After a series of outstanding console titles, Splinter Cell Essentials felt like a rushed, token-gesture designed to do little more than make a quick-buck. Mixing a paltry amount of new levels with a ‘greatest-hits’ collection from the original trilogy, the experience was barely held together by some half-baked, threadbare story about re-living memories. Bobby Ewing even makes an appearance. Graphically underwhelming and an absolute pig to control; Essentials is most definitely the runt of the Splinter Cell litter.
As much as I care about a strong narrative, it’s not something that I’ve ever found to be an essential ingredient on handheld devices. No doubt a mixture of the small screen, being bloody uncomfortable and not being able to play for very long: the weak story in Essentials was a moot point. What was amazing, though, was being able to play Splinter Cell away from the TV – even if it was in short bursts. A perfect fit for when the missus wanted to watch Celebrity Bilge 5. This in itself had me sold with the challenging controls actually being an appeal to someone who had played to death and mastered all of the previous titles. It was like some wonderful, masochistic difficulty setting that all the other games lacked.