If we are honest, the 3DS has not had the best reception since its launch. Some are saying it has been the result of poor launch titles, others blame Nintendo’s marketing campaign, but regardless, the 3DS is out and here to stay.

On the bright side, Nintendo certainly have catered for all tastes with the launch of the system. Nintendogs + Cats for the semi-casual little kids, Super Street Fighter IV 3D for not-so-casual bigger kids and now Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D for the biggest, hardcore kids. Now the only seemly rhetorical question on everyone’s mind boils down to, is the game any good? Hit the jump and find out.

You can’t talk about Splinter Cell 3D without mentioning the game it’s ported from. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory was one of the best Splinter Cell games and if you ask any fan of the series they will tell you Chaos Theory represents Sam Fisher’s glory days.

The story and levels are identical to the ones in Chaos Theory. A computer programmer has been kidnapped, and it is up to Sam Fisher to rescue him and assess the situation. All evidence points to World War III and all hell breaks loose. Like the original, the game does a brilliant job at pulling you into the story with great music, voice acting and at times, in amazing stereoscopic 3D.

We can’t review a 3DS game without mentioning the 3D. I am pleased to say that unlike Pilot Wings Resort and Super Street Fighter IV, you can push the 3D slider all the way to full without putting strain on your eyes or leaving you with a headache. One thing I will say is that Splinter Cell 3D does an excellent job at giving the player a real sense of depth. Looking over ledges, down caves or even to a mountain above has never looked better.

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Speaking of looks, while the 3D looks impressive, the graphics don’t really pull their weight. Textures are flat and the character models look like they were made as a second thought. This is one of Splinter Cell 3D’s biggest down falls and unfortunately, it’s a biggie.

When it comes to the controls, Sam can do everything from the original game and after making the game work within the confines of the 3DS, naturally come with a high learning curve. The d-pad is used to perform all the important actions, and it must be said that Ubisoft did well in incorporating the touch screen. Tap the screen to change weapons, grab enemies or make that last second kill. Lastly, using the face buttons to control the camera might seem a bit strange and unorthodox in the beginning but give it some time and you will be sneaking from shadow to shadow in no time.

But what’s the point? Splinter Cell 3D has some of the dumbest AI I have ever seen, and is also the biggest downfall to the game. Leave a dead body lying around and they won’t take notice, and on the off chance they do, they don’t put up much of a fight anyway.

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I can’t finish this review without pointing out that Splinter Cell 3D comes with no multiplayer or co-op. According to other reviews, this is the biggest downfall to the game and pulls in most of the low scores. I have always played Splinter Cell titles solely for the single-player experience, but I suppose it can be frustrating for some and therefore must be mentioned.

If you can get over the not-so-impressive graphics, stupid AI and lack of multiplayer and co-op gameplay, when you get right down to it Splinter Cell 3D can be a really fun game. It has all the qualities of the original and now gives you the same great experience in 3D and on the go. While I wouldn’t recommend this title for the casual 3DS player, I would for any Splinter Cell fan that is looking to take Fisher on the go.


Presentation: 6.0/10

Splinter Cell 3D creates a gaming experience that is really well presented, but poorly executed. The colours fall flat and textures seem to be an afterthought.

Gameplay: 7.5/10

The way Sam moves, shimmies and jumps feels natural and fluent. Using the touch pad for all different types of applications is easy to use and fun. I applaud Ubisoft for this innovative use, far more games can take a page out of Splinter Cell 3D’s gameplay.

Value: 6.0/10

The lack of multiplayer and co-op limits the experience to the single player campaign, and a lot of people will see this as a deal breaker. The game has its ups and its downs, but in the long run Splinter Cell 3D will give you a gaming experience that will only be appreciated by hard-core fans of the series. For the rest of you, give this one a miss.

Overall: 6.0/10

Last Updated: May 20, 2011

Splinter Cell 3D (Nintendo 3DS)

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