Review by istorm

"A game plagued by its flaws and shortcomings."

Splinter Cell PT is the highly anticipated sequel to the smash hit, Splinter Cell. Some consider this title to not be a true sequel, but more of a multiplayer adaption. Thus is why some people consider Splinter Cell PT to have specifically been built for Multiplayer. This is somewhat true, as the Single Player component seems nothing more than an afterthought. I will touch softly upon single player, but this review will focus primarily on that of which is the main reason why anyone with Xbox Live would consider purchasing this title; for its Multiplayer.

Graphics - 8/10
This game has good lighting, but that is expected of a 'stealth action' title. This game has acceptable graphics, derived from the first title. Regardless, it is still not as splendid as some of the other eye-candy offered on the Xbox.

Sound - 7/10
Sound is mediocre. The shots of guns often sound muffled, and is a stark contrast from the blaring effects you may be used to from more popular games, such as Halo and Counter Strike. The environmental sound effects are fitting, and were performed well.
There are only a few music pieces in this game, in essense during the intro, and menus. They are fitting to the game, but get old very quick.
Sometimes sound randomly cuts off during some selection screens(especially during online sessions), which is somewhat odd. How could Ubisoft let slip such loopholes?

Singleplayer - 4/10
Decent, but certainly nothing special. All the promises of 'large, unrestricted levels' prior the games release were nothing more than boasts of a drunken spokesman. Levels are very linear, much akin to this games predecessor. There are only perhaps 2~3 opportunities in the game where you may actually choose what you wish to do, but the rest of the game is just a strait-forward 'point A to point B' scenario. Garnish it all you want about how you may choose either to kill, or knockout or avoid enemies. The majority of levels in this game are linear under the frosting.
What makes this worst is the single player is very short, and many casual gamers are able to finish it in a single sitting. This is really quite a huge disappointment. The plot itself is certainly nothing too mindblowingly spectacular too, there could have been much else that could have been implemented.

Multiplayer - 2/10
Multiplayer sessions cause more headaches than enjoyment due to its various flaws.

Splinter Cell PT multiplayer allows you to play as either a Shadownet Spy or an Argus Mercenary. Multiplayer does not allow split screen, you can only play on either LAN or XBL. Without an XBL account, you might as well just rent this game, as the multiplayer is pretty much out of the question in your case.
The multiplayer in this game could have been something very good indeed, but it turns out to be blotched. First thing, is the incredibly poor balancing they have in place. There are only 2 different sides you can play as, but due to some stupid decisions, online sessions are always lopsided.
1) Mercenaries can not adjust their aiming sensitivity, this leads to some problems, especially since 'quick turn' does not always work properly, especially in a heated battle, and the spy just circles you, bashing you every once in a while, and then eventually snapping your neck.
2) Smoke Grenades. Once you get beyond playing against low levels, you will find that spies use these grenades to their full advantage, and often this is to the point where the Mercenaries stand no chance whatsoever. Smoke grenades release a huge plum of smoke, which measures a 5 meter diameter. Smoke grenades have no effect on Spies, but when a Mercenary gets hit by one, he moves at a slower than walking pace, and after a few seconds is neutralized by the smoke. What else is great is that Spies are alocated 5 of these wonderful, easily-abused, toys, which they have a sore tendency the spam the hell out of. If you are a mercenary, and are fighting a good spy who knows how to properly use Smoke Grenades, you might as well give up right there and then.
3) When a spy leaps off of a higher vantage point, even if it is only slightly so, he has a good chance of knocking out a Mercenary if they are nearby. The radius of neutralization from a falling spy is really MUCH too large. At times you are watching they spy jump in front of you, a good 2 meters off, but suddenly you are neutralized. This exploit is further abused by spies, by climbing back onto a nearby ledge. The moment your mercenary regains consciousness, you can not control him for a few seconds. During this time you are a sitting duck, allowing the spy to immediately leap on you again, this time killing you.
4) Host Advantage. This is probably the largest possible flaw that Ubisoft could have permitted. Due to poor network conditions, on the side of Ubisoft, regardless of how fast your connection is, if you are playing in someone else’s hosted game, you will lag. It is not apparent to you that you lag, but the fact is that the Host of the game is always at least 2 seconds ahead of you. Playing as a mercenary with this added liability factor is even worst. You may try the best you can to keep the spy in your sights, but one moment the host is clearly in front of you, but then the next second your neck is being broken by that same target. This is absolutely unacceptable, especially in a small-skirmish type game as this.

Another glaring flaw of the Multiplayer is not specifically of the gameplay itself, but rather of how the entire Xbox Live interface is laid out. 90% of the time when you use Quickplay, or Optimatch, the game will NOT connect. About 20% of the games you see on Optimatch have already ended, but a ghost remains since the Ubisoft servers do not seem to be able to maintain a steady update rate. What else struck me as incredibly stupid, was that Ubisoft did not implement some type of temporary save of selected game settings. Every time you search Optimatch, you will have to readjust all your custom settings again and then press the search button. This serves to be nothing more than irritating, especially when you can not join most of the games that are found.

Finally, there is the issue of the ranking system. Gamers are confused as at times they may lose points almost at random. Some people may claim that this is all part of the system, but that is false(at least at the date this is written.) There is a glitch in the multiplayer ranking of which has been acknowledged by Ubisoft support, in which accounts may constantly lose points even if they win a game. This is just foolish to play ranked games, until at least this issue is properly resolved.

Final Verdict (not an average) - 4/10
This game had a lot of potential, but due to technicalities, it failed to deliver.
Splinter Cell PT is definitely worth a RENTAL, but I urge you to at least RENT before even considering paying full price on this product. Short single player, and Multiplayer gets old pretty quickly.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 04/19/04

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