Review by Meyerboy14
"A Grown Ups Game Of Hide And Seak"
In Splinter Cell you get to play the roll of Sam Fisher. A man who works covert ops for a branch of the NSA named Third Echelon. Does the game whoop ass, or should you just leave it behind in the shadows?
Does Anyone Else See A Bionic Commando?
Sam Fisher alone has the 5th freedom. The right to spy, infiltrate, and basically kick some serious ass. Sam himself is as sneaky a person as he is deadly. Equipped to the teeth with a whole array of skills which he can use to take out his enemies, and nearly everyone of them is needed in order to keep yourself alive. Its cool to see Sam jump to the top of ceiling and then come crashing down and knocking out his foes. Its equally cool to rappel just inches above your enemies, and still not get caught.
And, he also equipped with loads of gadgets to which he can inflict pain to his enemies, or just help him creep in the shadows a little easier. From sticky shockers (ammo that you propel at your enemies causing an electric surge through their bodies, knocking the unconscious) to the snake camera (a cool device for looking under doors). Their all extremely cool and fun to play with.
Gameplay in Splinter Cell is one of the most top notch experiences that I've ever had in a game. Its heart pounding to accidentally walk to fast, triggering a guard to hear your foot steps and come looking for you. You must then run into the shadows, where you'll nearly pee your pants as the guard is just inches from your face, and he still doesn't notice you. And as I said, using all the gadgets in the game will aid you a lot.
But the gameplay doesn't come out flawless, unfortunately, some times, enemy AI can come out overly stupid, and they basically just go in a single pattern of going back and forth through the same area. A few more patterns of movement from enemies would have made the gameplay more interesting. Another problem consists of you not always using all the awesome moves that Sam has. I mean honestly, whats the point of having such an awesome move as the split jump if you can only use it 2 or 3 times in the game? Most of these are just a few quirks and gripes, and don't take away from your experience to much or at all, but they would just be some nice luxuries.
My...Its...So...BRIGHT! AH MY EYES!
Another area that Splinter Cell also dominates in the graphics department. Splinter Cell is definitely one of the best looking games to date on ANY system. The texture detail is superb, and Sam himself is very brilliant looking as well. Oh yeah, and theres also those amazing lighting effects that everyone keeps talking about. Its beautiful to watch as you creep along and have the shadows of a chain fence gleaming on you. Or basking in the bright sun rays that are coming from the windows.
And some of the effects in the game are as equal impressing as the lighting. Turning on the night vision and being in a bright light source and nearly turning your screen white is cool. Its also awesome to have your heat vision on, and watching as Sam turns more red as you get closer to a warm object.
But the graphics are not without it flaws. Some character models are nearly piss poor and only look good from a distance. You'd think they would have spent more time for your enemies in the game, seeing as how your always around them. More variety in your enemies would have been more than great to, honestly it goes a little like this: Soldier, Guard, Dog Guy. Thats it, thats basically ALL your enemies in the game. And Lambert? Well he resembles more closely a dilapidated walrus than a human. And generally, some things generally look extremely pixilated and very unpolished. Some of this just hurts the graphics to much to make it perfect.
If I Were A Rich Man, Yubba Dubba Dubba Yubba Dubba Dub...
The soundtrack of the game sports an custom mix of tunes from Crystal Method. And its all superb and really sets the mood of the game. It makes your heart pound as you hear the music get more intense because a guard heard you or something, and while your trying to run away, the tunes are busting up in the background, very nice.
Basically, every object in the game has its own unique click, clink, thwang, or shplong (WTF?). Its awesome to see that when you shoot a tin roof with your pistol, that it will sound much different than a concrete slab. And when your running on a hard wood floor, you can tell a definite difference than when you were on the vinyl floor two rooms back.
Characters sound equally great as everything else in the game. Hearing the guards hum their last tune before a bullet pierces through the side of their head is fun (if not extremely cruel). But there is one exception, you have to have your sound up on ''Really Friggen High'' if you want to hear Lambert talk. The guy sounds like he trying to talk with his face in a pillow with a face full of marshmallows. Maybe thats an over exaggerated, but it is pretty hard to hear him.
Able To Leap Tall Buildings...With A Press Of A Button!
With all the stuff that Sam can do, you'd think that it would be near impossible to make the guy do what you want to do on screen. Thats not the case with Splinter Cell. The game uses just about every button on the Xbox controller to some extent, and uses some pretty clever ways in which you can perform moves.
The camera for the most part is self controlled, allowing you to get the best possible angle for everything that is going on screen. In Splinter Cell, you make your own cinematic moments with the help of the camera. And it works nearly flawlessly. And if you don't like it, then you can always just click in the right trigger to center it back again.
And when I said clever ways for Sam to do things, I mean it. Picking locks in the game is probably one of the coolest, yet most clever things I've ever seen done in game. You move the left analog stick until you feel your controller vibrate a little, keep going and hold it in the ''sweet spot'' until you get one of the notches on the lock done. Then do it around 3-6 more times, and you've successfully picked it. This can be nerve racking when you want to get inside a locked door when theres a guard coming down the hallway right at you.
Splinter Cell may very well be one of the coolest games I've ever played. Maybe not one of the best, but its still awesome. Everything comes together quite nicely, but for some reason, when its all said and done, the game just feels a bit empty. I can't quite explain what it is, but its just feels like there should be more to it. Thus weakening the over all score. You'd think that with everything getting 9's and 10's that it would be higher, but its not. Play the game and defiantly see for yourself what I mean.
With all the content promised with Xbox Live, there should defiantly be much more to the game, maybe closing the gap that made the game feel a bit empty in the first place (Ubi Soft is saying they may very well deliver a whooping 12 levels!). Did they break the mold when they made this one? I hope not, cause then I wouldn't get a sequel.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/01/03, Updated 01/01/03
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