Excellent game with a strong character in Sam Fisher.
Sam Fisher is an operative of Third Echelon, which is a part of the NSA consisting of an elite team of strategists, hackers, and field operatives who gather intelligence from various sources to anticipate crisis and act swiftly.
When diplomatic relations need to be maintained, espionage operations are carried out by deploying a lone field unit by the Third Echelon who is accompanied by a remote team relaying instructions through radio contact. Sam Fisher is the Third Echelon's best agent – A Splinter Cell. They are granted the use of Fifth Freedom – protect United States using any means necessary, and should the agent be captured, the United States government will deny all knowledge of their existence.
When two CIA undercover agents disappear in Georgia, Sam Fisher is sent to investigate the matter and rescue them. Fisher soon uncovers a deeper plot involving a Georgian invasion on United States through nuclear warfare.
Splinter Cell is played in the 3rd person perspective with an over the shoulder camera when in combat mode but the emphasis on stealth.
The game manages to stay interesting because the levels are varied and in some levels the player is allowed the freedom to use force and other less subtle means of approach. Yet the game difference from other action games because the player has to be careful about the ammo, which is sometimes limited.
Thankfully, Fisher has the ability to sneak behind enemies and deliver a blow that will cause the enemy to lose consciousness, this comes in handy when ammo low. But I never encountered a situation where I ran out of ammo even when I used my weapons to take out enemies most of the time; getting headshots will ensure that you get maximum return for your ammo spent.
The weapons are good although somewhat lacking in variety, but the gadgets are very interesting. You are given a SC-20K M.A.W.S. (Modular Assault Weapon System) and a SC Pistol attached with a silencer and an assortment of tools such as lock picks, optical cable, camera jammer etc, along with the trademark goggles which has thermal and night vision modes.
I felt that the pistol could have been more accurate and the sniper mode in the SC-20K could have benefitted with less amount of head bob, that is just a minor observation though.
PC gamers gain the advantage of having a quick save feature, which comes in as a blessing. I would have detested the use of checkpoint system in a game such as this.
The graphics are very impressive. The lighting effects are superb and the use of shadows is excellent throughout, in fact, it is very essential to use them to your advantage. You are given a visibility meter, and if properly concealed in darkness, the character is as good as invisible.
Sound effects are superb with good voice clarity. Footsteps can be heard very distinctly and this helps to alert the player of enemy presence. There is no music during the game on most occasions, but the music in the cutscenes is very good, and so are effects such as splintering of glass, computer keystrokes and so on.
One of my main complaints about the game is the linearity. You proceed in the exact same path that the developer intended you to, and perhaps that makes this game rank below Dues Ex and such because there is no replay value.
Overall, Splinter Cell is a great experience, which does not follow the usual route of other action games, but tries to be a little more realistic.
+ Sound effects
+ Great use of stealth
+ Level design
- No replay value
- Weapons lack variety
Verdict – Sam Fisher is the PC version of Solid Snake. Excellent game.