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Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
This is a great title, with superb entertainment value and solid controls. The presentation is excellent, across almost every aspect of the game. Without a more robust multiplayer, Splinter Cell Essentials probably won't hold up as having much replay value, but the single player game is sufficiently robust to make this a must rent or own for fans of stealth games. Anyone who appreciated earlier games in the series can rest assured that Fisher's legacy has not fallen victim to sequelitis.
There were some weird technology glitches (like zooming through the walls of the world), but nothing that really broke the experience. Otherwise, I was disappointed that there wasn't more new content, but this is a good outing for Sam and the PSP. It's pretty smooth, deadly, and (like a console Splinter Cell game) damn enjoyable.
Next Level Gaming (Mar 27, 2006)
I wish I could say that a lack of true wireless online gameplay and sometimes frustrating controls would make me want to not play Splinter Cell: Essentials. But then I would be lying. The missions and the level designs make the game so fun overall to play that it hides some of the weaknesses in the controls. Of the two handheld Splinter Cell games, this is definitely the better one overall. Better graphics, much better sound, and stronger gameplay. I just wish the game had more than ad-hoc wireless gameplay. Other than that, it's a solid game and kudos to UbiSoft for making Sam Fisher on the go so sweet.
3DAvenue (May 02, 2006)
Essentials is a game that Splinter Cell fans should own, and for those who want tactical action on the go, you can't go wrong with it. Those looking for a one hundred percent perfect port won't be happy because while Ubisoft has done a tremendous job, there is still room for improvement for the inevitable second PSP game. In the areas Essentials does well, it excels, but what it doesn't do well keeps it from the must buy list for all but the most hardcore Sam Fisher fans unfortunately.
The odd collection of missions spanning over 15 years of Fisher's career makes this something of a curio, and the new missions offer something for those who have been there every step of the way.
TTGamer (May 02, 2006)
Essentials is a game that Splinter Cell fans should own, and for those who want tactical action on the go, you can’t go wrong with it. Those looking for a one hundred percent perfect port won't be happy because while Ubisoft has done a tremendous job, there is still room for improvement for the inevitable second PSP game. In the areas Essentials does well, it excels, but what it doesn't do well keeps it from the must buy list for all but the most hardcore Sam Fisher fans unfortunately.
I definitely enjoyed Essentials and how it ties into the rest of the series, as will other Splinter Cell fans. However, now that we know that Splinter Cell's gameplay can work on the PSP, I'd like to see more original missions in the future.
74 (May 28, 2006)
Splinter Cell: Essentials hätte Stealth-Action auf hohem Niveau sein können. Grundsätzlich agiert Sam Fisher im Kleinformat ebenso versiert wie auf den „großen“ Systemen, beherrscht sämtliche Fähigkeiten und schleppt die bekannte Ausrüstung umher. Auch die Missionen sind so umfangreich und herausfordernd wie auf PC und Konsolen – kein Wunder, schließlich handelt es sich um simple Remakes ihrer Vorbilder. Doch genau da liegt das Problem: Die PSP-Ausgabe ist ein emotionsloser Aufguss bekannter Abenteuer, der nicht einmal eine packende Story verpasst bekam. Zählt man die verkorkste Steuerung, viel zu dunkle Schauplätze und diverse Übersetzungsfehler hinzu, bleibt ein im Kern hervorragendes Spiel, das ausgesprochen lieblos ins kleine Format gepresst wurde.
Cheat Code Central (Mar 29, 2006)
Multi-player is limited to the ad hock wireless system. You can play Spy vs. Spy or standard Deathmatch. These modes suffer from all of the same problems that the single-player mode does. Only those with incredible patience will be able to tame the control system and make this game work for them. Overall I found it to be a total disappointment and while you can say that it's better than the DS version, that's not saying much at all.
67 (May 17, 2006)
Mein Literaturlehrer sagte stets, das Gegenteil von gut sei gut gemeint und auf Splinter Cell Essentials trifft dieser Ausspruch perfekt zu. Die Idee eines Best of Splinter Cell ist klasse und die Zerstückelung der Einsätze in kleine Häppchen für Zwischendurch war trotz des sinkenden Anspruchs eine gute Entscheidung. Die Umsetzung ist den Mannen von Ubisoft jedoch gründlich misslungen: Die Grafik des Spiels ist mittelmäßig und macht die einzigartige Atmosphäre der Konsolenbrüder zu Nichte, die (Kamera-) Steuerung ist eine einzige Qual und die lahme Story wirkt mehr aufgesetzt als dass sie zum Weiterspielen animiert. Hinzu kommen Logikfehler, eine mäßige KI, lange Ladezeiten und ein wenig durchdachter Mehrspielermodus. Kurz gesagt: Splinter Cell Essentials ist nur Hardcore-Fans der Serie zu empfehlen. Vielleicht sollte Sam Fisher zukünftig nur auf Konsolen verweilen.
Daily Game (Apr 07, 2006)
Splinter Cell: Essentials is one of those games that's bound to disappoint the faithful. Newcomers may find it a respectable introduction to the franchise, since the dumber than dirt AI and reliance on weapons will make it an easy entry into Sam's game empire for them, but even they may tire of the camera issues and sloppy graphics. Lest I forget to mention it, the multiplayer is laughable, offering a basic "spy vs. spy" deathmatch that is tedious and boring, and frankly might as well have been left out.
The idea of a PSP Splinter Cell is great especially when it packs console content and more. Unfortunately, the execution is way off, leaving disappointed on-the-go Splinter Cell fans in its wake. The dark muddy visuals and horrendous camera issues are a far cry from what we’ve seen in this series. If you’ve played the console Splinter Cell games, then there is really no need to pick this up. Splinter Cell Essentials is nonessential for any Sam Fisher fan.
IGN (Mar 29, 2006)
Splinter Cell Essentials seems to have it all. Every facet of the console games appears in full form, but most of it suffers from poor execution. Whether it's the controls, presentation or multiplayer, you can't help but feel Essentials shipped months too early. Diehard fans may like it, but in the stealth/ action genre, the PSP now has much better options available.
Gamers' Temple, The (May 31, 2006)
Making Splinter Cell Essentials a “greatest hits” game may sound like a good idea, with the added benefit of demonstrating that the PSP can run console quality titles. However, the translation is not a smooth one and you’re left thinking that it would have been an even better idea to design a Splinter Cell game for the PSP from scratch.
Jolt (UK) (May 03, 2006)
We’d be lying if we said we were surprised at the problems Splinter Cell: Essentials suffers from, although the extent of the problems is a little unexpected. The trick in pulling off a port like this is in marrying the best aspects of the original series with the abilities of the PSP, and that just hasn’t quite happened here. If you’re a big Splinter Cell fan, then Essentials does still have a lot to offer provided you have a lot of patience. If you aren’t an experienced Splinter Cell player, or found the game tricky on the Xbox, then the controls will likely be confounding and the other issues not worth dealing with. Nice try Ubi, but no cigar.
Game Chronicles (Apr 16, 2006)
The potential is here – the game just needs to cook for a few more hours before it’s ready for consumption. Hopefully any forthcoming sequels won’t be as hastily rushed out the door. Sam and his fans deserve better.
GamesRadar (2006)
So despite high production values, highlighted by another stellar turn by Ironside, there are too many frustrations for anyone but the most staunch Splinter Cell fanatic to try and stomach.
So eventhough the game has the spirit of previous Splinter Cell titles, not to mention the exact missions, it's without innovation and comes off as a stale installment in an otherwise fantastic series. PSP owners would do well to give this a rental, but it hardly deserves purchasing.
Games TM (Mar, 2006)
With a short lifespan and old missions, let us hope this is not the beginning of the end for what has been a strong franchise.
NZGamer (May 31, 2006)
As a standalone title, Splinter Cell Essentials might stand up to inspection, but because the previous three titles have raised the bar so high, it’s almost impossible to respect. Kudos must be given (grudgingly) if only because there’s new game content. The charm of Splinter Cell is still evident, even if it does get smothered by the PSP limitations for most of the game. For the average gamer, there's nothing 'Essential' about this game. However badly it’s all turned out though, the die hard fans will be hard pressed to resist the lure.
GameZone (Apr 19, 2006)
Splinter Cell Essentials could have been a great portable package worthy of the series but, sadly enough, it falls short where it really counts … the gameplay. The game’s story is a good one and the missions and their objectives are actually well done, but when it comes to the camera, controls and other glaring faults, this game just disappoints rather than entertains. Perhaps one day Ubisoft will release a portable Splinter Cell game for the PSP that will make fans happy but this one just isn’t it.
GamePro (US) (Mar 27, 2006)
A Splinter Cell game needs dual analog sticks support, and Essentials in definitive evidence of this. The beauty of Splinter Cell games has always been the flexibility and fluidity of their controls, especially on the Xbox. But Splinter Cell: Essentials fails to adapt the mechanics to the PSP, and the end result is a frustrating experience with lengthy load times -- an overall trimmed experience.
Yahoo! Games (Mar 28, 2006)
If we hadn't spent so much time recently with the superb Syphon Filter, maybe the deficiencies wouldn't be so glaring. But once you've seen PSP stealth done right, there's no going back. In a rare lapse, this time around Sam Fisher is a little late to the scene and definitely not on top of his game.
Meristation (Apr 10, 2006)
Por el momento sólo están los títulos Dead to Rights Reckoning y James Bond 007: Desde Rusia con Amor (ambos de una baja calidad) como alternativas al debut de Sam Fisher en PSP pero próximamente llegará Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror que está consiguiendo muy buenas críticas en su lanzamiento americano. Así pues, habrá que esperar al próximo mes de junio para poder tener un notable título de acción e infiltración en la portátil de Sony ya que SC Essentials cuenta con bastantes defectos que podrían haber sido solventados con más meses de desarrollo. Esperemos que Ubisoft Montreal aprenda de ellos en un hipotético segundo intento.
GameSpot (Mar 29, 2006)
Splinter Cell Essentials sounds like a fine idea. Take some missions from previous games, mix them up a little, add some entirely new missions, and fit it all onto the PSP. Unfortunately, due to some bad controls, oppressively dark levels, and a worthless multiplayer mode, the result is a game that is more frustrating than it is rewarding.
55 (Apr 07, 2006)
En ayant su conserver quelques atouts, Sam Fisher évite la catastrophe totale mais Splinter Cell Essentials n'en reste pas moins un soft frustrant et usant à bien des égards. La contorsion des rétines nécessaire à la progression dans le noir, la caméra ahurissante ou le manque de précision du stick analogique seront des obstacles majeurs que tout un chacun n'aura pas envie de surmonter. On ne les en blâmera pas.
TotalPlayStation (Apr 06, 2006)
Splinter Cell Essentials is meant to be an additional chapter in the still-unfolding Sam Fisher saga. In a way, for die-hard fans, it’s almost necessary in that it adds a bit of thickener to Fisher’s past, and of course it does give us that glimpse of what’s going on in Double Agent. Unfortunately, this means the gameplay here is tolerated rather than enjoyed, with each level being passed just to get a scrap of information about certain events. It’s a worthwhile investment of time if you’re a die-hard fan, but only as a rental. Everyone else will probably be too frustrated to push through.
The game does feel rushed, but with a scarcity of militaristic shooters, this "Splinter Cell" title, though flawed, isn't a horrible choice for PSP owners looking for a stealth-action fix.
50 (UK) (Apr 25, 2006)
A Splinter Cell title should never be average, but that's exactly what Essentials is. Followers of the series will get something from the experience and possibly jump to defend it, but they're also the ones that are going to be the most disappointed and offended at how poorly thought out and unfinished the game feels. The camera never becomes comfortable and the graphical glitches are an embarrassment to the development team, the publisher and the player. Both Splinter Cell and the PSP should be able to offer us so much more than this. This is the worst title in the series so far.
Game Revolution (Apr 20, 2006)
If only the same attention to detail had been applied to the rest of the game, Splinter Cell: Essentials could have been a must have for your PSP. As it stands, it’s a lackadaisical, recycled romp that tries to emulate the Splinter Cell experience. But without the good graphics, A.I. or multiplay, all it does is put the “Why?!” in spy.
Modojo (Apr 04, 2006)
I didn't touch on the game's multiplayer because its really, really bad. When Ubisoft creates a multiplayer mode that is passable enough that I don't have to force myself to play it long enough to review, then I will spend the time to rundown its options and features. Trust me, if you buy Essentials, you won't be playing multiplayer. It's hard to recommend the game to much of anyone. The most hardcore Splinter Cell fan might want to try to overlook the game's problems for its new levels, I suppose. What's most upsetting is what could have been. It would have been nice to get an completely original side story to accompany Double Agent, instead of a rushed remix.
40 (May 17, 2006)
While it's great to see the most popular franchises on new hardware, developers really need to learn what works on the PSP. Splinter Cell Essentials is an example of a game that simply isn't suited to the control limitations of the PSP. If you can get past the camera issues (which is a big ask), you're still going to have a less than brilliant experience due to the dumb AI. Splinter Cell is one of the great modern franchises, but you wouldn't know it if this was your first experience with Sam Fisher.
GameSpy (Apr 05, 2006)
Hopefully, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Essentials will go down as the all-time low point for the series. Even Sam's biggest fans will disappointed by this mediocre title, especially those that are expecting the same type of experience they've gotten used to on the consoles. Only time will tell if Sam Fisher can recover, but we're hopeful that this game will be long forgotten by the time Double Agent hits stores.
Splinter Cell Essentials is without a doubt the most disappointing Splinter Cell title yet. Here we have a game that has an excellent premise, the best Splinter Cell levels coupled with a sneak preview of Double Agent and support for wireless multiplayer. Unfortunately, the execution is just dreadful. The game feels like it was rushed and probably should have been delayed to coincide with the release of Double Agent. The game has a bad camera and is far too dark, and consequently is hard to recommend to anyone but the most hardcore (and jaded) Sam Fisher fans. Ubisoft hasn’t had that much luck with their existing IPs on the PSP, and this game does nothing to buck that trend.
Worth Playing (Jun 22, 2006)
It's not hard to forget that Metal Gear: Ghost Babel — released in the U.S. of A. as simply Metal Gear Solid — was a good game. It really was! I promise! Go play it! It's true: The handheld version of a high-production valued property managed to not completely stink up the place. But Splinter Cell Essentials? This one takes us right back to where we started, oh so many years ago before portable Metal Gear games proved us wrong.
GamerDad (Jul 18, 2006)
While the game shows the designers have a great deal of respect for the history of the series, the respect manifests itself by packing in too much stuff and making it all unmanageable. Splinter Cell Essentials shines in a few brief moments, but is largely forgettable and frustrating, occasionally infuriating, and the only essential thing about the game is that you not waste your money on it!
Gamestyle (Jul 26, 2006)
Messy, glitchy and rarely satisfying, Essentials in no way represents the 'essential' Splinter Cell experience; rather it regurgitates some of its least impressive moments and crams it into a format that doesn't do it justice. Only a couple of set-pieces truly stand out from the crowd and only the most dedicated fan will want to see this one to the end.
RewiredMind (Apr 07, 2006)
I am a huge fan of the Splinter Cell games on consoles and I loved, played and finished them all whilst having great fun throughout. From the first moment I had control of Sam in Essentials, I could feel that that good old Splinter Cell fun was not present. Although it may look similar to other games in the series, it is a very different title and is nothing like fans will expect it to be. It may be worth picking up at a bargain bin price, but anyone that pays full price should not sleep soundly, as Sam Fisher will most probably be around to end you for being so stupid.
Game Critics (May 23, 2006)
To make an embarrassing story short, Splinter Cell: Essentials is a mess. For a series that leads the stealth genre and has worked hard to make itself more accessible and more polished with each successive sequel, an entry like this—even on a portable—can only be seen as a miserable failure. Back to boot camp, Sam. The mission is aborted.