In my rather short outing today whilst looking for (and subsequently purchasing) Tenchu 3 I got my hands on a PS2 demo of Splinter Cell. The sample level is the chinese restaurant mission from the main game. It gives you a good sampling of the gameplay and the kind of graphics and sound quality to expect on the Playstation 2. I'm going to be doing some direct comparisons with the Xbox version of the game for those interested. First and foremost just to ease any fears, the control scheme has transferred over almost perfectly. Its intuitive, quick to use and doesn't fail you when you need it. Sam has all of his staple moves, the crouching, taking hostages at gun point, a stiff elbow to the face. Its all there. All of the gadgets have of course made the transition. The night vision goggles, thermal goggles. Sam'e rifle and its attachments are all present and accounted for. The game plays identical to its Xbox and PC brethren and that is very good news for PS2 owners. My only complaint in this department is that I personally prefer the analog sticks on the Xbox but that comes down to preference and some of you will no doubt enjoy the dual shock a bit more. Of course I could ramble on for hours on the gameplay and in the end what everyone wants to hear about is how well this port holds up graphically to the Xbox version of the game. Put simply, this so called "port" far exceeded my expectations and Ubi has gone beyond the call of duty. Most impressive is that the wonderfully smooth animation for all of Sams moves have been translated to the letter on the PS2. His dive roll is identical and and all of his shooting, hanging and all out ass kicking stealth moves are completely intact. You can tell as soon as you start the game Ubi spent its time making sure this aspects of the graphics tranferred over properly and it paid off. On that same note Sam's model is very highly detailed and is another area you can see Ubi really busted their hump on. Moving along through the level you'll notice the texture quality is actually very high quality (though some interior textures were a tad bland). This is really where you start to see the difference between the PS2 and Xbox versions of the game. The PS2 as good as it tries simply cannot compete with the Xbox's overall more defined textures and sharper look. You can tell the developers had to cut quite a few corners here but for the most part what is here is of high quality when in direct comparison to other PS2 games. Also of note are some of the great volumetric fogging effects that translated over. They add a good sense of atmosphere and eye candy to an already sugary package. Another point to touch on in the demo is the lighting, which is of course is one of the more integral parts of the game. As of now what I have experienced varies from very well done to a bit less than impressive. Outside of the restaurant is a gate that is casting a shadow on the floor and of course if you walk Sam through the the front of the gate you can see the shadows bouncing off of his body and his shadow intermingling with that of the gate. The effect is fairly well done (and apparently is a good example of the PS2 shadowing system that Ubi has been touting recently) but if you have experienced the Xbox game then it does leave a bit to be desired. This particular example of the shadow system just appears to be a tad too "light" and does not define itself as well on Sams character model. However a bit later on in the demo you do enter certain darker areas that show off the lighting a tad bit better. Again I am personally giving a comparison to the Xbox game here so anyone interested in the PS2 game can get an idea of how the *DEMO* stacks up. Let me however be clear, if you have never touched the Xbox game you will be left fairly impressed with what Ubi has pulled off. Finally one last thing worth mentioning is the framerate. Right now the game runs suprisingly well. There are some instances of minor slowdown in some particular areas of the restaurant but please remember that this is a *DEMO* and there is still time for a good bit of tweaking in the framerate department. To my eyes I really cannot see anyone complaining about the games framerate. With some minor optimizations the game should ship running at a consistent rate much to the pleasure of you hungry PS2 fans. Sound wise there is nothing to fret about folks. All of the dialogue, music cues and atmosphere are intact.(and of course we should have expected nothing less). So in other words, Sam still does his best Richter impersonation. To sum this up for you I'll go ahead and throw this statement out for discussion. As of now this *DEMO* represents what could end up shipping as one of most graphically impressive games on the PS2. If this quality is maintained throughout then PS2 owners really should rejoice in receiving a far above average port of a game that so many said could not be done. Of course nothing will touch Splinter Cell at 1280X1024 on my PC:p) but for most part color me impressed!