Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. 91
    Do you want a more balanced game that plays better, is a little easier, has an extra level, and tells a better story [PS2 version], or the prettier, more difficult game that is a little less user-friendly, but has downloadable content [Xbox]? The choice is yours.
  2. You'll have a great time experimenting with and effectively using Sam Fisher's variety of moves and gadgets, and the game's big missions should provide a significant challenge.
  3. Takes stealth action and realism to all new jaw-dropping heights in this game that’s just too good to pass up.
  4. The graphics, while inferior overall compared to the Xbox version, benefit from added effects such as enhanced heat distribution, reflective surfaces, and focus blurring. [Apr 2003, p.82]
  5. 92
    Where the PS2 version really shines is in the control department. The controls become almost second nature after only a few minutes of running around.
  6. Most obviously, the control system on the PS2 is far more intuitive and user friendly than the comparatively clunky original that suffered from a hateful inventory management system.
  7. 100
    While the PS2's levels are noticeably shorter than those of the Xbox version, their design hasn't changed and the overall gameplay remains completely intact, making this game a wonderful adventure within the Tom Clancy universe.
  8. The bar has been set and this will be the new standard to beat for all future stealth combat games.
  9. 100
    With a gentler learning curve, an extra level, tweaked controls, and completely reworked cinemas, the PS2 version is the equal of its Xbox predecessor.
  10. The excellent stealth gameplay, tangible sense of danger, and believable scenario (take that, "MGS2") render this a must-play experience. [May 2003, p.120]
  11. With some very well laid out levels, solid gameplay, and nice functional visuals, PS2 owners are presented with a fantastic title worthy of a place in their library.
  12. Good game, Good graphics. Not as good as "Metal Gear Solid 2." Not enough content. Kind of short.
  13. The control is top-notch. Some of the moves you do rely on very precise movements and you always feel that you are in total control.
  14. Half the fun came from picking out each light in an area before flipping on the night vision and having some fun with any gullible goons.
  15. It manages to deliver new ideas and concepts, but ultimately fails to make the classic impact; hopefully the sequel can build upon the good work here.
  16. It may well be the best-looking PS2 game yet. [May 2003, p.89]
  17. Hyper realistic, intense, and packed with awesome gadgets. Not as polished as "MGS2," but the core gameplay is more involving. [May 2003, p.30]
  18. A game that not only redefines the stealth game genre, but a game that is destined to live on as a milestone in the evolution of gaming. What "Doom" did for the world of gaming in the early 90’s; Splinter Cell has done for the 00’s.
  19. Superior to the Xbox version in every way... Massively enjoyable yet enormously painful, Splinter Cell is a serious game whose brilliant realism should shake up a few complacent gamers. [PS2 MAX]
  20. This is an above-average port that tries to compensate for its reduced difficulty and average visuals with minor improvements (new level, binoculars, etc.) that have dumbed-down the XBox version’s stealth-reliant gameplay a little bit.
  21. Textures are muddier, the framerate is choppier, lighting effects are faked (faked well, but hey), and the image quality isn't as clean. [May 2003, p.71]
  22. 100
    It's an uncomfortably tense, uncannily realistic stealth game that's arguably better than "Metal Gear Solid 2." [May 2003, p.47]
  23. This is one of those games you’ll sit down to play for 45 minutes and then realise you’re 2 hours from the end without even an inkling of the time spent on the game.
  24. If this game were any more realistic, you'd have to hold in your farts.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 49
  2. Negative: 7 out of 49
  1. Nov 25, 2013
    This game was ok, but I would not get all hippy and jippy about it its just a decent game. Way to difficult for me so I did not really get toThis game was ok, but I would not get all hippy and jippy about it its just a decent game. Way to difficult for me so I did not really get to experience it well... Full Review »
  2. Jul 16, 2013
    This is a stealth game with some decent missions. Most of the fun is hiding in the shadows. It doesn't quite match the excitement of JamesThis is a stealth game with some decent missions. Most of the fun is hiding in the shadows. It doesn't quite match the excitement of James Bond or detail of Metal Gear Solid. Splinter Cell is a slower paced 3rd person game. If you do get in a pinch, you seem to end up dead instead of having any fighting chance. Saves obviously help a lot and there is a lot of replaying the same level. Careless mistakes will burn you or make you fall into forbidden zones that game over. The controls are easy and more fluid than Metal Gear. The gun play is not really here though, and is more clumsy with a not-so-great crosshair. The first training mission bogs the game's pacing a little bit. Mostly these are just small criticisms. They did an awesome job for a 2003 title. It looks like it could be on PS3. I find myself wanting to play this casually and progress a couple of levels every once in awhile. I'm not super attached to this game.There are so many options on the PS2 for this style. It did help define the genre and become is on phenomenon, but that doesn't free it from criticism or competition. With a slower paced game there needs to be more in-game cutscenes (close ups) and atmosphere. You mostly get voiceovers. With the media powerhouse that is the PS2, it just became a necessity to do extra character animations and I didn't see many. Since the gameplay is more about navigation and cleverness, and not arcade style, they could have made it more comical or add some more flavor (which MGS does best). Great graphics, controls, jungle gym levels and nice progressing game. Would I recommend a buy in 2013? I'd probably say YES. This was a popular game, on multi-platforms, and adheres to a common 3rd-person style that has been adopted in so many other games, so maybe not the most essential game to collect. It would have been more fun with crazier weapons, vehicles, and over the top baddies. The realism is null these days. Its just a game. You probably won't feel bad if you don't play Splinter Cell, but hey, its not bad at all if you manage to find a copy! Kinda fun, but not mind blowing or difficult. Full Review »
  3. Jun 9, 2013
    Originally released as a timed exclusive on the original Xbox Splinter Cell was considered a ‘killer app’ and quickly became one of theOriginally released as a timed exclusive on the original Xbox Splinter Cell was considered a ‘killer app’ and quickly became one of the primary reasons to get the console. In terms of gameplay the most obvious comparison was Metal Gear Solid but, whereas Kojima favoured over the top characters and long drawn out cut scenes, Ubisoft’s ‘stealth em-up’ retained a more realistic style.

    At times the game could be genuinely tense as you used all manner of clever gadgets in an attempt to avoid being spotted and for the most part the challenge was set just about right, although things could become frustrating when faced with missions that were failed instantly as soon as you were spotted. A further flaw, that was the case with many games in the genre at the time, was the fact that the enemies would walk pre-set routes over and over again meaning that simply memorising these patterns was often the key to success.

    Of course none of that prevented Splinter Cell from being a top quality title even if it has now been surpassed by more modern efforts.
    Full Review »