|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal|
|Release: April 10, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Drug Reference, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
As I work my way through the 3DS catalog, I'm coming to a very distressing conclusion: the 3DS-make is the new Wii-Make. Need evidence? Rayman 3D was nothing more than Rayman 2 with 3D visuals. The most-anticipated title for the 3DS is the 3D remake of Ocarina of Time. And then there's Splinter Cell 3D. Which is the same game you played nearly a decade ago, just without all the extra features.
At its core, Splinter Cell replicates the single-player experience of the original fairly well. You play as Sam Fisher, before he was saddled with all that emotional baggage, and I have to say that revisiting the original Splinter Cell is certainly refreshing. The story is told with all the same plot points, and even the voiceovers and cutscenes from the original have been ported directly over to this version with little to no discernable differences. If all you want to do is relive Sam Fisher's earliest adventure, than you'll have some fun with this title.
However, if you want more than just narrative, Splinter Cell 3D disappoints. Though the controls work surprisingly well (more on that in a minute), the gameplay and the Splinter Cell experience we've all come to expect fails magnificently. Let's start with the core gameplay mechanic: stealth. Splinter Cell is all about doing things as quietly as possible and sticking to the shadows. Splinter Cell 3D throws all that out the window in favor of simplistic AI that can't see you even when you are standing under a spotlight. And though it is still very satisfying to sneak up behind someone and knife them before they know you're there, you really don't have to. Running through the game, guns blazing, is the easiest way to progress, and you never really have to hide, as the enemy is almost never prepared for your attack. Maybe they were in the middle of telling their favorite joke or something. As enemies turn around and stare at you, you'll have no problem picking them off one by one with relative ease.
What makes the ridiculous AI even more depressing to behold is the fact that the game actively encourages you to employ useless stealth strategies. It's like the game overcompensates for the AI by giving you constant nagging suggestions so that maybe you'll play the game the way it was intended and give yourself a challenge so that the game doesn't have to work to challenge you. However, being a lazy gamer, I'll just take the simple way out, thank you very much. Challenging me to challenge myself is just bad game design. Just giving me the tools is not enough, when I have no reason to use them.
And it's not just the need to use stealth that's missing from Splinter Cell 3D. The game has been stripped of all its extra multiplayer modes, which is even more depressing considering the DS port of Splinter Cell had multiplayer modes, and that was released six years ago! I know the 3DS has plenty of great multiplayer capabilities (see Super Street Fighter IV if you need proof), which makes me wonder just how rushed this title was. The lack of challenging AI coupled with no content beyond the single-player story mode makes this game either rushed out of production or a cheap cash-in. Neither of which is worth your $40.