Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell HD Review
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell was originally released back on the Xbox in 2002. At the time of its release, Splinter Cell was lauded to how it redefined the stealth genre that was made famous by Hideo Kojima and the Metal Gear Solid series. Fast forward to 2011, and Ubisoft has now re-released the game in HD for the PlayStation 3.
Has Splinter Cell HD improved the gameplay since we last saw it in 2002? Are the graphics even that impressive? Is this better than Splinter Cell: Conviction? Answers to these questions and more as we now take a look at the HOTs and NOs of Splinter Cell HD.
Better Looking Than The PS2/Xbox Version
With other HD Collections, it’s hard to notice the difference between the original games apart from a few smoother textures here and there. Splinter Cell HD however, looks much better on the PS3 than it did on the Xbox and PS2 version of the game. The lighting effects are much brighter and it’s possible you can play the game without using Sam Fisher’s iconic night-vision goggles.
The original Splinter Cell game was far too dark in places which made it rather dull to play. Yes, you can use the might-vision goggles to help you see in the dark, but to use them around 90% of the time can get rather displeasing on the eyes. It’s like playing in black & white all the time. Thankfully, the PS3 renders the environments are lot better than those old consoles can and the game has never looked better.
One of the more refreshing things about playing Splinter Cell is that it’s not all about killing as much enemies as you can; it’s all about staying hidden and only taking out enemies whenever it’s absolutely necessary instead. With all the FPS games released recently, it’s nice to actually play a game that’s not all about shooting and killing, although there are parts in the game you can do that too!
Being a NSA agent, Sam Fisher will have access to a lot of nifty gadgets that will help him infiltrate enemy territories with ease. As aforementioned, Sam Fisher’s night-vision goggles will help him get out of very dark areas, he also has a lock pick to break into locked doors. Before you break into a door, Sam can take out his mini surveillance camera and place it under the door to check for any baddies hiding behind the door. It’s this style of gameplay that has sorely been missed with the plethora of FPS games flooding the video game industry right now.
Quick Saving Anytime
It appears as if this HD version of Splinter Cell is a port from the PC version as it includes the very handy “quick save” option. Unlike most other games these days, there is no auto saving option in Splinter Cell HD. However, you can choose to save the game at anytime almost any part of the level. It’s a helpful tool that was never available on the PS2 version of the game. The use of the quick saving feature also saves you a lot of time repeating the same section all the time if you failed at a certain point in a mission. If you struggled playing the game originally on the PS2, then this HD version of Splinter Cell will make life a lot easier for you.
If you’ve played Splinter Cell: Conviction, there’s a good chance you will find it hard to adjust to Splinter Cell’s original control scheme. Splinter Cell: Conviction had the smoothest and best controls ever seen in the entire franchise and it was difficult for me to play this game because of it. Criminally, gamers who are used to inverting the aiming controls won’t be able to adjust them in the options menu.
Not only this, but sometimes the game fails to register where you’re aiming the gun and bullets will fly everywhere. I remember having a clear headshot on an enemy and I shot him at the back of the head; he didn’t die and he turned around to alert the other guards in the area. This wasn’t the only time the aiming was off. I shot at a light bulb at close range but it failed to shatter and I saw multiple bullet holes around the light bulb on top of the ceiling.
Aiming isn’t the only outdated aspect of Splinter Cell HD. Sam Fisher’s melee attacks are pretty poor too. In Splinter Cell: Conviction, you’re able to grab an enemy from any side and execute a cool looking melee attack in the process. Sam Fisher does not have that in Splinter Cell as he can only grab enemies if he’s directly behind them. It can be hard to do this all the time if there’s annoying furniture in the way. The only melee attack he does possess is a weak elbow shot that fails to even knock out enemies in one blow. The first shot rarely hits them and they will always alert the other guards because of it.
It would have been a good thing if Ubisoft corrected these problems that plagued the first game from the beginning. However, the first game’s flaws seem to be all intact for this PS3 re-release. It feels like the game is only a direct port from the PC version and the only thing Ubisoft did was improve the visuals and nothing else.
As I mentioned before, the in-game graphics have improved dramatically since we last saw Splinter Cell. Sadly, the cutscenes have remained the same resolution. If you haven’t played Splinter Cell before, it’s a good idea to watch them to understand the game’s engaging storyline. If you’ve played the game before, it’s best to skip the cutscenes altogether. It’s almost as if Ubisoft ripped the cutscenes off from Youtube and stretched to fit a fullscreen. The pixilations in the videos are horrendously obvious.
Splinter Cell HD is arguably the best way to experience the original game that started the whole Splinter Cell franchise in the first place. The graphics blow anything that both the PS2/Xbox versions were ever able to dish out. Gamers who have played the more recent Splinter Cell games might dislike the outdated controls. However if you’re able to overcome this, Splinter Cell HD offers a fun style of gameplay that stealth fans should not ignore.[Editor's Note: Splinter Cell HD was reviewed on the PS3. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.] Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell HD Review,