Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 46
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 46
  3. Negative: 0 out of 46
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  1. 100
    Realistic scenarios in realistic environments add to Splinter Cell’s tantalizing world of covert operations. With a strong overall package of incredible features, the stealth/action genre has a new hero.
  2. 100
    Featuring an acute attention to detail in every respect and more substance than fluff, Splinter Cell is the defining espionage simulation... A compelling, unforgettable experience.
  3. Entertainment Weekly
    Wickedly ingenious. [29 Nov 2002, p.114]
  4. 100
    Now that Splinter Cell has arrived all other stealth-based titles should hang their head in shame.
  5. GameNow
    The reason why you bought an Xbox. It's dark, it's loaded with depth, and it's absolutely gorgeous. [Jan 2003, p.56]
  6. AceGamez
    Although featuring the most realistic and detailed graphics, lighting and animation you've ever seen with sound effects to match, it's still the gameplay that shines the most, combining a sublime mixture of stealth and combat with the most versatile range of moves, gadgets and tactics ever to feature in a stealth game.
  7. A perfect game; cinematic, compelling, exciting, and most importantly damn fun to play! Believe the hype it is this good.
  8. The masterpiece that is Splinter Cell gets under your skin and stays there for a very long time... The kind of game you do want to go through over and over simply because it is a delight to play around with... A true work of art.
  9. One of the greatest games of all time. Splinter Cell redefines what a game should look, play, and sound like. Perhaps most amazing is not that the graphics, gameplay, and sound are so good, but that they all blend together to form a whole so well.
  10. The amount of gadgets that work their way into the game is absolutely staggering, the feeling of playing James Bond will most definitely enter the minds of some gamers.
  11. The appeal of Splinter Cell shifts into the sublime when it's graphics and sound are taken into account. No other game thus far has managed to present such realistic looking gaming environments... ever.
  12. 98
    Simply amazing: From start to finish it will dazzle your eyes, ears, intellect, as well as your imagination.
  13. Features one of the smoothest, most precise, easy-to-use cameras that I have ever experienced in a game. This is perhaps the game's greatest innovation.
  14. 96
    This is the kind of game I imagined when I used to dream about the experiences next generation consoles were going to give us. Splinter Cell is one of the smartest games I've ever played.
  15. Official Xbox Magazine
    By fully intersecting its Xbox-caliber visual and audio presentation with wide-open stealth action gameplay, it submerges you in a gripping, nerve-pounding atmosphere that will leave you begging for more. [Dec 2002, p.50]
  16. The game's developers have done an outstanding job of pushing the Xbox to its full potential and the result is a game with incredible atmosphere and a fully immersive environment.
  17. The engrossing story blends perfectly with Splinter Cell's gameplay style, which can be best described as genre-redefining. And to top it all off, the visuals are gorgeous and completely intrinsic to the game's genre!
  18. Splinter Cell oozes cool and sophistication from it’s lead character through it’s many and varied levels, and very slick control scheme.
  19. netjak
    The interaction between the player, Sam and the game form a symbiotic relationship that few games have achieved. Things like retinal scanners, fingerprint id's and sticky cameras will keep you spitting adrenaline on this 14 mission romp.
  20. Cheat Code Central
    Splinter Cell is as close to gaming perfection as you are going to get, you just have to be prepared for what's coming next.
  21. 95
    Featuring brilliant visuals, edge-of-your-seat gameplay, and some of the best voice acting around, Splinter Cell is one of the best single-player experiences to come out this year... The best game on Xbox. Period.
  22. The storyline is so in-line with the current international scene that it’s a little frightening.
  23. The second best game on the Xbox, and if first person shooters aren’t your thing, then I suppose it is the best. If you have an Xbox, you must have this game. If you don’t have an Xbox, buy the game anyway – it’s that good.
  24. Splinter Cell’s low-key approach to plot development is a refreshing change for those of us that would rather play our games than watch them, like "Metal Gear Solid 2" for that matter.
  25. Insanely hard. Even with your tightest game face and greatest skills, you’ll still wind up replaying a mission at least three or four times before you get the hang of navigating through each level’s shadows, finding specific hints, clearing newly acquired objectives and discovering codes that you’ll need to progress through.
  26. Its combination of great gameplay mechanics and simply astounding graphics easily outweigh its faults. Trust me, you will see the light.
  27. The painstaking detail in the architecture is a huge draw in making the game as believable as it is. Everything looks exactly how you would envision it in real life, with hallways, open areas, offices, courtyards, everything modeled correctly.
  28. It's as good as its nearest competition, "Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance," and in certain instances, like the deep realism and stronger focus on the action rather than story, is a better game.
  29. One of the best Xbox games out there, unfortunately, by the end it has been repetitive and linear a bit too long.
  30. 90
    While some preventative measures for hair-pulling and wall-punching may be necessary, the game has first-class production values, some of the coolest stealth techniques and gadgets yet, and fantastic level design.
  31. The story line is based on real-world politics, making the missions seem even more daring. This is one of the few games to elicit a feeling of suspense without resorting to shock techniques found in survival horror titles like "Resident Evil."
  32. GMR Magazine
    Awesome in ways this space doesn't allow us to describe. [Feb 2003]
  33. But you’ll also love Splinter Cell for being a challenge in an age when videogames have all the interaction of a fairground ride.
  34. To its very core, the game always goes for realism in a way that leaves "Metal Gear Solid" feeling extremely arcade like in comparison. [XGamer]
  35. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    A graphical powerhouse... My only gripe: Some levels are outrageously difficult. [Jan 2003, p.206]
  36. For everything it gets fantastically right, it has an inherent level of frustration contained within that made me reach the limits of my patience.
  37. The sounds of the environment is what matters. The other characters in the game even the ruffling of your pants in the wind. This game is a treat to experience in 5.1 or in the headphones.
  38. AI is very hit or miss but because this game is more dependant on your actions rather than your enemies, it becomes serviceable in the end.
  39. Game Informer
    The ultimate outcome of Splinter's perhaps overzealous mission structure is a common one: Eery level increasingly becomes a lesson in trial and error. [Jan 2003, p.104]
  40. A great game on its own merits, and it offers a slick and rewardingly suspenseful gameplay experience that's sometimes reduced to frustrating bouts of trial and error.
  41. Despite a few surprising shortcomings, most notably the save system, Splinter Cell delivers with the impact of a postcard from Hell.
  42. There are too few save spots and even those are in inopportune locations.
  43. 84
    If ever there was a game to show off the Xbox, this is it.
  44. Xbox Nation Magazine
    It's somewhat ironic that Cell's Clancy-approved storyline is the game's weakest point; instead of propelling the player towards a heady climax, Cell's plot putts along leisurely, lacking a narrative hook or an engaging protagonist to keep us amused. [Winter 2002, p.82]
  45. My surroundings are resplendent, yet my path to success lies in shrouding them with darkness. It seems strange that this wonderful Technicolor world is muted by the black-and-white night vision spectacles I view them with.
  46. This is a very linear game, and... one can't but feel it's a wasted opportunity to limit the player's freedom in choosing how to approach a situation.

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2002
#1 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2002
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 149 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 149
  1. Apr 10, 2017
    Découragé à l'époque par la difficulté, je l'avais mis de côté pour finalement le ressortir du placard 8 ans plus tard...! son gameplay estDécouragé à l'époque par la difficulté, je l'avais mis de côté pour finalement le ressortir du placard 8 ans plus tard...! son gameplay est resté fidèle à lui-même : toujours aussi rigide, toujours aussi "hardcore". Ce n'est définitivement pas un jeu pour noobs ou autres wannabies... de l'infiltration pure et dure sans concession aucune.

    Finalement c'est parfois crispant, souvent trop scripté mais toujours passionnant. Les graphismes et jeux de lumière restent étonnants et la VF est au sommet avec la voix de Daniel (Schwarzy-Batou) Beretta. Les épisodes suivants (à partir du 3) ont mis de l'eau (bienvenue) dans leur vin mais cet épisode fondateur a malgré tout bien vieilli.
    Full Review »
  2. JeremyC.
    Nov 17, 2003
    Very nice graphics and an excellent idea for a game. But it stops there. First of all all the levels are ridiculously linear, and this is Very nice graphics and an excellent idea for a game. But it stops there. First of all all the levels are ridiculously linear, and this is meant to be a stealth game? This game is full of try, die, and load again. It got very frustrating having to do the same things over and over again just to get killed in the same place. The A.I. is ridiculous. Sometimes you stand practically in broad daylight and they don't see you, other times when it is pitched dark they turn and put a bullet through your head. One time i had a gun to one guys head, i aimed at his comrade, over the guys shoulder, who began firing with an ak-47 at full blast I fell back dead while the guy i was using as a human shield walked away. Also it seems that if you throw a grenade at a group of guys if they notice it then it does no damage. More then a dozen times i saw a group of three or four guys so i threw a grenade they say 'GRENADE' and it blows up in their faces but they aren't hurt. Also this game is stuck in the middle of two worlds. I wish they had either made it more stealthy where their is very little action or else more SWAT like with infiltration and assassination. As is, it is ridiculous, in one mission you sneak through the entire level only to be confronted at the end by having to fend off an attack of over ten well armed guys while you are stuck with Mr. Cantaim Sam and his pathetic weaponry. Meanwhile three American soldiers stand at the back and wait for you to finish. The objectives and missions were more suited for an RPG or FPS, Splinter Cell needs to get some better designed levels and AI. Full Review »
  3. Sep 21, 2021
    An Xbox classic from 2002. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell plays like a realistic version of Metal Gear Solid. At the time of release, it was theAn Xbox classic from 2002. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell plays like a realistic version of Metal Gear Solid. At the time of release, it was the most graphically advanced video game on console. Featuring stunning lighting and shadow effects, "Splinter Cell" was the first true showcase of the Xbox's graphical power. Visually, It still holds up exceptionally well in 2019. The stealth gameplay is equally impressive. While it might be too slow for some, the game arguably surpasses MGS and Hitman in stealth tactics. As NSA field operative Sam Fisher, players can utilize numerous abilities, weapons and gadgets. While there may be too many trial-and-error segments, this is one of the best action titles from the early 2000's. I would rate it with a 9.4 out of 10 Full Review »