Review by sacriseverence
"If you wanna know how this game really is, read this review."
Ok, I'll have to start off by saying 6/10 is a fine score, and almost worth the 50 bones I payed for this jam. (what's a 10? FF7 and Goldeneye are 10's, i'm tired of this overblown rating given by fanboys). I gave a 3 to Star Wars: Bounty Hunter because it's not completely terrible, but on its way. On w/ the review.
Nope, graphics don't make the game, but in a game such as Splinter Cell they factor so hugely into the gameplay it's ridiculous. Most environments are beautiful and the highly touted lighting effects are truly magnificent. Add the fact that you can shoot out about 70% of the lights in the game, and you got one sweet looker in which the graphics are AFFECTING the gameplay, which is rare and very cool. Why only 8/10? Two reasons: one point off for all those lights that provided NO shadow to my character... slight oversight. The other point off for the dark-o-meter (see gameplay) having little to do w/ the actual ambient light. The game is telling you you're completely enshrouded in shadow and that you're ''virtually invisible,'' meanwhile I can see Sam Fisher's stubble. Still, great looking game, just some last touches coulda made that difference.
Music is appropriate for a stealth game, not ever present unless someone's stalkin' you, cool, whatever. The sound effects are cool for the most part but there are a whole bunch of sounds I can't identify - for example, leaning against the wall makes you produce this sound of tapping on a microphone. Maybe it's the cell phone thing on his back? who knows. decent, anyway. Very well done in terms of enemy AI (see gameplay).
When I first bought this game I thought it was cheese. But just like Syphon Filter, you start playing it and realize what the developers were getting at. This game is all about STEALTH, and man you gotta sneak like a motha. Creep too fast, a guy will hear you. Even switch your night/heat vision while you're in the dark and someone's looking for you, they might catcha ya (never mind that you can hide in the pitch black w/ your cell phone and goggles shining through the night). You only get two basic guns, but you don't care, because you're having a ball sneakin'. And another great aspect of gameplay: CAMERA PROBLEM SOLVED. It's a 3rd person game but you ALWAYS control the camera, like in an FPS. Not like alot of other 3rd person shooters where you are at the camera's bitter mercy.
The drawback in gameplay is that this game is so damn linear. SO linear. The level design does a mediocre job of hiding it, but if you go in a door, rest assured that you won't hafta turn back and find a different door. All the doors you see besides the next one you're going to won't open or anything, except for maybe one small room to grab some crap in each level. This turns the game from what's supposed to be an objective based game to a mario-style ''get to the end, hit 'x' in the right place, don't matter what I do.'' But that's the biggest drawback to every single next-gen title I've played, besides tony hawk and GTA3.
The other drawback is that good ol' Sam, while fairly mobile, has a hard time jumping and grabbing on to things and doing stuff like that. It relates on a wider scale to the lack of options in the game - there may be a million ledges, but you can only hold on to so many of them. And when you can grab one, you gotta be just right. They gave Sam the ability to double jump off the wall, but he's no Dante, so don't expect to use it. And the split-jump? A useless gimmick. Practically insults the rest of the game, because it is a fine game. The environments could have been more interactive - why can I only pick up a bottle or coke can to distract an enemy?
But <sigh>, the most glaring drawback is the linearity. Take a great game engine and give your player a little freedom, and that's just the jam. I hope developers wise up.
Relates strongly to gameplay, I know, but worth mentioning on its own. It's very intuitive. If you're gonna shoot your gun you walk VERY slow as you aim - GOOD! This is a stealth game, folks. Besides some clunky jumping and climbing, you'll find Sam moves realistically and user-friendly enough to make the stealth not frustrating in the least.
There ain't nothin' to unlock, johnny, but they made the game long and challenging enough to make at least this ol' gamer want to give it a couple more runthroughs. Replayability doesn't have to be extraordinarily high if the game is long enough - something else all developers should wise up to!
ALL 5 POINTS come from contrast to what everyone thinks of when they think stealth - the MGS series. Write your local senator and say Splinter cell rocks because of more action, less talk! I got to creep up on 1000 more guys because I wasn't put through the most ridiculous storyline ever. In Splinter Cell you work for the NSA, yadda yadda, save the world from Georgians (former USSR, not the U.S. state). There's some interesting tidbits of story to pick up from ''data sticks'' dropped by guys you mack and computers you play with, but nothing NEAR the level or depth of Deus Ex (which would rock), and nothing nearly as silly as MGS 1 or 2 (''the gulf war babies are our brothers?!?!?''). But this game is action, and props to those who would bury storyline under a great playable game. If I want storyline I'll read dune.
Rent or Buy:
As with most pretty decent games, you can go either way. I'd told a friend of mine the game was good and that altho I payed 50 bucks for it I felt it was worth 40. For you pure stealth junkies, I'd say it's an easy buy. Graphics junkies, you too. All the true gamers may feel a rent is sufficient, tho it's long enough that you won't feel like a jackass for buying it (coughMARKOFKRIcough).
Overall: I didn't do an average, but the game FEELS like a 6. If I were still in college I wouldn't pull a Goldeneye and lose 2 years to that game w/ my friends (THAT's a 10, silly fanboys) for this game, but it did suck me in. Good stuff.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 04/24/03, Updated 04/24/03
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