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Archive for the ‘PSP Reviews’ Category

Review: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Essentials

Posted by rapaleeman on June 4, 2008

Well, I was bored the last couple of nights and the power went out at my house so I fired up the good ole PSP.  Of all the games that I own (and don’t wink wink) I decided to play Splinter Cell Essentials.  Not sure why, but I really like despite it being somewhat… … … flawed.

So UbiSoft wanted to create a version of Splinter Cell for the PSP.  Sam Fisher is on every other system (including the DS, N-Gage, and my cell phone) so why the hell not they said.  The problem is they decided to look at the PSP as a home console.  That works for some games.  Not SC.

Upon booting and playing, Splinter Cell Essentials looks, plays, and acts like the PS2 version of Splinter Cell.  I’ll get to the story in a bit, but I wanted to talk about the technical feet of having Sam run around in the shadows on PSP.  It is sweet.  He looks just like Sam and despite the game being a tad dark, it looks great.

Not only does it look like it Sam, but he has all of his moves.  Split jumps, combat rolls, upside-down pole hanging sniping, etc….  It’s awesome.  The problem comes into how you execute them.  You use every button on the system and the d-pad has numerous functions for each button.  Also, with a lack of a second analog stick (or nub or whatever the hell it’s called) you have to hold down the circle button and rotate it while stationary.  That isn’t terrible, but in some cases (any place where there is more than one guy in an area) it has a real pain due to not being able to move and look at the same time.  Sudden changes in direction can be disorienting as well.

You get used to it though and the overall story is ok for mobile.  You play essentially (not a pun) a greatest hits version of the Splinter Cell saga.  Other than the first level which has a spoiler in it so I won’t talk about it, the game starts before Fisher is in Third Echelon all the way up to the events of Double Agent and one mission beyond it.  Pretty cool and the final mission in the NSA is worth the price of admission to be honest.  A couple of the missions are recycled from the previous games (and Double Agent) but it works in context.  The story in and above itself is pretty lackluster, but this is solid SC action in the palm of your hand so I can forgive the method for which they link the missions.  It does work so don’t get too upset. 

The sound is top-notch.  Plenty of voice acting and the music by Amon Tobin is outstanding.  You need headphones for this one to make it worth your while.  Enough said there.

The multiplayer is pretty lackluster I’m afraid.  They attempted to recreate the PS2 experience and ultimately failed due to the controls.  you can toleratet hte slow speed of the game with Sam in single player because that is the way the game is to played.  In multi with mercs involved, not so much.  It is slow when it shouldn’t be and the frame rate is like 5-15 frames per second.  Practically unplayable.

With all of that said this game is still pretty good and definately a must-play for fans of the genre/series.  I didn’t like Metal Gear Portable Ops.  Too actiony for me.  This game however fits perfectly in my book.

Amazing graphics, great sound, ok controls, a decent story make it a perfect road companion if you are iching for a SC fix since you can literally save anywhere just like the console big brother’s.  The multiplayer is bad and there are camera and control glitches (seeing the inside of Sam’s head is pretty funny), but ultimately worth it.  Plus it will help you get caught up with the saga so you are ready for Splinter Cell Conviction which looks amazing.  Added bonus is 3 classic missions that are unlockable to give to more espionage action from everyone’s favorite Third Echelon agent.  Pick this up if you can find it.  Good game.



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