Splinter Cell = Thief

In my opinion, the CIA level pales in comparison to the second time through the Chinese Embassy. I must have played through this one section for 2 and half hours before I finally got it. I was hugely frustrated at the length between saves. If you can get through the room with the turrets on your first 10 tries, you’re a better man than I am.

After that, I didn’t have any problems beating it.

Another reason why save anywhere is always superior to save points. If the developer is extremely careful about where the save points are, sure, it can work… but different sections are difficult for different people. I know I’ve been through levels where I breezed past three save points in a row with no problems.

Generally, though, the combat/sneaking is flexible enough that repeated attempts feel like opportunities to try different approaches, not just regurgitating the same actions over and over with less mistakes… which is one of the hallmarks of a great game.

That reminds me. Just checked GameRankings, and we’re up to 16 reviews. As predicted, Kasavin’s 8.6 is still the lowest score any reviewer has given Splinter Cell. The GameSpot user review average is 9.2, too.

Here’s a snippit from a Gamers.com preview of the PC version. Puts the “The Xbox might play better than the PC version, because of game gamepad” to rest.

[i]Of course, if you’ve played the Xbox version, you already know how great the game is. How does the PC version fare? Thankfully, it’s not just a lazy port that the developers turned around in a couple of days. You know those kinds of ports; the ones that still need a gamepad to be playable, and still make references to using the “triangle button” in-game. No, the Splinter Cell PC team has been working on this for the last six months or so, making sure everything from the Xbox version converts over nicely. For example, control has been optimized for the keyboard and mouse, so no need to buy a gamepad for this port. You’ve got the mouse for looking, and the keyboard for movement. The Xbox used analog input to control walking/running speed, and the PC handles that by using the mousewheel.

[/i]

God, yes. I so massively fucking hate limited saves. SC is probably the best use of save points I’ve seen in a while, but it was still a pain in the ass. Don’t developers realize that people shockingly have lives and that those lives demand turning off a game quickly and putting out a grease fire or taking a kid to the emergency room. It’s even more irritating with the Xbox. The thing has a hard drive for Pete’s sake, LET ME SAVE WHENEVER, WHEREVER, AND AS MUCH AS I WANT!!

And don’t give me that noise about limited saves increase tension in the game. Good AI, story, and combat should increase tension, not the fear of having to replay the same goddamn section over and over again. No one ever said “Yeah, Half-Life was OK, but its main problem was that you could quick save wherever you wanted.”

Using this advanced analysis, we also find that Medal of Honor Spearhead has 8.7 user average, an 8.1 rating in the review, and GameRankings says it’s 76%.

Damn, I guess our 1.5 star review kills our credibility. Ben Sones, you’re FIRED! How dare you have an opinion that’s outside the box! No more independent thinking for you! Didn’t you get the memo: always match Gamespot, Gamespot user reviews, and GameRankings!

Damn, I guess our 1.5 star review kills our credibility. Ben Sones, you’re FIRED! How dare you have an opinion that’s outside the box! No more independent thinking for you! Didn’t you get the memo: always match Gamespot, Gamespot user reviews, and GameRankings!

Actually, I kinda agree with that rating. Spearhead isn’t one of the best games released on the Xbox platform to date.

So I just bought Splinter Cell (XBox) for GMicek for early Christmas present and all I can say is WOW! First of all, the DVD is loaded with content just like DVD movies. I mean content besides the game. Little movies as interviews, etc. There’s a badass interview with Sam (the character you play) inside the Ubisoft studio… damn its sweet. Trailers of other games (XIII and Rocky for the XBox) looked nice also.

He’s about 20 minutes into the training level so I can’t speak intelligently on gameplay yet, but it looks damn good so far also. I’m like the huge Thief fanboy and this looks line finally someone else has gotten stealth right in a game.

Just curious, but is Splinter Cell 1st person, 3rd person, or both?

3rd person. Gun firing modes switch to pseudo 1st person where you can see the arm, the gun, and maybe part of Sam.

Also, something cool I noticed. When infiltrating the Chinese Embassy, you can climb up on some construction catwalks. Well, I made some noise up there and got the guards all agitated. I jumped down and found some nice, inviting shadows to wait in until they calmed down. While I was waiting, a guard walked by, looking up at the catwalk where I made that noise a few seconds ago. I love the little details in this game.

The guards in Nolf 2 did stuff like that. ooooh. big deal! I’ll be buying the pc version.

etc

This is because the environment was constructed specifically around what the character can and cannot do. As such, each of the instances you point out, are trigger points. Sure they could allow you to shimmy up/down any pole - but wouldn’t someone be complaining if you had to shimmy up/down ten poles until you found the right one? Better yet, did you just want to see the one pole you could shimmy up/down? :D

This is how linear games are designed and developed. Hence the term, linear.

  1. Similar to 1 - More interaction with the environment. Why can’t every single light in the game be shot out?

See above

Can you imagine how much work the level designers would have to do in order to make those vast levels truly interactive and with trigger points, consequences etc? Just ask the folks who’ve been developing (well, at least thats what they say they’re doing) DNF for near a decade or so and you’ll begin to get the picture.

Bah, these are super-picky anyway.

heh, yep :D

The only real difference between this game and the Thief games for me is that I feel like death incarnate here. EGM points out correctly that you feel like a panther skulking through the world, able to pounce on your prey easily. Whereas in Thief, I felt like a sort of wussy tabby hoping not to get caught.

LOL!!! Nicely put and I quite agree!

I couldn’t agree more. The most tense game I’ve ever played is probably System Shock 2, which let me gleefully save the game wherever and as often as I wanted.

If SC has save-anywhere on the PC, it will be a better game simply because it will be less frustrating. At the very least, more checkpoints would have helped the Xbox version.

I think the best limited save experience I’ve ever had was Halo. It just automatically saved at checkpoints throughout the levels, and if you died you started back there. There wasn’t even so much as a prompt. But it was quite smart about it - it wouldn’t save if you reached a checkpoint unless you weren’t under any sort of threat, to prevent unintentionally saving in a bad situation. It was also so fast you didn’t even notice it, and the checkpoints were always placed in such a way that you didn’t have to replay extra parts of a level when you died, just the part that actually killed you.

I understand the concept of linear, and my call wasn’t for more poles we could interact with that lead to nowhere. My call was for more ways to get by obstacles. That could mean unlocking a door with special device that could only be found in the game/interrogating an enemy for a keypad code/climbing a poll/using the press-against-wall routing to shimmy by a tight spot, etc.

Linearity can be good thing to keep the player moving and interested, but too much can be boring and predictable, and in my opinion some of the levels in Splinter Cell were too linear.

But they’ve already done the work, I just wished they were consistent with it. Why is it that 90% of the lights in Burma can be shot out except the ones on the street? The answer is obvious: it would have made the street sections far too easy. But that’s just developers bending their own rules to make life easier for themselves. It is even more suprising considering they already solved that problem in other levels by giving guards their own light sources via flashlights on their guns.

These are really major criticisms, and the only significant ones I could find with this otherwise excellent game.