Review by H1MUR4K3N5H1N

"So this is Splinter Cell... Does it live up to the hype?"

In my opinion, no. Although it is not a bad game, in fact it is one of the best games I played all year. However the game did not meet my expectations in a few very important area's. The expectations for this game were very high among many Xbox owners, including myself. Some parts of the game I was a little disappointed with, but mostly satisfied. Continue reading to find out why.

Gameplay - The game plays like none other, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your tastes. The game is very challenging and will keep you on your toes the entire time. There are 2 difficulties, normal and hard. This may turn off some people, but the normal difficulty would be more then challenging for the casual gamer. The game may take awhile to get used to, and may be a cause for the difficulty in the beginning.

It might take a while to get used to slowly creeping up on someone then grabbing them by the neck and dragging them to the shadows to interrogate them, or hit them in the back of the head with your gun, or split jumping between two close walls and waiting for a guard to walk directly beneath you so that you can jump on top of them. The game offers a variety of ways to knock-out, kill or stun the enemy which only adds more to the gameplay and some-what adds to its replay value. I haven't had this much fun in a video game for a long time, while this game is probably not for the type of person who loves a game where you run into a room, guns a blazin' and shooting everything in sight with their M4's and unlimited ammo, nor is it for the type of person that can't stand killing someone for more than five minutes.

However, it is for people who have patience and can appreciate a well made game. The gameplay revolves around stealth rather then just having a few stealth elements, so you wont find rocket launchers, AK47's or giant war-robots that swim in the game. Sneaking is a huge part of the game, not only that but being able to stay out of sight plays a very important role. Diversion plays a decent role in the game as well, throwing a glass bottle at a brick wall to get a guard to divert his attention else-where while you sneak by or center your crosshairs on his head for the perfect headshot is pretty fulfilling.

Graphics - While the graphics may not be as visually impressive as other Xbox titles such as DOA3 or possibly Halo, the game certainly does put real-time shadows to good use. The in-game graphics are simply amazing and stunningly beautiful. Sam's movements are rather fluid but the other characters seem to move pretty stiff-like. They definitely could have put the anti-aliasing to better use to get rid of the 'jaggies' seen in a few area's. Unlike the demo, 'clipping' is not an issue, there may be a few spots where you notice it but its pretty rare and when it does happen its not a big problem. Needless to say, graphics do not make a great game.

Controls - The controls are done really well, although some people may find it difficult to learn the basics of the controls and whatnot its pretty basic. I have had no problems with the control layout and I know of no one who has, I think its perfect for this game. The controls are solid, responsive and all around good and in my opinion couldn't be any better.

Replay Value - This is where the game suffers, you have the right to worry about there not being much replay value. To my knowledge there is no bonus' or unlockables, however there will be 11 extra levels that can be downloaded through Xbox Live, or available on the OXM discs. The various ways to knock out/kill a guard doesn't add too much to the replayability, but its still fun nonetheless. The game comes with 9 levels, most of which are of fair length and are pretty difficult. I personally am having fun with playing the levels over, and trying to complete a level flawlessly. It's not all bad but, it can only go so far before you realize that it is no longer fun to do the things that once made this game great.

Sound - For those of you who have the Dolby 5.1 sound setup will be in luck, because the sound in this game is amazing. Whether your walking on wood, tiles, brick or whatever surface you may come across, Splinter Cell does all sound effects realistically and they all sound very crisp. The speech is done amazingly, the volume of a persons voice or any sound effect will vary depending on your angle, if your around the corner then the volume will be lowered, if your off in the distance the same thing. The voice acting is top notch, Sam Fisher's voice actor, Michael Ironside, is an incredible voice actor and is also really talented. Michael really makes Sam Fisher sound like a real tough mofo that you wouldn't want to mess with.

Summary, High-points and Final score:

Gameplay: 10 - This game is incredibly fun, and at times can get frustratingly difficult, I don't like to look at the difficulty as a bad thing because this is a game you won't be finishing in one sitting.

Graphics: 9 - Wow.... This is a very pretty game, the lighting is done incredibly well and will amaze almost anybody. I have not experienced any slowdown at all, the developers have obviously paid attention to detail in this game and it most certainly paid off.

Controls: 10 - Very smooth as well as responsive controls, this makes moving Sam no harder then the push of a few buttons.

Replay Value: 6 - As much as I love this game it has to end some time, and too soon at that. After completing this game there is not much to keep you coming back to it, again and again.

Sound: 10 - Dolby 5.1 brings this game to life, you may actually find yourself looking around because you thought you heard a guard in your living room.

Overall score: 9.1 - Despite this game's strong points, its weaker points stopped this game from reaching a perfect 10. Unfortunately for us gamers, we may never see the perfect game, although this game does come very close to that goal that developers strive for. [/lame attempt at a decent ending]


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/02, Updated 12/05/02


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