The new Splinter Cell game is out, but to cut to the chase: it’s very disappointing. The graphics are great but I’m sort of past being blown away by graphics at this point. I feel like they changed the camera. It seems much closer to Sam and is sort of hard to see what is going on around him. I wonder if they brought the camera in so tight to compensate for the very detailed graphics; this way they don’t have to show as much on the screen at once.
The training levels are freaking terrible (and stolen from Metal Gear Solid) BUT there’s achievements for both so you pretty much will do them anyhow. At one point my screen was literally filled with Sam’s face as he worked his way along a wire – hello crazy camera!
The game starts out like a James Bond movie – you’re in the middle of a mission. When that mission ends, you get the opening. The new moves are cool – I liked pulling a guy down through a hole in the ice.
The story is a bit disjointed at the beginning. I feel like they had 2 competing stories and smashed them together. I don’t want to give anything away (although everyone probably knows it by now) but it just feels like kind of a hack job.
An interesting thing is that they have now put more emphasis on how you finish a level. You get a big scoreboard at the end that gives you your “stealth score”, with subtractions for alarms raised, bodies found, etc. Also, completing optional goals (“Enter base without alerting enemy”, etc) unlocks new gadgets. So you do have some incentive to stay stealthy.
My biggest complaint about the game is the loading times. They’re insane. Just to get from the training levels back to the training level is sooooooo long. The longest on any 360 game I can think of. That’s to load a menu with 2 options on it. I guess it’s because they have all this video and whatnot going on in the background of the menus – I would definitely rather just have the menu load immediately with a static background.
The last straw was arriving at the secret hideout and having to do another training level. I finally threw up my hands and said “This isn’t fun!” Between that and the camera it just wasn’t as good as Splinter Cell games of yore.
I didn’t get around to trying the multiplayer stuff, so no comment on that.
I returned Splinter Cell, and put my credit toward Gears of War, which I hope doesn’t disappoint!