Congratulations on purchasing your cutting-edge hardware. Here’s a six year-old port.
Michael Ironside is a great voice actor. Have you ever seen Heavy Metal 2000
? What a deliriously fun guilty pleasure it is. Gratuitous violence, nudity, profanity… well, gratuitous everything, really… and Michael Ironside
playing it up as the mentally unstable, vicious, maniacal villain. I highly recommend you go find a copy of it to watch the next time you need to kill an hour and a half. Great stuff.
What? You came here looking for a review? Damn, I was really hoping it wouldn’t come to that. I’d really rather talk about Michael Ironside (or maybe just animated boobies) some more. When you get right down to it, Splinter Cell 3D
just isn’t worth discussing. In fact, the reason I kicked off with that digression is because the voice acting is the only decent thing I could come up with in this game’s favor.
But if you’ve already played a Splinter Cell
game, you’re already aware of the quality voice acting, and Ironside’s portrayal of Sam Fisher in particular. And actually, if you’ve played Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
, then you’re already aware of everything that happens in Splinter Cell 3D
; this is just a port of the old 2005 game that was released on last-gen hardware, with a light dose of 3D sprinkled on top.
Although upon closer inspection, it’s actually much weaker than the original. The graphics are rougher, a bit more jagged, and run at a just-noticeably choppy framerate. The 3DS is capable of better graphics than last-generation consoles; it just wasn’t worth the time to the folks at Ubisoft to give this port a makeover. Unlike a lot of other 3DS titles, the 3D in Splinter Cell 3D
is very subtle, sometimes difficult to notice even when the slider’s turned up full blast. But given how dark
and muddy the game looks, that’s probably a good thing.
I don’t know what exactly happened in the porting process, but nearly all the environments are uniformly dark, making it frustrating to tell whether you’re in the shadows or not. And for stealth gameplay, that’s kind of an important thing to screw up. If it weren’t for the meter at the top of the screen to tell you how visible you are, you’d have a nearly impossible time knowing when you’re close to being spotted.
The controls have been modified a lot for the 3DS, and while they couldn't have been handled much better, they can still be annoying to use in lieu of a dual stick controller. The circle pad controls movement while the face buttons control the camera, and to jump and crouch you have to bring your left hand down to the control pad. Using the shoulder buttons to handle aiming and shooting feels natural, but a bunch of other important functions are mapped to areas on the touchscreen, which I have never found to be comfortable or intuitive in any game. Switching weapons and sub-weapons, opening the map, whistling to distract guards—all of that is handled by awkwardly poking at the touch screen with your thumb.
And that’s it—no multi-player modes (which even the original had), no online functionality or StreetPass goodies, and no new features thrown in to extend or enhance the single-player campaign besides the marginally helpful objective text lifted from Splinter Cell: Conviction
. This is a port of a six year-old game with stripped-down features. It’s hard to get more “cash-in” than that. If you really want to play Chaos Theory
, go find a used copy of the superior original at a fraction of the price.