The new Splinter Cell 3D is a redesign of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Chaos Theory was the third game in the Splinter Cell series and the last to be primarily for the previous generation of consoles. The original trilogy was known for its high graphical and audio fidelity, especially on the original Xbox. Why this iteration of the franchise was chosen to be ported to the 3DS is unclear, though it seems likely due to the segmented mission structure which fits the handheld experience better than other games in the series might.
As in all Splinter Cell games you play as Sam Fisher, an elite operative for Third Echelon, a US counter-terrorism department. Fisher specializes in stealth missions. This game takes place in 2007, and it appears WWIII may break out in Asia. Japan has created a defense force which makes North Korea and China suspicious. The US is caught in the middle. Later, a rogue North Korean missile downs a US battleship. Fisher has to find out whether the missile launch was intentional or part of a terrorist plot while trying to not escalate the situation any further. There are also some convoluted ties to a computer programmer and shady financial dealings. This sets up the game’s covert missions.
The game is a stealth game in third person shooter view. You want to keep Fisher in the shadows as much as possible and not attract any attention. In some missions you can also not kill anyone. So you hide in the shadows, shoot out lights, disable cameras, sneak around guards, knock them out, and hide bodies. If Fisher is seen by a camera or a guard, or a body is found in the open, an alarm is tripped. The more alarms set off, the more heavily armored the enemies are.
Fisher has an array of weapons, ammo, and explosives but the game’s controls are not made for shootouts. Simply moving Fisher around takes some getting used to. You walk with the slide pad and control your look with the face buttons. It is not intuitive, but after some time the controls are comfortable for stealth movement. However, they remain too complicated for combat even after getting used to the layout. While you move with the slide pad you have to constantly change your view with the face buttons. Double-tapping X resets the camera but it is never in an ideal place. For the game’s combat to be effective, the 3DS needs a second slide pad or the game needs a fixed camera perspective.