Sam Fisher comes to the PSP, but can the special ops double agent prove his worth on the handheld console? We get our silencer and find out.

To give you the storyline, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Essentials starts where Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent ends, and takes players to the years before Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell when Sam was still a Navy SEAL.

However, before we start with the PSP review we should tell you that here at Pocket-lint we are big fans of the Xbox series. The stealth element, the sneaking around and the stunning graphics all make for a great game as long as you have plenty of patience.

It was a big surprise therefore to see that the latest Splinter Cell outing, this time for the PlayStation Portable, has faired well losing all that beautiful magic with it along the way.

Why? Well there are a number of reasons, but the biggest has to be the camera angles, or more to the point lack of them. In a word, they are Frustrating. That combined with poor AI, disappointing gameplay and issues with playing a game that requires lots of focus means we were upset by Splinter Cell Essentials.

The first problem is the camera. For some reason it just doesn't stick with you. This amounts to having to pause every couple of seconds to work out what is going on around you and re-centre it. As you can imagine this means you can easily miss entrances, or worse bad guys.

But then saying that, even if you do stumble upon some enemy forces you needn't worry, we found the AI appalling. The majority of the time we were able to be standing face to face with the bad guys before they starting shooting at us. Even then their aim was poor.

The game also seems to have shifted its emphasis on not only being stealth all the time - gun touting rages do work here, but also the need to hide bodies isn't as great as in previous versions we've played.

The final and biggest problem is that Splinter Cell Essentials isn't really a game that you want to play on a handheld console on the train.

Splinter Cell has always been a game of patience, a game of waiting for the right moment to strike after normally what has amounted to at least 5 to 10 minutes of watching guard movements.

While this is fine in the comfort of your lounge, on a busy bus or train it is near impossible. This is just too much distraction.

Verdict

Splinter Cell may work for the Xbox or PS2, it doesn’t work here for the PSP in our opinion.

Not completely to blame, we just feel that you can't be expected to play a game where patience and timing is at the forefront of the game when in the back of your mind you are weary of missing your stop.

However even if you are one of those stay at home handheld console gamers there are still too many fault to hearty recommend this game.

Disappointing.