Let's first start with the fact that the SP campaign is kinda short. You should be able to finish it within several hours. However, I have to say that the hours are some of the best hours in gaming I've played.
This story starts three years after the events of Double Agent. Sam is pretty much just looking for Sarah's, his daughter, killer. You've never seen Sam so pissed in any of the games or books. When I say pissed, I mean pissed. A good indicator is when he's slamming people heads into mirrors, sinks, stalls, electronics, pianos, etc. These interrogation sequences make Sam look so much cooler than he ever did before. About that pissed part, you have to feel pissed with him. During this game I'VE never felt so badass. Sam's always been badass and this doesn't stop the trend, so don't worry.
The stealth has been simplified and Sam has been given a quicker movement speed along with abilities like Mark and Execute, from Rainbow Six Vegas fame (and who was Vegas made by?). This allows him to mark certain enemies before pressing Y and kill them instantly. He them has to perform some sort of melee takedown to earn another M and E. It's a cool feature and was implemented well. The screen also goes black and white when you haven't been seen, but I didn't really like it all that much. I understand they wanted the HUD gone and stuff, but come on. People were fine with it before. That's really about the only thing I didn't like about this game. Everything else was totally awesome.
Speaking of awesome, the AI in SCC is excellent. They will shout out to other enemies that you're on the stairs or in the next room. They'll take cover when you pull out your gun rather than your hands. Hell, they'll even get the balls to flank you and noob you in the back with their rifle (they all carry rifles). This is some of gaming's best AI. Most people should be pleased with it. Why do they shout insults at you? I don't know, but I think it gives them a morale boost or something.
Ubisoft has a new weapon upgrade system. By doing certain things, - meleeing ___ many people - he earns points. he then uses those points to upgrade his variety of pistols, SMG, automatic rifles, shotguns, etc. This feature really adds to the replayability of the single player component if you ever get bored of the multiplayer.
Throughout the game, you're likely to sit and admire the pretty graphics. Seriously, this is one Unreal Engine game that just looks incredible. Then again, don't most of them look awesome (with the exception of Rogue Warrior and Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon)? As for the framerate, it remains stable the entire way through. After 3 times through, I still haven't noticed a drop. And, of course, everything in the soundtrack is stupendous (Did I really just type that?) with Michael Ironside doing Sam's unbelievably awesome voice. Oh, and this time, Sam says a$$hole and fu*k, so it's already awesome... The music is great with a harder beat in battle and dramatic tones for dramatic scenes. You can't ask for more than that.
So, yes, Ubisoft made a brilliant game. Yes, Ubisoft made Sam cooler. Yes, Ubisoft made the SP campaign quite short. But yes, Ubisoft made one of the most enjoyable experiences in gaming. Fortunately, the game has more than a single player campaign to hold the attention of gamers with a whole multiplayer mode that everyone who picks up the game will surely take a peek at.
The game hasn't yet been finished after the single-player. Oh, no. We got co-op! The same modes can be accessed online, but... I'm banned (remember?). So, I sat down with my dad (so what??) and we played through each of the co-op modes.
You have the story. With America's Archer and Russia's Kestrel, you try to stop nuclear warheads from being sold between countries. This story is just as great with some of the most awesome moments I've yet to see with a friend (or your father). This is still short, but can get you lots of points for both players (see paragraph 5 in SP part of review). Also, you can unlock weapons in this mode that you couldn't in SP that you use for both SP and co-op. Needless to say, there's always a reason to come back. High replay value is the best thing for this game.
Next up is Hunter. This mode has you taking out 10 people in each area of a level that was in co-op story mode. if you are detected, 10 reinforcements come to mercilessly murder you. After that, you've got Last Stand. This one is the Splinter Cell equivalent of Gears of War's Horde mode, with wave after wave coming. This time, they're aiming for an EMP generator. You have to defend that generator. Hunter and Last Stand can both be played alone. Now, you have Face-Off. This has you killing the other spy. Yes, Archer vs. Kestrel. You gain points for killing the other agent and lose points if you die.
The only other mode worth mentioning is one I don't have. Infiltration. This is only available to Xbox LIVE members. This has you killing everyone, but not being detected. Similar to Hunter, but detection means game over.
All of this modes are memorable and can bring pure fun (something I don't really get often, despite the number of games I have) to you and a buddy. These modes have the same controls as SP, so anybody can pick up and play. Though some may not like it, the Spy vs. Mercs mode is gone in favor of the new modes. Fret not, as I believe gamers may eventually find that they like the new modes. If not... then I guess you don't like them.
All of this game is extremely polished and entertaining. Splinter Cell purists may decline the simplified stealth elements, but everyone else can be having fun as those closed-minded gamers play Chaos Theory in their mother's basement. While there's nothing wrong with Chaos Theory (nothing at all), those gamers are missing out on the beautiful party that Ubisoft had spent a lot of time creating. That time... it shows in this. And it leaves me waiting impatiently for Ubisoft Toronto (Yes, Toronto) to make Splinter Cell 6. This is simply one game you have to check out.