Patrick Maese

Now that I am about half way through Splinter Cell, I am able to review this bad boy. Splinter Cell is yet another iteration in the Tom Clancy saga of military “kill-the-bad-guys” games. However, this one is a slight departure from the usual multiplayer team forces games (like the recent Ghost Recon), this one is solely single player. You play the role of Sam Fisher, a retired military operative, who has come back to join a new intelligence gathering initiative called “Third Echelon,” which is long for “get lots of juicy information for the government, and oh, by the way, kill some people while your at it.”

Splinter Cell is labeled as a “stealth action” game, which pretty much means you are supposed to sneak around and not get caught. Those familiar with the line of Thief games will feel very familiar with this style of gaming. However, not all of it is sneaking in shadows…I tend to get caught a lot, which then ensues into a gun fight of some sort and me ending up dead. But again, the goal of the game is not to be detected, so you will do a lot of creeping behind people and taking them out.

Now Metal Gear Solid 2 inspired this game, and I had just finished it on Xbox before Splinter Cell came out, and I have to tell you, aside from it being an entirely different story, the two games are almost identical. I would say, though, that Splinter Cell is a more polished game, both in graphics and in game play. Oh, did I mention the graphics?! They are beautiful!! As I mentioned above, a lot of the game is spent in shadows and behind objects, so lighting is an essential part of the game, so it no surprise that the developers spent a lot of time perfecting the lighting in the game. And I can say, without doubt, it is has the best lighting I have seen in a game (well, except from Doom 3 alpha). You are also equipped with night vision goggles, which unfortunately, you spend most of the time wearing, because you are always in the damn dark. It is kind of ashamed too, because you miss a lot of the lighting effects the developers spent so much time working on.

Game play is very satisfying and frustrating at the same time. Since it is based around stealth, patience is the name of this game, and because you are not loaded to the teeth with ammunition, finding your way around guards and enemies takes a good amount of time. Although you can kill the opposition, you have to make sure their bodies are well hidden…otherwise the guards will find the bodies and alert the others to your presence. I found that I had to retry sections five to ten times so I could get through without losing too much ammo or health (maybe I just suck).

Splinter Cell was heralded as the Xbox game of the year, and yes, although it is indeed a very good game, frustrating parts can wear at your civility. By in large, the game is a must buy if you enjoyed Metal Gear Solid 2, and if you have never played Metal Gear Solid 2, you will definitely enjoy this game much more. As an added bonus,Splinter Cell adds the ability to download extra missions though Xbox Live, so when you have finished the game, you can count on an ongoing saga of espionage and aggressive hostile encounters (for an added fee of course).

Let me know if you guys have any questions!