Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tom Clacy's Splinter Cell: First impressions

Goodwill was having a 50% off sale so I picked up a copy of the first Splinter Cell game on Xbox and decided to play it, these are my thoughts on it:
My first impressions are that the game is far too slow, they dump you into a training course, then make you use the right analog stick to look at lights before they let you move around. A lot of things in this game remind me of Metal Gear Solid, but not in a good way. You see, Metal Gear Solid drops you into the action from the beginning, sure you gotta figure out the controls yourself but that's better than a slow-moving tutorial mission that can't be skipped. I'd have been fine if they had just taken a cue from MGS and made training optional, in fact, I'd probably have skipped it and not have gotten so bored by the time they dropped me into real gameplay. One thing you need to know is there is falling damage, and you don't press a button to jump off the edge of something, you just jump, that means a lot of wasted HP on accidental jumps. Also the controls are fairly broken, I've had Sam grab onto a zip-wire and then let go to fall to his death, they shouldn't let you let go until the very end of the zip-wire! And another thing is the jumping, it's fairly imprecise at times and fine at others, another problem is the gear selection, you can't just press, say, black (I think that's the button) for gear and scroll until you find what you want, you have to go left until you find the category, then up until you find what you want. There's a reason why I set item selection back to "Linear" in MGS2. Another thing I noticed is the gun-aiming is imprecise (and very similar to RE4), in the training mission I was supposed to shoot some lights out to sneak past a camera, but my even though I had the cross-hairs on the florescent tube the bullet went into the wood. Another thing I need to address is the rigging of the characters, it's awful. Comparing it to Metal Gear Solid, MGS2, or MGS3 it looks terrible, the fingers are blocky and the lip-sync is off. Now, this is sixth generation we're talking about, but MGS2 had passable lip-sync. Another thing is Sam Fisher's voice-actor's voice is too deep for the role, it sounds like he should be running the op, not being a part of it.
Now, although Splinter Cell came out in 2002 and used the kind of aiming system that Capcom used for RE4 in 2005, we must take into account the following: RE4's aiming system, while not exactly perfect, was much better than the one used in Splinter Cell. Now, Splinter Cell came out a year after the first version of MGS2 was released, so I can safely say that Ubisoft was probably trying to cash in on the first MGS games' popularizing of the stealth genre, and that so far it looks like they did a bad job of it, you have to press white to press up against a wall instead of just pressing up against a wall and instead of having a button to punch, a button to shoot, and a button to use things you have to use "A" for multiple things, like opening doors, flipping switches, and taking ahold of guards, at least they left the attacks to the right trigger but why couldn't they have just used the right trigger for firing and let you use "X" to punch? Also, you can't just punch, you gotta be next to something you CAN punch in order to punch it, and if you've got a gadget equipped you use R to use it. If you're gonna try to cash in on MGS, at least try to make it quality okay? So far it just feels like a more broken, more pretentious stealth game, they don't even have the excuse of "This is the Xbox's stealth series" when MGS2 and 3 were both ported to the Xbox!
I'll do a followup when I get around to it. I'm gonna get back to browsing through DS stuff for now. BTW, I'm gonna pick up Resident Evil Revelations and Fire Emblem Awakening at the first opportunity I have.