"A Few Tweaks Away From Perfect"

Splinter Cell for the PS2 may not have ALL the graphical flair of the XBOX version, but this is still on the money as far as an immersive graphical and gaming experience on the PS2. This is by far one of the better games for the PS2 to date and I must say I enjoyed the story and the gameplay much better than Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. It is apparent to me that this game is the evolution of games like Metal Gear Solid and Siphon Filter, but I also see trace aspects of Hitman 2 in gameplay and interface design. So if you enjoyed any of these 3 titles I think you will also enjoy Splinter Cell. As a note I played this game on the hardest level as to extend the life of the game and the level of skill that was neededto succeed, so all comments on AI will be relative to the hardest skill level. Now for the break down.

As far as these graphics go, they are some of the sweetest I've seen on the PS2 to date. The heat distortion and lighting effects although not up to par with the XBOX are still impressive. Some of the textures could have looked a little better but overall not shabby at all. The effects of cloth in doorways and halls was also very impressive. I remember being blown away looking out at the ocean,the moon, the clouds and stars on the OIL RIG level. Good Stuff !!

SOUND: 7/10
The sound was decent, although I do think it could have been a little bit better. I play in 5.1 Dolby Pro Logic Surround and there were times when the noise location wasn't too accurate as to represent their source location on screen. As far as the sounds of the weapons and speech go it was up to par, but nothing cutting edge or innovative.

This is a great game and the controls are pretty solid and reliable. There were a few times when the double jump off the wall didn't do what I wanted, but other than that I have no complaints. The strength of the control comes from the sheer variety of moves at your disposal....from the Stealth Door Peek to the Split Jump or the Peek Shoot I was very happy and satisfied with my options, all of which play into strategy decisions and add to the depth of the game. I do wish there was an ability to save at any point as most of the challenges require some trial and error to get past. The save points are sometimes spaced in such a way that if you die you are taken pretty far back to the last Quick Save and forced to repeat aspects of the mission over and over until you pass them. The AI of the enemy soldiers can vary from slightly retarded to hyper vigilant. You can one time sneek past a soldier that should see you in his field of vision, and the next time be sitting in the shadows with your Stealth Meter in the black and be spotted, but I am yet to see a game that uses enemy AI for detection get it 100% perfect...so you have to deal with it.

The only reason this isn't a perfect score is because of the trial and error that is sometimes needed to pass levels. It can get frustrating. The solution is to simply install a Save Anywhere feature as they did with the Tomb Raider games in future incarnations. But overall this game is really fun to play....especially in the dark with the 5.1 turned up really loud.

A few multi-player game modes would have been really sweet, but if ou enjoy sneaking and shooting games you will probably run through this game again from time to time. Still a solid addition to anyones PS2 Gaming Library.

As I say always say...you shoul always rent first, but one rent will send you running to your nearest gaming store.

Hitman 2 - PS2
Metal Gear Solid - PSone
Metal Gear Solid 2 : Sons of Liberty - PS2
Siphon Filter Series - PSone

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/21/03, Updated 04/21/03

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