Of all of the Ubisoft franchises, Splinter Cell is one of my favorites. Over the years, Sam Fisher, NSA Third Echelon operative, has become increasingly interesting. The Classic Trilogy HD takes us back to the original heyday, before the death of his daughter and that of Lambert, one of my favorite NPCs in recent years.
PC versions of Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, are all included here. The PC versions are the most complete iterations of these games available, although for reasons unknown, Ubisoft left out two features that may or may not effect you: invert aim is not an option, and the multiplayer modes for Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory have been removed. The Chaos Theory multiplayer was wildly popular way back when, with NSA versus terrorists making for some excellent team based stealth action. It’s really unfortunate that these components were left out of this set, but at least you get three solid single player campaigns.
All three Splinter Cell games are similar to one another in that they are third person stealth action games in which you play Sam Fisher and are sent on covert operations throughout the world. Utilzing top NSA tech and the shadows to your advantage, it’s up to you to guide Fisher through a variety of military bases, civilian buildings, and enemy hideouts. In many scenarios, you can choose to be stealthy, which slows the pace of the game but also makes it easier, or you can make your presence known and try to survive the enemy’s onslaught. Other times, you have to be stealthy or the mission ends. I liked that the Trilogy allows you to save at anytime, just like on the PC, so that you can experiment with different tactics and just reload your save game if your plan didn’t work out.
With reviews of all three games readily available on the net, I won’t spend much time talking about them individually. Other than the lack of invert aim and the removal of the multiplayer modes of Pandora and Chaos, they’re as complete as I remember them from playing them on the PC years ago. Gameplay across all three is very similar, and frankly it would be pretty easy to confuse missions, characters, and story events between them as they are pretty darn similar — but that’s to be expected within a franchise such as this, where it’s driven by a single main character whose purpose is to carry out NSA black ops. Still, each iteration is a good step up from the previous game, although the distance between Pandora and Chaos is much greater than that of the original to Pandora.
No matter how you slice it, the Trilogy contains three solid eight to twelve hour — depending on your style of play primarily — adventures that any fan of stealth gaming shouldn’t miss. For series veterans, revisiting Sam’s first three adventures is a treat, especially if you weren’t too excited about the events in Double Agent, Conviction (both of which I liked), or the 3DS game (which I just recently picked up).
Each game received revamped visuals, of course, although the cutscenes were left unchanged, which is immediately noticeable in the first game. Leaving the cutscenes untouched and looking as dated as they are was a minor letdown, but not a dealbreaker. The most impressive aspect of the visual remastering is the crispness of the textures and the lighting. Given that you are always making judgments on where to situate yourself and move to next based on the lighting and shadows within a room, it’s nice to see such a noticeable bump in their visual clarity. Not surprisingly, although still somewhat disappointingly, there are no additional extra features or goodies to unlock (short of Trophies).
To the summary…