Review by dottoman

"Best game since Halo - 95%"

In case you don't know, Splinter Cell is a tactical espionage game. Where stealth is the most important factor. This genre was started by Metal Gear and continued by Metal Gear Solid and MGS2, and whilst there may have been dodgy imitations, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is the only real competition. So does Splinter Cell beat MGS2 (particularly Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance for Xbox)? The answer is, in my opinion, yes.

You play Sam Fisher, a 'Splinter Cell' of the NSA's Third Echelon team. You are assigned to find out what has happened to some CIA agents who lost contact when they were in the former USSR state of Georgia. They seem to have been killed by the president Kombayn Nikoladze who is plotting something, but what? That's your job to find out.

Graphics: 15/15
No denying it, this looks very real and really satisfying. The lighting and shadow effects are AMAZING, and your surroundings look so real and good. Explosions and visual affects like sparks flying are a visual treat. Doesn't matter what you think of the game, you can't deny how good it looks.

Sound: 15/15
Another realistic and beautiful part of the game. The sound effects aren't recycled, they all sound great. Everything from a coke can dropping, to an enemy's footsteps, to a grenade explosion, sounds like it should. The speech and
accents are also very well done (although I fail to see why Georgian guards would speak English in their own country). It will make that big subwoofer you attached to your Xbox worth it, but it's just as good out of your TV.

Story: 9.5/10
Tom Clancy has always written good stories. So your money is safe with this one. The story kicks MGS2's storyline which falls apart. Splinter Cell is not only a great game, its as valuable as a really good book as well. Some people (anti-US
Government people like me) may not like how it's always a former Soviet country as the enemy, and the sense of Super-American-Patriotism in the game also gets up some peoples nerves - especially if you aren't American. But it's easy to ignore it and enjoy the good elements anyway.

Control: 12/15
The control system is adequate, but needs some improving. Those who have gotten used to MGS will have to start practicing again. The way you stick to walls by pressing the white button is not as good as just sticking towards them. The crosshair can feel tacky, and having to press X just to get out your gun can get on your nerves. That said, it's just a matter of getting used to it. The controls are still logical, the analogue control is used effectively, and the flaws do not disrupt the gameplay too much.

Gameplay 29.5/30
Boy does this rock. Ever seen a spy movie and wanted to do everything that the hero does? Well, your dreams have come true. In Splinter Cell, you can do almost anything. Shoot security cameras and lights; sneak up and grab guards and workers, interrogate them, force them to co-operate, and then knock them out; use computers; pick up bottles and cans; and more! This freedom gives you a number of ways to approach a situation. The weapons, tools and gadgets are really useful and trés cool. The enemies are smart and the game is challenging. At times it is abit too challenging but, and can get frustrating (like when you're out of ammo). It's really not that bad and it only costs the game half a mark.
Gameplay is the most important factor of the game. And Splinter Cell delivers!

Longevity 14/15
Splinter Cell will remain spinning in your Xbox for a long time. The challenging missions will make it last a long while. And the addictiveness will get you hooked. When you complete it, you can download more missions if you have Xbox
Live. And even if you don't, you will play through the game again on hard trying to find out alternative methods to what you did last time.

Comparison to Metal Gear Solid 2
Because it hasn't been released in European/Australian territories yet, I haven't played MGS2: Substance. I have played the PS2 version, but. And I can say that although MGS2 is still a really good game, the control is superior, and the cutscenes are better, I must say that Splinter Cell beats it. Why? The fact that you can do so much more in Splinter Cell. And the story, graphics (granted,
it is PS2) and sounds are superior as well.

Overall: 9.5/10 (rounded to 10)
This is a classic display of tactical gaming goodness. Every aspect of the game is well thought out. The game is addictive, immersive and pretty too. The best game since Halo, in many peoples opinions. Almost a definite buy. However, Splinter Cell is not for everyone. Those with an itchy trigger finger will not like it as the game is more based on stealth and thinking and not beating the sugar out of everyone in the room. But everyone else who thinks (particularly MGS fans) will be pleased.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/22/02, Updated 12/22/02


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