Excellent stealth but not without setting off some alarms
There are so many great titles coming out I (like many others) have to make a choice of which ones to pick up first. If the stealth genre remotely appeals to you make sure to get this game regardless of upcoming other titles. It really is that good
As good as it gets on 360 it is arguably the best looking game out right now, it even surpasses other eyecandy heavyweights like GRAW. The first storymission is guaranteed to drop your jaw. There's so many effects: water/smoke/lighting/shadowing going on at the same time it's ridiculous. This is one of those games that actually looks as good as the screenshots.
Soundeffects are as good as you would expect of a SC game, dolby digital in a game like this never gets old.
Gameplay: Now this is where things get interesting. As you would expect the gameplay is rocksolid and deeply involving but unfortunately not completely without flaw. Splinter Cell vets will notice that grabbing someone from behind has gotten way harder !! In previous games if you were in a 180degree circle behind your enemy you would be able to grab him no worries. This is no longer the case. The game asks you to be straight and I do mean STRAIGHT behind your enemy and to be litterally almost stepping on his ankles. Grabbing a moving enemy is now more than ever a sweaty palms affair. You WILL suffer a lot of annoying misses/allerts when trying to grab someone.
Also the AI can be questionable at times. I've been in situations where I would be no more than 3 feet away from an enemy in plain sight and he would not see me. The opposite is also true sometimes you'll be hiding behind an object and the enemy will be alerted eventhough you are sure you are out of his direct line of sight.
Or you will take someone out with a single silenced shot to the head and his buddy who is more than 30 feet away on the other side of a big tent/staircase/bunker or what have you will be magically allerted to your action eventhough it was humanly impossible to notice
These things don't ruin the game but in all fairness they do sometimes hurt your immersion in the game...
To put it very bluntly, SC4 has true next gen graphics combined with last gens AI
The thing is with all these hyperrealistic graphics these days, flaws like these become more and more apparent. Nobody cared about dodgy AI back in the ps1 days. But now people want their hyperrealistic looking virtual cars to drive hyperrealistic, they want their hyperrealistic looking enemies to behave hyperrealistic. And this is what next gen should also focus on in the years to come.
If Ubisoft can crank up the AI to be as next gen as the graphics for Splinter Cell 5 than we could be looking at the perfect 10