Ever since returning from E3 2002 we have learned much about the gaming industry. Every year we are treated to some typical re-hashes of last year’s games but we are also given some new titles and of those a few stand out and scream to be recognized. One of those titles is assuredly Splinter Cell, after catching the attention of almost everyone on the show floor including Hideo Kojima himself, the master behind Metal Gear, SC has finally reached our grubby gaming hands. The question is do the absolutely stunning graphics and new twist on stealth gameplay hold up in the final product? The answer is a resounding yes. With all of this said let’s move onto what makes Splinter Cell such a great game!
From screenshots to tantalizing movies this game pleases every eye it comes in contact with. The developers have used lighting and shadows like no other developer before them. Using what the XBox can truly do to make a game look this good is what we as gamers were waiting for. The use of environmental effects also adds to the visual pleasure, being able to use wind and movement to ruffle tarps, spider webs, and curtains really adds to the realism and overall feel of SC. A game this gorgeous doesn’t come all the time so appreciate all the hard work that went into developing a title like this, it truly astounds me what the XBox can do when pushed further than most developers choose to do. Absolutely gorgeous!
Adding a truly captivating score to any game assuredly ups the mood and tensions set by the atmosphere. SC takes great advantage of the XBox’s 5.1 capabilities delivering some of the best sound this side of Halo. Enemy chatter, windows breaking, and the ambience are so realistic that it sometimes adds more tension than you would like. Casting Michael Ironside as the voice of Sam Fisher was also a wise move. His gritty overtones give Sam that true sense of bad-ass-ness (is that a word?) he presents. You grow to feel like you know Sam personally and that is a feat not many games can boast about. The other characters are also very well done rounding out a truly solid audio package.
Where MGS left off SC continues, adding more moves, gadgets, and ways to accomplish any given task gives Sam the slight advantage over Snake he needs to win over MGS lovers worldwide. You can use a fiber optic camera to look under doors, pull off a split jump to put yourself in the shadows of ceilings, climb poles and hang from railings, the sheer amount of moves that Sam has is truly amazing. You also make use of the right analog stick for the camera movements, this allows you to survey around corners and areas to get a better view of the situation. Executing some moves and simple tasks can deliver a slight delay, but you grow accustomed to it. The only complaint I have is that I wish the controls were a bit tighter and more responsive, then Snake would truly be dethroned.
Taking a game like this and making you come back for more is what made MGS so popular. Little nuances that give you reason to play through the game more than once is what keeps it’s shelf life abundant. SC gives players more than enough reason to keep playing, whether it’s the 8 downloadable levels courtesy of XBox Live or the simple fact that the game is so open ended you want to try and find new ways to accomplish each section of the game. It truly is nice to be able to play through a game more than once, it makes that 50 bucks so less harsh to part with.
If you own and XBox this is the game to get, taking everything MGS founded and upping it a notch truly delivers a solid gameplay experience. If you are a huge fan of MGS then you will love SC. It takes years of developing to deliver a game of this magnitude and we should appreciate the level of excellence it delivers. Truly a great game for any gamer. A little short on story and really deep in gameplay, Splinter Cell will go down as one of the best XBox games ever created. Highly recommended!