Review by KingPoida

"Best. Game. Ever."

To begin with, if you think this game looks fun, you enjoy stealth/action games, and already have an Xbox - then don't waste any more time - GET THIS GAME. It is well worth. Trade in some old games if you have to (I did, and I'm glad I did). Now to the review...

Graphics

10/10. Fantastic. The use of shadows/light etc in the game provides a visual feast that I am waiting to see beaten. To top it off, not only are the shadows individually generated in real time, but they are crucial to the gameplay as well. I've heard some people complain about the lack of other common details (mirror reflections, some more items etc), but I feel they wouldn't add to the gameplay/experience, and would be unnoticed by most. The trade off, of course, is frame rate, which I didn't encounter any problems with during the game (I'd prefer a smooth, ugly game to a jerky, gorgeous game). This game is smooth AND gorgeous enough that you won't notice anything missing.

Gameplay

10/10. The big one - and it doesn't disappoint. It's here where Splinter Cell shines through as the best game I've ever played. It's elements aren't entirely original, in that stealth games have been done before (heh, every PS2 owner's favourite, Metal Gear Solid, for example...). But, I think that's just a new genre which is seeing more and more programmers flocking too. Just like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom spawned countless first-person shooter games, I think we'll see more and more stealth games in the future (Starcraft: Ghost comes to mind). Anyhow, back to the gameplay in Splinter Cell. It is a great deal of fun to play, and very rewarding in that you will actually get better as you get further into the game. Again, some people have complained about the ''trial and error'' style. It's called learning, folks. What I found was that I might struggle to get over a few different parts of the game as I tried new strategies, but also that sometimes, my strategies would work straight off the bat, and I would get through several areas of the game with no trouble at all. I really appreciate that (as I think that's the key to a good game - it's easy to learn how to play, but it still allows you to get better the more you play it).

A quick warning though - this game is quite challenging at parts, and isn't for people who don't like hard games. At some points you'll want to throw the controller at the tv screen, but if you persevere, you WILL prevail.

Sound and Music

10/10. I don't have a surround sound system, but the sound from my tv speakers was as good as any other game I've played. Michael Ironside does the voice of the main character (Sam Fisher), and he does his job well. He doesn't say that much during the game, but when you do, it's spot on for the character. Other voices are pretty good, but nothing fantastic (some people don't like the Chinese/Russians in the game not speaking their native language but with thick accents instead, but I feel that subtitles would have taken something away from the game). Sound effects are great as well - very realistic (I love the smashing bottle noise). Music isn't used very much, but when it is, you can tell you need to concentrate - it's used mainly in scenes with a lot of action (open gunfights), and to signal that the guards are suspicious of something (plus the main theme tune in the intro movie is well chosen :)).

Lastability

10/10. The main game will keep you playing for a decent amount of playtime (it took me just over 3 days of intense, virtually non-stop play to beat it the first time on normal). Add in another difficulty level (hard), the urge to play the game through again on the same difficulty (it was that good, plus I can try different strategies this time...), AND the fact that extra levels will be made available next year via Xbox Live/OXM magazine and you have a real keeper. This will be one of those games you can't bear to part with from your collection.

Conclusion

When I got my Xbox and Halo, I was all hyped about it. At first Halo was a bit disappointing, then it grew on me. At first play I knew Splinter Cell was going to be awesome (despite struggling with the controls at first - thank you opposite camera controls in Blinx! :)), and it's one of the few games I've been unable to stop myself playing until I've completed the level I'm on. The only real problem with the game is that it won't appeal to some people (if you like cartoony and/or easy games only then stay away :P), but I'm glad I got it and chances are, if you get it, you will be grateful too! :)

Buy or rent?

Buy - a rental will be a waste of money and just make you want t


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/03/02, Updated 12/03/02


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