Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Essentials Review
The Splinter Cell games have always pushed the limits of the systems on which they’ve appeared, with the exception of portables. Portable systems just haven’t had the power to handle a Splinter Cell game. Now with the PSP we finally have a portable with the power to do this excellent game series justice. So does Splinter Cell Essentials finally manage to bring the Splinter Cell experience to gamers on the go?
Splinter Cell Essentials remains true to the series in that in order to succeed you’ll need to take a discrete stealth-based approach to the missions. Attempting to run and gun your way through the game as if it were a first-person shooter will lead to quick deaths and failure. Aiding you in your stealth-based approach to the missions is Sam Fisher’s arsenal of moves. He can handle all of the basics such as hugging walls, shimmying along ledges, and sliding down ziplines. However, Sam is capable of so much more such as wall splits, SWAT moves, and dropping down on enemies from above.
All of these great moves are made less effective than they should be by the game itself – more specifically its poor control scheme. The directional nub is used to move Sam, but to change his facing you need to switch to free-look mode by holding down a button and moving the nub. This makes it extremely unwieldy to do the most basic of maneuvers such as trying to turn a corner. To do so you need to run, come to a stop, change your facing, and then start running again. Try doing that while being chased.