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Splinter Cell Double Agent is a stealth action game developed for the Playstation 2.
The story is told in flashbacks as Sam recounts the events after Chaos Theory. As Sam returns he is met by his commander Lambert, Sam is told his young daughter has been run over and killed, Sam then breaks down completely not caring what happens to him he decides to go for the most dangerous mission he can. He ditches his spy gear and chooses to infiltrate the terrorist group John Browns Army or the JBA, the story is one of the most gripping the series has to offer and is exciting all the way through.
A few new game mechanics have been added to the game most significantly the trust meter which is highly appropriate considering your role as a double agent, you will constantly have to balance the two completing some NSA objectives to satisfy them that you are still one of the good guys but not so much that the JBA will suspect you, letting this trust meter go down all the way for one of the factions will end the game.
The game also lets you make a few choices including really significant ones where you can either choose to kill or save your CIA friend Hisham and Sam's commander Irving Lambert, these moments are actually very intense.
The games trademark stealth gameplay is fully intact, Sam must stay in the cover of darkness and silently eliminate foes with his silenced weaponry which is explained by the NSA drop it in for him. The excellent melee system from Chaos Theory makes a return too allowing Sam to perform lethal and silent kills if he can get close to an enemy.
The game also includes some new co op missions for you to play with a friend including the exclusive to co op moves like helping your friend up to a ledge and helping him up, opening doors together and so on, these missions implements some elements from the games story it's really cool to perform missions to help out Sam.
Graphics haven't really improved since Chaos Theory but I think honestly they squeeze just about everything that's possible from the Playstation 2.
Splinter Cell Double Agent tells one of the series most exciting stories and is another superb game in the series.
This is probably one of the best games I have EVER played.
I read the reviews on Amazon, and it was these reviews that made me buy it. I have never played any of the Splinter Cell games before, so was unsure of what to expect.
Everything about the game is awesome, the graphics are stunning, and the game play is out of this world. The music also plays a major part in building up the tension! You are in total control of where the game goes. You have the choice of helping the terrorists or your bosses at the N.S.A. You have a trust meter which you have to balance out. You can't always help the terrorists, as the N.S.A will begin to think you have become "bad" and if you help the N.S.A too much the terrorists will not believe you are one of them. It's all about ballance, in keeping both sides happy.
The weapons you use are amazing, you must learn to use each one correctly to get the most out of the missions. The easiest way to get through the missions is not to be seen by the enemy or any of the security cameras. If you go in all guns blazing, chances are you will be killed. If you take your time and slowly sneak up on your enemy out of the darkness, you will remain undetected.
You will never tire of this game, I can't stop playing it. I have played it for hours and am still no where near completing it.
This has everything I could ever want from a game. Just buy it!
Genre = Stealth Action adventure
Developer = UBISOFT
Publisher = UBISOFT
Players = 2 Player
Online = Yes
Age = 15+
Memory Usage = 683KB Minimum
Released = October 2006
The first Splinter Cell game started as an exclusive for the Xbox but after only 4 months later in March 2003 it was released on the PS2 and others consoles followed. From then on UBISOFT continued with the series selling on multiply formats where they have won many various awards. This Double Agent game Im reviewing today is the 5th game to appear on consoles which comes into to different versions for the current and next generation consoles.
Taking the role of Sam Fisher again working for the NSA (National Security Agency) set shortly after the previous game Chaos Theory where you first mission is in Iceland. You are pulled out of the mission later on with some bad news, where it seems that you have quit the job because of it.
The next mission starts with you in prison where you are under cover trying to make friends with a member of a terror organization where you must both escape together for you to be invited into the group.
The overall storyline is that youre a double agent helping out the good and bad guys, which through out the game you have to make very difficult decisions like killing an innocent person to be trusted or do you save him and possible get court out that youre an undercover agent.
As usually each Splinter Cell game looks stunning, the previous title toke the console and pushed it to the max, so as you expect this newest game will not look way better as Chaos Theory was already one of the best looking games on the PS2.
Everything is superbly detailed from the characters and background of the levels. The water looks as real as a computer generated water can possible look with its movement and the reflexsions it gives off from lighting hitting it.
As with the shadow and lighting is beautiful as all the Splinter Cells have looked since day one. The only thing I need to point out is the shadow of the character you control. I dont know if the developers missed this or theres a bug, flaw or something as the players character does not have a shadow what so ever, where as all previous games have had this.
The enemies and other characters where as they have a real-time shadow that moves as they do. You may not notice this until I have pointed it out (this is probably not so on the 360 and PS3 thought, for those that are planning on buying for that console).
Another part of the game that is done perfect with the sound effects picking up every different type of surface you walk on down to the reloading and changing of guns/attachments. The music is composed very well, either it being in the game or cinematic it fits in perfect and gives you that extra emotion to go along with any of the changing situations of the gameplay.
The voice acting is extremely well done with your character Sam Fisher voiced by Canadian actor called Michael Ironside who has stared in many films from 1981 that some include Top Gun, Total Recall, Starship Troopers and The Machinist being the most known ones. Usually plays as a tough villain, were as he has played as a secret agent in all of the series of splinter cell games.
The rest of the game characters are also voiced very well and even the non scripted main parts of the storyline is well done with patrolling guards talk to each other and when searching a near by suspicious noise.
From what I recall the controls is the same as previous as UBISOFT have already done a pretty good job with the layout and how it plays with t he pad. The movement is all done with the analogue with different amounts of pressure will either make Sam sneak or move as different speeds. Where as the other analogue lets you control the camera by tilting it in different directions for those times where you need to check for enemies all around before moving. Grabbing onto fences, pipes, ladders and so on are automatically ones walked into and all of his cool moves are performed easily.
The only complaint here is that 2 of the previous moves are not to be seen here, is the move when you can quick switch of a gap at corners, so quickly the enemies dont notice you. That could of been useful at times but the more important one that is missing that was even in the very first game, is the move where you can aim around a corner with a pistil when your back is up against it, which is not only quicker but your less visible and hard to be hit.
Its probably sounding like theres not much different compared to the last game. Some of you may off heard the big gameplay change is being a double agent where you also play as a baddy and have to make difficult decisions (like I mentioned before) and also you get to play as a team on some of the missions with co-op moves. Well although that is true it does not really made a big difference in the gameplay.
Yes you do get to decide if you want to kill a innocent person or let them escape, malfunction a bomb so it dont blow up or do you leave it and possible kill 100s of people. In almost every mission you are given orders by the NSA and the JBA (terrorist) that conflicts with each other, some have small and some have big consequences but you need to decide on which to help. Although it sounds a great idea for fun and interesting gameplay it dont seem to feel any different from the previous games and that even if you replay any missions with more responsibility to the other side theres seem to be small noticeable change if at all the gameplay or storyline and you end up with a basically same ending what ever path you take.
Where as the team-play has done before in 2 player mode with co-op moves, its not been done in single player where the computer teams up with you. Well its nice to see it as its adds a bit more varied to the game but very rarely you have a team mate to work with. Although they can shoot and defend them selfs when needed too the really use of them is to add some new moves to the gameplay, helping the other person to climb up a wall and open the door from other side or do special high jumps and some others and although its well animated it dont add much to the gameplay and is only seen team-up in 3 missions.
Altough the new improved game features if you want to call them that is not up to much but like all the previous games its has got that top quality gameplay its does no thing new to really get exited about.
More on the gameplay for those not played a splinter cell game before:
All splinter cell games are a fully stealth game at heart, of course you can go in guns blazing but your more than likely be killed every time.
What is stealth? Well stealth is all about hiding and not being spotted. If you decide to kill someone your best bet is a silent kill, close combat action or uses of a silenced gun.
To help you stay silent you most move slowing and stay in the shadows, you get a stealth bar that shows how much youre hidden, and to help you can turn off lights and even shoot them out. Of course if its pitch black and they cant see then nor can you. But being a special agent you get to use your gadget goggles, this has 3 different settings. Night vision lets you see every thing clear when its dark but can be blinding in the light, you also have a heat vision that helps to show the body heat of enemies and other hot objects. The last vision lets you see electronic objects easily like cameras.
The use of the goggles and other cool gadgets that attaches to your rifle, they are great fun to use and are quite unique to splinter cell and makes it a deferent type of play to other stealth games.
For those gamers that have played quite a bit of previous splinter cell games will be able to get into the game straight away and understand how its played, meaning you probably complete it in a week or just over. For gamers that never played a splinter cell game just needs a bit of practice and with the help of hints and tips form the game you should still find it fun and completion should take about 2 or 3 weeks.
The replay value of the main game is not that great even though you can play the game more on one side if does not make much of a difference in gameplay. There are a few extra missions you can unlock which are ok but dont that long to do.
The only sections that adds any real replay value is the co-op mode and online. The online mode has a few type of modes and some well designed levels but with not that many players online and only 4 players max in a game, I got only about any extra week of play out of it, although big splinter cell fans may find them spending a lot of time here.
The other section I enjoyed with is also featured in the last game is the co-op, only played about half of this with a mate as we had not had the time to finish it, but the missions are all new and does not follow the main game, its very fun working together and you also get to do special team-work moves not seen in single player.
==BUY OR NOT TO BUY==
If you have an xbox360 or a PS3 then I say get the game on that console as there are not only has better graphics but also have more missions that is set in the daylight.
Where as if you own a ps2 then I would advice you to find it cheap as its not much new to it than the previous game. Seeing as there are next generation versions out now/soon, it seems that the price has already dropped in places and at £15 its a great price.
SCORE & SUMMARY
Graphics - 10/10, Stunning as all splinter cell games have been.
Sound/Music - 10/10, excellent sound and music, along with top voice acting.
Controls - 9/10, controls are pretty much the same which are very good.
Gameplay - 8/10, great gameplay but not much new added over previous game.
Replay Value - 7/10, co-op and online but will not last you no more than a month.
FINAL RATING 8.8/10
Amazon.co.uk = £ 14.47
Play.com = £14.99
Thanks for reading.
With Splinter Cell: Double Agent being the fourth incarnation of Ubi Soft's now well established stealth-based espionage franchise, the developers desperately needed to build on their previous success and inject some much needed innovation into the once groundbreaking series. There is no doubt that Ubi Soft tried to push the boundaries here, but, upon playing Double Agent and hoping for the best, I unfortunately came away feeling that Splinter Cell has become rather tired and overdone.
With a plot that makes some gestures towards depth but ultimately fails to excite, and a new but half-hearted trust-gauge mechanism, the basics of Splinter Cell remain untouched in Double Agent. Based more upon stealth, and, to some extent, strategy than full blown action, the game sees the player take on the role of Sam Fisher, an NSA operative specialising in espionage. While this is worth a go for the hardcore Splinter Cell fan or for anyone gripped by the stealth genre as a whole, the average gamer should look elsewhere for their New Year kicks.
The interesting thing about Double Agent, and, in fact, all of the Splinter Cell games, is the connection between its graphics and its gameplay. As one would imagine, a significant aspect of stealth-based gameplay is remaining hidden from the enemy, and the game's lighting plays a crucial role here. In order to avoid detection, one cannot always rely on a handy crate or wall to hide behind, and shadows thus become the best alternative.
This dynamic means lighting specifically and the graphics in general are integral to the game, and this is clearly an area in which Double Agent excels. While, in broader terms, it is possible to find more attractive games on the PS2 if one looks hard enough, the lighting effects specifically in Double Agent remain unrivalled on the platform.
The character and environment design complement this well, with boxed hands and obscure faces a thing of the past and each level boasting admirable detail. The water effects, in particular, are nothing short of beautiful and cannot be faulted by even the most overzealous graphics enthusiast.
17/20 - At a high standard throughout the game and particularly impressive in places
Michael Ironside once again returns to the role of Sam Fisher and provides a characteristically impressive performance, capturing well the darker side of the character with his superb voice acting talent. Across the range of characters, the voice acting is also of a good standard.
Weapons sounds can occasionally sound a little lucklustre, but one should expect this given the nature of the game (it simply wouldn't do to have a noisy spy). The in-game music, however, adds well to the atmosphere of the game and responds admirably to whatever situation the player is in, with fast paced music in unfortunate and often deadly combat situations and a slower, more subtle pace for those typically Spinter Cell moments of tension.
On the whole, this works well, although some players might find the combat music a little irritating, especially when it seems to continue for some minutes after the combat finishes, and this is probably Double Agent's most significant downside in terms of sound.
16/20 - Voice acting superb, but music can get annoying
Splinter Cell: Double Agent, like all the other Splinter Cell titles before it, is, first and foremost, a game of stealth. This means that combat situations are rare, often detrimental to the player's health, and should, on the whole, be avoided. Having said this, weapons are certainly not non-existent in Double Agent, and Fisher still retains his usual silenced pistol and assault rifle complete with sniper and shotgun attachments. Unfortunately for any guards who stumble upon you, therefore, Fisher can quickly turn from shady operative to one-man army, although a fire-fight will inevitable increase the alert stage and thus make it more difficult for Fisher to fight and escape guards later on in the level.
Played from a third-person perspective, stealth remains key throughout, although there are times when the player is required to eliminate opponents. In order to stay hidden, the player must take advantage of any large objects available, walls, pipes, pools, and, above all, the shadows. Hiding from patrolling guards in a well placed pool or avoiding detection while hanging from a pipe on the ceiling can be particularly satisfying, although the positioning of such things throughout the levels can often make the experience feel a little too easy or obvious compared, for example, to the non-linear and adaptable environments of stealth rival, Metal Gear Solid 3.
The levels, unfortunately, can in themselves become a little predictable, creating a frustrating repetitiveness, particularly for those who have played previous instalments of the franchise. The train level, in particular, had been done before in Splinter Cell and really should not have reappeared, and the same can be said for the ship level. Despite this, some levels do have a sprinkle of originality, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to run through a hotel routinely being pounded by artillery while trying to avoid numerous guards as the lights flicker on and off in time with the strikes.
The various gadgets that one can expect of a Splinter Cell game all make a welcome return, including the sticky camera, electric shocker, and optic cable. The split-jump and hanging dynamics also work well as impressively acrobatic moves for the ageing Fisher.
However, these have all been seen before and failed to set the new benchmarks crucial for a successful sequel. In order to remedy this, Ubi Soft have introduced an entirely new feature to the game in the form of the trust-gauge. This fits in neatly with the plot, as a darker Fisher goes undercover, completing competing and often contradictory objectives for both the NSA and a terrorist organisation, the JBA. The player, in each level, is faced with a variety of different objectives offered by both sides, and has to choose which ones to complete. Completing objectives for one side increases Fisher's trust within that organisation, but he loses the confidence of the other side as a result.
The trick is to achieve a balance between objectives for each side, otherwise the player could be denied useful equipment on the next mission. However, while this new feature certainly adds a twist to the game, it fails to make more than a superficial impact and is a notably half-heated attempt to inject innovation into a franchise in urgent need of something new. This, suffice to say, is not the answer, and it is clear that the developers need to go back to the drawing board for the next instalment. The multiplayer, focused on engagement between spies, in the traditional Splinter Cell style, and grunts, playing in a first-person perspective, is enjoyable but again no improvement on previous offerings. Overall, considering the persistent lack of new ideas in Double Agent, one cannot help but feel that it would be wiser to replay one of the earlier games than fork out for this sequel.
16/25 - Offers the traditional Splinter Cell experience, but needed some more substantial innovation to compete with other titles in the genre
Double Agent boasts reasonable replay value, with a number of the individual levels well worth revisiting upon completing the game. Furthermore, the multiplayer adds some extra longevity to the game that fails to appear in the rival sneaker MGS3, and a couple of added side missions are available on the PS2 version of the game, stretching the single player for an extra couple of hours.
Especially as the singleplayer levels become more challenging later in the game, the player will realise that Double Agent cannot be completed within just a couple of days, and will require a good week of gaming before one can approach the end. Whether more Double Agent is a good or a bad thing is purely subjective, of course.
23/25 - Fairly long, good replay value
The trust-gauge adds some originality to the game as a new addition to Splinter Cell and to the stealth genre as a whole. To some extent, this redeems the game from a horrific score in this department, but you would do well to remember that this is about the only thing that is new about this game.
5/10 - Originality is not, it is safe to say, Double Agent's main appeal
Being a loyal Splinter Cell fan, despite the series' shortcomings in comparison with the infinitely better and more innovative Metal Gear Solid, I did enjoy playing this game, and other Splinter Cell enthusiasts will probably feel the same way. However, it is about time the franchise did something new, and the trust-gauge was a poor attempt to address this issue.
I had hoped for better, but was not entirely surprised when Double Agent failed to deliver. It is clear that the game's developers lacked inspiration this time round, and they could certainly take some lessons from Hideo Kojima here. Rather than pumping out endless sequels (and a new Splinter Cell is, of course, on its way), Ubi Soft need to apply themselves, bring in some new talent, and transform Splinter Cell into the groundbreaking franchise that it should and could be.
Price: £17.99 (from Amazon, November 06)
Veteran agent Sam Fisher is back. But he's never faced an enemy like this before. To stop a devastating terrorist attack, he must infiltrate a vicious terrorist group and destroy it from within. For the first time ever, experience the relentless tension and gut-wrenching dilemmas of life as a double agent. As you infiltrate a terrorist organization in its American headquarters, you must carefully weigh the consequences of your actions. Kill too many criminals and you'll blow your cover. Hesitate too long and millions will die. Do whatever it takes to complete your mission, but get out alive.