Review by Bleuet

"Better than having the "Fifth Freedom!" Well, maybe not, but it's still fun!"

Introduction: Splinter Cell is a Tom Clancy game based on stealth. Not only is it a Clancy game, it is the Clancy game, head and shoulders above all the other games with his name on them (not including Pandora Tomorrow, of course). Originally for the X-Box, the game was eventually ported over to the PS2 because it was so popular. However, Splinter Cell is not just a simple port from Ubi Soft in a cheap attempt to make more money. There are many changes to the PS2 version of the game, heck, there's even a whole new level added to the game for even more hours of fun! A simple port? I think not.

Gameplay: This is where Splinter Cell shines. The gameplay is original and refreshing. Wait a minute, original gameplay, you say? Stealth games aren't original, you say? Well, you would be right, but Splinter Cell doesn't have the old, tired gameplay as most stealth games have nowadays. The game has a stealth gameplay that has never been done before. A meter will tell you how much light is upon you, allowing you to know how well hidden you are. This feature alone makes the game. The feature is so unique and innovative that other stealth games will be sure to steal it in the future. As Sam Fisher, a member of Third Echelon, you must go on secret missions and gather intelligence to save the world. The game focuses heavily on stealth and sticking to the shadows, so don't expect to go full-auto on the enemies in any level. In some levels you don't even have the option of killing the bad guys. Instead, you go slowly and quietly through the shadows trying to accomplish your missions. There are alarms that will go off if the guards find their buddies dead or knocked out, so you are forced to hide the bodies. Set off enough alarms and it's gave over. This gives a realistic feel to the game, which is exactly what Tom Clancy games are all about- realism.

Though I like the overall gameplay of Splinter Cell, I do have a couple of problems with it. The first is how quickly the guards will react to your presence. Them acting quickly would seem like a plus, but it just isn't. One wrong step in a room with a couple of guards and you'll go down faster than a heavy rock in a shallow pond. I would have liked at least the chance to escape instead of an almost instant death. Part of this problem is how much damage you receive when you're shot. Since this game is all about realism, a few shots and you're toast. This same rule doesn't seem to apply with the enemies, however, who will take several shots before going down. Of course, a shot in the head is a shot in the head- unless it's not. You see, while most of the time hitting anyone in the head will kill them instantly, there are those rare occasions where shooting an enemy right in the head will have no effect on them (except to alert them to your presence). This glitch doesn't occur very often, but when it does, it will make you mad. Even if this never happens, shooting at a guard and hitting them several times in the torso area with them still standing is very frustrating. Other than these two problems, the gameplay of Splinter Cell is awesome.

Story: Ah, the story of Splinter Cell, how doth I describe thee? Oh, I know! In fact I'll describe it in one word: confusing. Yep, that's pretty much all you need to know about the story, that it's very complex and confusing. Most of time I didn't know why I was assassinating this politician or that, rescuing some guy, or getting information off a well secured computer. I just did it because they told me to. Does this fact bring the story down- a little. Does this fact bring down the gameplay- not at all. I didn't need to know why I was doing the things I did, just that I needed to do them. Granted, if I paid close attention to the cinema scenes between the levels and actually looked at all the information I collected, I probably would have had a decent idea of what was going on, I found it quite hard to actually understand the story. I feel that many who will play this game are like me, and too won't understand the story unless they take the painstaking measures of doing so. I didn't because doing so would not be fun, and I'm all about the fun. Quick summary: the story is deep, complex, and confusing, but if you really want to, you can understand it. My thoughts: you shouldn't have to really want to understand the story to get it, you should just understand it if you play.

Graphics: When it was revealed that Splinter Cell would be making its way onto the PS2, some people were skeptical that the PS2's graphics wouldn't be able to live up to the X-Box's super powerful, super good-looking graphics of this game. Ah, who am I kidding? We were all skeptical. But, this game is proof that that just ain't so. The graphics of the game are beautiful, almost as good as it's X-Box's older brother's. As light plays an extremely important role throughout the game, it makes sense that the light system would be extremely good, right? Well, it is. There are situations where the light looks more real then I would think possible from any game, X-Box or PS2. Also, the cinema scenes in between levels are very nice looking and detailed. Simply put, the graphics of this game are excellent.

Play Time/ Replayability: You won't have to worry about this section, Splinter Cell is both challenging and long, and I don't say that lightly. Each level is so long that there are check and save points through out it. There are many objectives to do, and you get more as you progress through the level. Even after accomplishing your main objective, you still must make your escape, which takes much longer than one would think. I can't say this enough, the levels in Splinter Cell are super long.

Final Recommendation: If you want a realistic stealth game that takes both time and patience to complete, then this game is for you. And hey, it's only $20, yay! If you want a game where you run through levels blasting everything in sight, then this game might not be for you. Even if this is the case, you should still rent this game to give it a try, it's very fun and may yet be for you.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/10/04, Updated 06/14/04

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