9.5 in graphics.
You ARE Sam Fisher. You ARE the only hope of the world. You ARE easy to detect with a simple footstep in the wrong place. You WILL think this, even outside of the game. Incredibly realistic, part because of graphics, part because of the excellent AI scripting in the game, part because of the Dolby 5.1 compatability.
A guard talks on his cell phone behind you. You'll be looking over your shoulder thinking someone is really there. This is so immersive that one of my friend mocked me when I got caught, I got my gun out and actually tried to turn Sam towards him to shoot him. Deep.
Then the plot builds up nicely. As you start, Agents Blaustien and Madison are missing--and it's up to you to find them. When you do, you find out what happened, and who is behind it. It only escalates from there...
The bullets sound like actual bullets, the ambient sounds sound like what you would actually hear in the area, and each surface makes a different sound when shot. The Dolby 5.1 capability makes you nervous in your own safe, warm room. Superb.
You can play every level over and over, and, in fact, you probably WILL want to. The sheer amount of options for each situation are staggering. Suppose, for example, you see a man walking down a hallway. You could sneak up behind him and clock him over the head, then drag his body into the darkness. Or, you could shoot him in the head, and leave him for the next guard to get nervous over. How about you throw a bottle at him, then split-jump (spread your legs between two walls to keep you suspended high above the floor), then drop upon him when he come to investigate. Or you could let him go into his office, then follow him, turn off the lights, and while he fumbles around for the switch, grab him to use him as a human shield for the next guard. Or you could always just sneak past him. The possibilites? Endless.
This game is destined to become a best-seller. I love it. XBox Magazine rated it 9.6 out of 10. Well, I'll do it one better, and give it ten of ten. Buy this game. You'll not regret it.
OVERALL RATING: 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/24/02, Updated 11/24/02
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