Review by thesampleman
"A great game!"
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell games for me have always been a joy to play. This Splinter Cell game is like all the others before it an absolute masterpiece and is one of my favorite Xbox 360 titles.
The graphics in this game are exceptional. We'll start with the character models. They are realistic and move fluidly throughout the game. It looks natural the way Sam Fisher gets into and out of his legendary crouching stance. The animations for all of Sam's movements are fluid and look like they have been designed with tender loving care. Sam himself has a new look to go along with the grittier story. He shaves his head, and in certain times during the game you can actually see each follicle of hair on his head! Even the animations for the weapons is done amazing, it'll actually feel as if you pulled the trigger and felt the recoil of your gun sometimes. The only problem I have with the character animations is the famous Sam Fisher walking on air trick, when he should be walking down stairs he's actually floating above the stairs. That is the only problem I had with the physics in the game, otherwise all the bodies dropped in real and lifelike ways.
The next area in the graphical package I loved was the cut scenes. They were all very real and lifelike. They were haunting in some parts especially dealing with Sam Fisher's recent tragic past. Each character in the scenes moves in a life like fashion, and the water that Sam throws his goggles into at the beginning of the game, is some of the nicest water effects in a cut scene of a game, I have ever seen.
The final area where I will look is at the environments. The environments in a word are gorgeous. The ice is very shiny in one level and you can almost even feel the cold through the T.V. Every object in every environment, almost feels placed there for a reason. The lighting effects within the game are some of the best ever come up with in a game. The shadows feel dynamic and feel almost as if they could change at a moments notice. The environments are huge and continuous, and have plenty of ways to reach all of your objectives.
Really the sound is a mixed bag. The music in the game is decent enough, but in this game series, the music has never been at the forefront of the programmers minds. So really the music is not the best thing in the game, but it does not drag it down either.
The sound effects in the game are typical Splinter Cell sound effects. You'll hear the whistling of the guards as the walk past you, you'll hear the firing of bullets and hear them bury themselves into an object near you. You even have to be careful of how much sound effect noise you create, such as walking on glass, etc. to not alert guards. the best thing about the sound effects, in my opinion, are the explosions. It'll feel as if you are there, watching the wall mine explode.
The other area that is a total winner in the audio department is the voice acting. All the actors do a good job of their lines, however, Michael Ironside does a great job of his. His dark humor that he portrays for his character Sam Fisher, is very funny and also very well done. I do not know how they keep getting spectacular performances out of him for these games, but it is one of the reasons that makes these games great.
Basically, the controls are a port of the old Xbox's control scheme. The control scheme for the game is still responsive and intuitively placed on the new Xbox's controller, but a few things feel out of place. However, if you are a veteran of past Splinter Cell games, then these controls will be easy to learn and master. If you have not ever played a Splinter Cell game, well there is sort of a training mission at the beginning that'll help you familiarize yourself with the controls. It is not that hard to learn the controls it just takes some time to master them. The controls are responsive and act accordingly in the situations that you are in.
Basically the story goes like this: Sam Fisher shortly after the death of his daughter is assigned a case to relieve his sorrow over his lost daughter. He is assigned by Third Echelon to infiltrate a terrorist cell within the United States. However, this time Sam will have very little help from Third Echelon. He therefore has to become a member of the terrorist group known by the acronym JBA.
Basically as a stealth genre game, this game involves a lot of sneaking around. However, unlike previous games there are some areas that have light and you have to sneak in the broad daylight. As was said above, this game is in the stealth genre, so expect a lot of dying and retrying areas over and over again to finally get past a part. So, if you are not the type of gamer that is impatient, then this game is not for you. If you have a lot a patience then you'll get maximum enjoyment out of the game.
The A.I. in this game is incredible. The A.I. calls for backup for encounters with Sam. They will team up and try to flank Sam in firefights, and even search for you relentlessly. The A.I. sometimes can even seem unfair, especially when you get sniped out of nowhere. You will get disgusted at least once while playing the game, enough to turn off the game.
The part of the game play that I truly liked was the dual objectives. You have two set of objectives, one by the government and one by the terrorist group. You must balance these two sets of objectives so that neither side loses trust within you. If you complete JBA missions you lose trust with the government and vice versa. It lent another strategic element to a series that has made a living on strategy.
This for me is a must buy. However, the only thing that may turn off some gamers is the trial and error process of the game. The game takes a lot of patience and can be very trying at times.
THE RUNDOWN- All the numbers to my ramblings!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/04/07
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