This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to the Nintendo 3DS stealth game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D
, which reviews describe as "a disappointingly timid first sortie into the third dimension." Splinter Cell 3D
currently earns a score of 48 out of 100
IGN's Hilary Goldstein scores Splinter Cell 3D
at 6.5 out of 10
. "Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
on the original Xbox is like the master spy of stealth games," he notes. "The re-release on 3DS is more like the junior detective. This portable Splinter Cell
may have the same levels and the same storyline, but it's just a shadow of what Chaos Theory
Goldstein continues: "What's been lost? Competitive multiplayer, co-op storyline, heat vision goggles, choosing mission loadouts, quick save anywhere, great graphics, and smart enemy AI. Remaining is the core single-player story, the gameplay basics, the original voice work, and some of Sam Fisher's cool gadgets."
The Nintendo 3DS edition boasts a few unique features, however. "You'll be hacking quite a bunch of computers and those hacks are handled with a spatial puzzle. Select from a half-dozen puzzle pieces to guess which fits a broken cube," Goldstein describes. "Also new in Splinter Cell 3D
is a nifty bit of presentation called 'projected text.' Tips and objectives are written out on the walls."
"Though it doesn't seem like Ubisoft put a ton of effort into this one, they did manage to get the controls right," Goldstein admits.
"...But what made Chaos Theory
great was the enemy AI, and that's where Ubisoft failed in bringing Splinter Cell to 3DS," Goldstein warns. "The stealth breaks down to the point that there's little reason to sneak around. These are some dumb terrorists. Despite its many shortcomings, Splinter Cell 3D
is still fun to play," Goldstein says.
Jane Douglas at GameSpot rates Splinter Cell 3D
at 5.5 out of 10
. "Splinter Cell 3D
is another attempt at a handheld version of Chaos Theory
," she writes, "and though this reworking benefits from the 3DS's new controls and, to some extent, from its extra graphical oomph, it is an insubstantial offering: the original game's single-player campaign re-created in 3D, with a couple of forgettable minigames. Beyond the 3D visuals, there's no big innovation for the 3DS."
Visually, the game is an improvement over previous handheld editions. "With Splinter Cell 3D
hitched to the 3DS's greater graphical horsepower, it's not so plagued by juddering frame rates as the original DS's Chaos Theory
, but visually speaking, it's hardly slick," Douglas recalls. "Other 3DS launch titles have higher frame rates, though rates here are at least steady with the 3D slider up or down."
"Splinter Cell 3D
offers a reasonably long single-player campaign, with multiple secondary mission objectives for completionists to chase," Douglas writes. "The total absence of multiplayer, though, is a huge letdown. There's no online functionality at all -- no leaderboards, let alone any kind of asynchronous, StreetPass-enabled trimmings. That's a disappointing show from a 3DS launch title, and though the controls are admirably tight and the visuals are adequate to fair, it leaves Splinter Cell 3D
as a slight, low-value addition to the lineup."
Eurogamer's Kristan Reed gives Splinter Cell 3D
a 4 out of 10
. "You don't have to be Miyamoto to know that shoehorning twin-stick action adventures onto one-stick handheld consoles is one of the seven deadly sins of game design," he asserts. "Splinter Cell 3D
represents yet another example of this hateful practice in action."
Reed is not fond of "the added 'fun' that comes from having to adapt to controlling the camera and aiming system with the 3DS's four face buttons."
He writes: "Were this any normal action game, the grizzled Third Echelon agent would be toast in about five seconds as you creakily wrestled the camera and aimed the reticule into position. Fortunately, for those of a shaky disposition, Splinter Cell 3D
features enemies seemingly even more handicapped than you. Once they awake from their torpor, they shamble towards you with all the fury of zombified ketamine addicts."
The game also underperforms in other areas. "When you're not dispensing precision headshots or taking numbnuts down with a single well-placed blow, you can look forward to repeatedly deactivating insultingly straightforward security terminals, hacking computers and picking locks," Reed snipes. "If that sounds like a little too much fun for you, you can always increase your inner fury by trying to comprehend your whereabouts via the entirely useless 3D map system."
"Even if this were a cheap downloadable title, you'd be hard pressed to summon up much enthusiasm thanks to the completely broken camera system," Reed concludes. "The fact that Ubi then has the gall to trim out all the multiplayer content and still charge full whack for it smacks of breathtaking opportunism. If you really need to be reminded of Splinter Cell
's glory days, go back and pick up a cheap copy of Double Agent
. Just do yourself a favour and give this pointless reissue a wide berth."