Review by Mech Master
"Very Good Stealth/Action Game"
Official Xbox Magazine gave this game a 9.6 which was a higher score than Halo got. I can agree about the game being good and all, but it isn't better than Metal Gear Solid and certainly nowhere near as good as Halo. Metal Gear has a more story-driven single player game and much more interactivity. Splinter Cell may be a great game, but lacks some of the little touches that Metal Gear has that makes it so great. Splinter Cell has downloadable missions over Xbox Live which because Metal Gear is on PS2 can't obtain obtain any downloadable items or anything and Splinter Cell has much better lighting. Even with a few upsides to Splinter Cell, there are many things that keep it from raining supreme.
Story wise, Splinter Cell gets its @$$ kicked by Metal Gear Solid. Metal Gear has sort of real world events, but with things to make it more interesting like mechs and cybernetic ninjas and etc. Splinter Cell tells the story of Sam Fischer, an old fart(well, he's actually only about forty) that is getting back into being a spy to help out the third echelon which is the organization he's with. But the problem is that the game lacks anything to make the story more compelling or interesting. It is nice to see that you don't have to play as a young super-human protagonist to kick major @$$, but other than that the story does lack.
This game sports the best lighting of any game to date. Everything casts a shadow in realtime. One thing I didn't like though is that the developers went a little crazy with putting some type of lighting on everything that makes a little sense. For instance, there is a tv on and in real life the tv would illuminate the room, but in this there are beams of light coming from the tv. It just looks a little unrealistic. The environments and characters also look very good. The environments have an enormous amount of detail in them from buildings to gravel on the road and the character models also sport a good amount of detail. There were some animation problems with enemies. Sam Fischer looks find, but the enemies have these crappy animations and have some bad lip synching. The cinematics also aren't the best ever either.
The voice acting in the game is really good along with all of the other sound effects and music. Michael Ironside lends his voice to the main character. There aren't many other famous actors though. The sound effects are great. The sound of even the little things are impressive too like the sound of a can dropping onto the ground or the wire as you repel off of a building and the wire extends. It all sounds great. The music ain't that great though. Metal Gear has a great ambience to it so that when a guard spots you the music stops and you can feel and hear your heart beat. That is great, but in this the music just kicks in to something more intense. It just doesn't feel as intense.
Metal Gear owns Splinter Cell in this area as well. Metal Gear has much more interaction and the story helps drive the gameplay to make everything a lot more enjoyable. In Splinter Cell, you are briefed on your mission and you go and do it. The game actually does some things that Metal Gear doesn't like the ability to hold a guard at gunpoint and interrogate him or the ability to use shadows to hide. This has been what people have been talking about. The shadows aren't just for show. You can actually take cover and hide in them similar to the Spider-Man game that came out a while back. The ability to shoot out lights is also a great way to create your own cover, but only certain lights can be shot out. The biggest problem for me is the lack of focus. The game tries to be realistic and not realistic at the same time. It is realistic in the sense that you can actually take cover in shadows and you have limited health and ammo. It is unrealistic in the sense that you have too much health for it to be realistic and guards can't see you in shadows even with this bright green light that is on Sam's equipment.
CONTROL:7.5(round to 8)
Go play Metal Gear Solid 2 for a second. Now go play Splinter Cell. What a difference. Metal Gear has way more moves and abilities in it, but yet it is easier to control than Splinter Cell. Now how can that make sense? The answer is-it doesn't. Splinter Cell has the clunkiest and just downright awkward control scheme and interface I have come across in a stealth/action game. This is the biggest downfall the game has. For one, just to change from rapid fire to single shot with the assault rifle you have to go into semi first person, then go into your inventory, and then hit the right button. Why is that. After about an hour you should have the whole gameplay and controls down. It will take you a while to get used to them, but the game is playable.
graphics: winner is Splinter Cell
sound: winner is Metal Gear Solid
gameplay: winner is Metal Gear Solid
control: this is a dumb question
WINNER: Metal Gear Solid!
Metal Gear Solid is still the best stealth/action series ever. Splinter Cell is a worthy contender. I mean it does have quite a few things that not even MGS has. Splinter Cell has all of the interactive shadows and the ability to shoot out lights along with some other things, but that can't make this better than MGS. Hopefully, Splinter Cell: Pandorra Tommorrow raises the bar. Expect VERY good things from this series in the future. If things go right, Metal Gear Solid might be a thing of the past if Snake Eater doesn't bring anything new other than a few new moves. So wathch out. It will be a battle between the Snake(MGS) and the Fish(Splinter Cell).
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/23/04
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