After many conversations of various games we would like to see remade/remastered here at Gaming Respawn, a couple of us have mentioned a certain spy extraordinaire that goes by the name of Sam Fisher. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is an award-winning series of stealth video games (and a very personal favourite of mine) both published and developed by Ubisoft and Gameloft.
The first game in the series was released back in 2002, along with their tie-in novels. Sam Fisher is a highly trained agent of a fictional black-ops sub-division within the NSA dubbed “Third Echelon”. You, the player, control Fisher’s movements to overcome his enemies in levels that were created using the Unreal Engine, with an emphasis on light and darkness as gameplay elements that play a huge part in the game.
Over the course of the series, with the last entry being Splinter Cell: Blacklist released in 2013, you take Sam Fisher on a number of unforgettable missions across the world, from sneaking into a bank in Panama City to infiltrating the CIA itself. No mission is too extreme for this hardened spy. Along with various intel before the start of each mission, you are also given several options for your loadout to help complete your objective.
Gadgets and Gizmos
An essential in any agent’s arsenal is, of course, a silenced pistol, which also has an EMP device attached to take out cameras, lasers, etc. Along with this, you can also get the SC-20K M.A.W.S (Modular Assault Weapon System), which has a wide choice of gadgets to go with it, with some of those being an EMP launcher, smoke grenade launcher, taser and a shotgun attachment, just to name a few.
Right then, now that we are all caught up, it is time to talk about why I personally think we need a new (or even remastered) Splinter Cell game. I’ve been an avid fan of stealth-based video games from a young age, my first introduction to the genre being a PlayStation One classic by the name of Tenchu: Stealth Assassins. From there is when I discovered the wonders of the Thief games on PC, developed by Looking Glass Studios and Eidos Interactive in 1998.
Thief’s latest release was back in 2014 and was published by Eidos Montréal and developed by Square Enix.
My argument as to why we need a new or remastered Splinter Cell game all revolves around one of the entries in the series and is also what I think is the pinnacle of the Splinter Cell franchise…Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory!
Picture This: The Year Is 2008…
Information warfare is at an all-time high: citywide blackouts, hijacking of national defence systems and sabotage of the stock exchange. As the NSA’s most elite black-ops agent, Sam Fisher, it is your job to infiltrate a number of locations and complete your objective in any way possible. Now, as soon as I start playing, I immediately notice the improvements to the basic gameplay, as well as the introduction of ragdoll physics (something I had not seen in a Splinter Cell game before).
They had also refined the stealth mechanics of the game, along with the light bar that shows you how visible you are to your enemies. There is now also an aural monitor, which measures how much noise Sam makes, as well as the ambient noise around you. There had also been a massive improvement to the enemy AI. In previous titles once Sam had left an area, the game would do a sweep of the previous area for all unconscious or dead enemies in a well-lit spot.
As you can imagine, if a body were found, then an alarm would sound. Now the bodies need to be discovered by patrolling enemies or security cameras for the alarm to trigger. This allows you to leave bodies lying out in the open. And as long as you have taken out all other NPCs and disabled all the cameras, no alarms will be triggered.
It’s a Trap!!
Alarms can still be triggered by being spotted, and they will cause enemies to become more alert and combat ready. But unlike its predecessors, setting off too many alarms will no longer make the game end automatically. Even killing civilians or friendlies won’t cause you to fail your mission, although Lambert does NOT take too kindly to that sort of behaviour from his agents, so expect a damn good verbal spanking from him if you do.
A new addition has been added to your arsenal of spy gear: a combat knife. This knife can be used in multiple ways, from taking down enemies to interrogating them. It can also be used with the environment in such ways as piercing gas tanks or cutting holes into tents.
New Toy, Nice!!
Along with the very versatile combat knife, Mr. Fisher also has a few new moves added to his close-quarters combat skills. As an expansion to being able to shoot while hanging upside down, he can now choke down or break the necks of any unsuspecting enemy that may walk below, you can pull people over railings while hanging from a ledge, and you can throw bodies over cliffs or off of buildings.
You can even throw bodies onto other guards; the possibilities are endless. One thing I didn’t like was the fact that they took away the ability to shoot around corners. But this was countered with adding a shoulder switch method to it.
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This!
Before each outing, Sam is given three different loadout options: Redding’s Recommendation, Assault and Stealth. Redding’s recommendation gives you a balanced loadout overall, favouring a neutral approach. Assault, as you can imagine, gives you plenty of ammo for your pistol and SC-20K rifle but sacrifices your non-lethal ammo and tactical gear.
Stealth is the opposite: plenty of non-lethal gadgets with the downfall of having little lethal ammo for your weapons. So be sure to check all intel before picking the right loadout for the mission at hand. But all of this would be nothing without the look of the game itself. The vast improvement of the graphics truly does give you an awe-inspiring playthrough throughout.
Enjoying the View?
From the wind blowing through the grass to the raindrops on your face. The versatile use of light and darkness really does give you a truly immersive experience. There is also no wrong way to complete your mission, so the opportunity for a number of playthroughs is large.
There genuinely isn’t a single bad word I can say about this game. It has everything you could ever wish for from a stealth game and more. For me this series of games has defined the genre at large and will forever hold a place in my heart. But it has also set my expectations extremely high if a new game is eventually announced.
And that is why I think we need, nay, deserve a new Splinter Cell. To me it’s not just a game, it’s a way of life. So, c’mon, Ubisoft, and YES, I am looking at you as well, Gameloft, help a brother/life-long fan out…
Make a new Splinter Cell
Don’t be douchebags