There are only two reasons why you won’t have heard about Splinter Cell. The first is that you have been locked up in some bizarre experiment for the last 5 years, and the second is that you’re dead. This game has been one of the grandest smashes on the Xbox to date. Thankfully Ubi Soft have finally come to their senses and decided to bring it out on the PC and PS2, as well. The PC version is currently out but it is just over a week until the PS2 version becomes available. We, at Ferrago, have been lucky enough to receive an advanced demo version for much drooling purposes, we hope.
The story in the full version has apparently kept in touch with the original with some extended levels and a few new additions, in the way of new weapons and stealth equipment. Unfortunately we are not given any chance to test these extras out until the full game is released. In the demo you have to infiltrate the embassy and obtain information on a Korean war lord. I’m not sure how much relevance this has to the full game but it certainly sets it up as promising title. You play Sam Fisher who is a top rate special agent for the CIA and his agility is astounding. You’re equipped with an array of silenced but deadly weapons and surveillance material. In the demo we see the delights of the under door camera to check for flunkies. If the room’s are too dark you could always flip down your thermal camera or your night vision goggles, both of which look absolutely superb.
The graphics are silky and smooth. There has been a real attention to detail with debris floating around in the darkened alleyways and the graphics don’t even falter when you get in some tight squeezes and see Sam Fisher’s hair waving around on-screen. Even when the action becomes fast the PS2 system seems quite capable of handling it without any jolts. It makes you wonder, with a game of this graphic quality, what some of the less graphically appealing games are doing wrong. The graphic integrity isn’t even compromised when you change to the thermal and night vision. The gritty, realistic look that the night vision creates is outstanding.
Graphics are all well and good but it all relies on decent gameplay, and this game has that in the bucket loads. It really is a game you can fully submerse yourself in and it is like directing your own movie. The movement is complex but relatively easy to pick up and in no time you’ll be sneaking through the most deviously protected buildings.
The real question of course, is how does it square up to its Xbox counterpart. We can only really focus on the graphics and sound quality as the controllers are similar enough to be able to pick up both versions rapidly. The PS2 is always going to fall shy of the power of the Xbox graphics but that is not to say they are not very impressive. These graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on the PS2. The sound is a very subtle issue and the happy medium has been struck once again in the PS2 version. We can only guess on the final standards of gameplay but all signs look good.
So save your money up and don’t be tempted by any other games for another week or so as the game that will rock the PS2 like it has the Xbox will be landing in shops around the 28th of March. As a certain training shoe manufacturer might say: Just Do It.