View Full Version : 4 new games, 4 reviews: Splinter Cell, NHL 2K3, Metroid Prime, 007 Nightfire

27-12-2002, 01:20:35
I got these games for Christmas and I've had time to play them all for a bit. So here I am to grace you with my brief reviews and I can also answer questions anyone has about them.

First, to get this out of the way, my ranking from best to worst:

1. Splinter Cell (Xbox)
2. NHL 2K3 (Xbox)
3. Metroid Prime (Gamecube)
4. 007 Nightfire (Xbox)

Splinter Cell
This game is excellent all around. Definitely one of the best games ever made. All lights in the game are real-time lights, which means they can move and it looks realistic how they act. They break through windows realistically leaving little beams of light across the room, they work together with curtains (which move realistically also) to just become so incredibly atmospheric. This is one of the best looking games ever. Period.

Audio is also exceptional, it makes great use of Dolby Digital 5.1 and audio cues to help you out to find out where people are. The music is also great (I think Crystal Method did the entire soundtrack, it works VERY well).

Gameplay is the best part. This game is entirely about stealth. The darkness is your friend. Find the darkness, or create it. You always have a gun, but ammo is scarce and the gun is used mostly to shoot out lights (to make it dark so you can hide) and cameras. You can also do some hand-to-hand combat moves, you can sneak up behind people and point a gun to their head to interrogate them or konk them over the head and knock them out, you can use a "taser-gun" of sorts to stun people, frag grenades, smoke grenades, assault rifle, etc.

You also get nifty gadgets like night vision and thermal vision, "sticky" cameras (shoot them at the wall and you can use them remotely -- reusable too!), noise cameras (sticky cameras but equipped with a noise maker to distract, and a GAS grenade launcher to knock people out when they get near it!), optical cables (put underneath the door and see what's on the other side), lock picks (I love how this is implemented!), etc.

The little things in the game make it so enjoyable. Like how you can pick up a coke can on a table and throw it to the side to distract someone, then sneak up behind them and grab them and force them up to a retinal scannar to gain access to a new part of the building, then knocking them out.

I just can't say enough how damn cool this game is. There's now a PC game demo out for those interested, and the PC version is out sometime next year. Gamecube and PS2 versions are also coming out next year, but I have NO idea how they're going to do it. The realtime lighting is incredibly complex to calculate and I'm not sure if the GCN and PS2 can faithfully reproduce it with a decent framerate like the Xbox version. The PC version should be great provided you have a high end PC.

Downsides: It relies a bit heavily on trial-and-error. You need to figure out if you can do some things and die a lot doing it. Thankfully the checkpoints are set up intelligently so you don't need to redo lots of things.

Best. Hockey. Game. Ever.

The graphics could use some work. They're decent but jagged lines are pretty visible, although you get to ignore them pretty quick. The gameplay is where this game shines.

I never realized how bad the other games like EA's NHL series are until I played this. This game is NOT a scorefest like EA's game. The AI is incredible allaround, the goalies are realistic in how they behave. When they dive for the puck, they're still on the ground and need to get up -- which is hard to do when they're rebounding and people keep shooting at you! So the animations and actions are so realistic, this makes the scores of the game realistic.

Virtually everything can be tweaked, including things like ice friction, if you so desire. The result is you can make it an arcade game to a hardcore sim to anything inbetween.

The default control set is "basic", which works like all other hockey games except with the cool addition of using an analog stick for puck protection, but there's also an "advanced" set which is all new. Holding down the right trigger gives all of the buttons on the controller a new function. You can do virtually everything you can think of with this control set, even a button for elbowing someone when you've got them pinned up against the board to try to get the puck from them! :)

To top it off, it supports online multiplayer with Xbox Live.

Downsides: No downloading of updated rosters, graphics could use some polish. But none of that matters. :D

Metroid Prime
I don't get the reviews I've read for this game. The control scheme is atrocious, plain and simple. I realize it's not a first person shooter and it's not intended to be one, but damnit -- it's a first person perspective, why can't I do simple things like be able to strafe left and look up at the same time?! Why is the turning speed SO SLOW? Why does this game give me motion sickness after 45 minutes while no other console game ever has?

On the plus-side, the graphics are gorgeous. The sound is excellent.

It's just the gameplay I have problems with. It's not a bad game by any means, it's just not very fun to me. There's a lot of combat involved, but it's so simplistic it seems like a chore more than a game. Every time you see a new enemy, you hold down the left trigger and smash A a lot and it automatically aims and everything for you. I also don't get why SCANNING something with your visor is required to trigger so many things? Why does scanning trigger these things, again?

The game excels at being incredibly atmospheric. Load times are masked by videos that look in-game and the entire thing feels like one big level. This is a downside for me, sadly. I don't like backtracking. In fact, I hate it. I like having clear-cut instructions on what to do and what I've done, and this game just feels chaotic to me. It drops you down in the middle of a huge area and basically lets you wander around beginning the game.

If I had to rate this game as a percentage, it'd be probably 75% because its atmosphere, graphics, and sound. I didn't care much for the gameplay (or lack thereof), and I honestly don't see how it got reviews in the upper 90s so often. Someone can hopefully help me see what I'm missing with this title.

007 Nightfire
Mehh...the graphics aren't too great, neither is the sound, and the gameplay is a stock FPS mixed in with some driving levels. Unfortunately, the driving levels really suck. The controls are AWFUL for the cars, they're floaty and too responsive so it feels like you're driving an RC car more than a real car.

It's worth a rent if you like Bond games, but this is certainly no Goldeneye...

Splinter Cell: YAY!
NHL 2K3: Yay!
Metroid Prime: Meh.
007 Nightfire: meh.

27-12-2002, 01:32:39
In order:
I don’t care for this game;
cheers, will be looking to buy this;
I/one of my friends will probably buy this once it’s released here—I’ll get back to you;
I don’t care for this game.

27-12-2002, 10:42:38
Splinter Cell - sounds like Thief, XXI century.

28-12-2002, 11:11:38
You mean Metal Gear Solid/2

the creator of MGS said 'well we don't need to make MGS for xbox now because they've already done it' which is high praise

but isn't it just an xbox homage to the real thing?

28-12-2002, 11:43:16
The real thing being Thief, of course.

28-12-2002, 12:34:08

28-12-2002, 13:00:26

28-12-2002, 20:02:26
Thief is shit in comparison, to be brutally honest.

And MGS2 is on Xbox, King_Ghidra. MGS2: Substance came out nearly on the same day as Splinter Cell.

And again, MGS2 pales in comparison to Splinter Cell.

28-12-2002, 20:05:08
MGS2: Substance: 85/100: http://www.gamespy.com/reviews/november02/mgs2sxbox/

Splinter Cell: 95/100: http://www.gamespy.com/reviews/november02/splintercellxbox/

28-12-2002, 20:49:56
I don't trust Gamespy reviews, I rarely agree with any of them.

28-12-2002, 20:50:21
...though Splinter Cell is great.

29-12-2002, 01:09:50
Originally posted by Asher
Thief is shit in comparison, to be brutally honest.

And MGS2 is on Xbox, King_Ghidra. MGS2: Substance came out nearly on the same day as Splinter Cell.

And again, MGS2 pales in comparison to Splinter Cell.

thanks for the link but i'm not ignorant

maybe you don't understand my point, the whole xbox console idea is just a homage to the ps2

forget MGS substance, everyone knew it was going to be a crap release

without MGS, there would never be splinter cell, nor thief (for the pc nerds)

so what does splinter cell offer that is actually new (as opposed to a MGS rip-off)?

29-12-2002, 01:32:54
Just so you know, King_Ghidra, the very first Metal Gear game came out on a Japanese console called MSX...

Guess what the MS stands for...

As for the Splinter Cell vs MGS2 nonsense, you'd have to play it to truly understand the difference. They are quite similar in concept, Splinter Cell is just implemented far better than MGS2 and the lighting aspects are MUCH better done and far more important, and the AI is leaps and bounds ahead of MGS2.

29-12-2002, 02:12:19
Definitely one of the best games ever made.

Sorry, but I just couldn't take your reviews serious after reading that.

29-12-2002, 04:08:53
It really is.

Best game of 2002.

Easily trounces Metroid Prime and GTA: Vice City and all other games released this year.

29-12-2002, 04:28:20
I found Mafia to be more fun; definitely my game of 2002 - then again I've mentioned that a thousand times already. The only problem I have with Splinter Cell is the trial and error aspect, much like Hitman 2, those games tend to get annoying as reloading every few minutes tends to break the atmosphere of the game, which for me is more important than the aspect of beating a game.

29-12-2002, 04:37:29
I found by the time I got half way through the game there was hardly any trial and error parts.

It had conditioned me to behave more like the character would. I'd move very slowly throughout the levels, learning the behavior of the guards and timing accordingly, figuring out when to shoot out lights to help me out, etc.

29-12-2002, 11:11:13
Originally posted by Asher
Thief is shit in comparison, to be brutally honest.
*runs out to buy Splinter Cell*

You convinced me!

29-12-2002, 21:07:32
Originally posted by Asher
I found by the time I got half way through the game there was hardly any trial and error parts.

It had conditioned me to behave more like the character would. I'd move very slowly throughout the levels, learning the behavior of the guards and timing accordingly, figuring out when to shoot out lights to help me out, etc.

The only part I had to reload over and over was at the end of the CIA mission.

30-12-2002, 02:25:55
Asher: Good reviews! Nice work:).

(Given that your reputation as the resident Xbox fanatic, people should know how to read between the lines and relate your views to their own).

I'd like to hear more about splinter cell, perhaps you could do a full counterglow review of that?

30-12-2002, 23:55:30
Splinter cell is really fun. I liked Thief, but I really love SC. The control scheme is very intuitive, and I often find myself doing 4 things at once without too much difficulty.

My biggest complaint so far is that because you use the light-amplification goggles so much, you don't get to see the unbelievable prettiness of the graphics as much as you'd like...

EDIT: changed verb tense

30-12-2002, 23:59:24
Plus it was made by a Montreal company...

02-01-2003, 10:26:30
Asher why don't you expand on one or two of your reviews so we can publish it on the site!? :)

02-01-2003, 10:38:08
and a French publisher