Review by nihnilah
"Calling this a beta would be a stretch"
The Splinter Cell series truly is an excellent franchise. Having played all of the previous splinter cell games on the various console systems and being extremely impressed, I decided without a doubt I would be getting the new Splinter Cell Double Agent. I wanted to get it for PC this time around, so I could have the next gen graphics and sound experience without forking over big bucks for one of the new consoles. I thought it would great. Instead, it turned out to be hell.
*Before I continue, I would just like everyone to know that my rig does meet the minimum specs for this game, and I have the most up to date drivers and all that happy stuff.*
After playing the training courses and most of the first level without a hitch, I ran into a problem that would dog the game enough for me to uninstall it and use the disc as a coaster. The problem was graphics glitches, and LOTS of them. First, the fancy overlay graphic when you try to hack a computer or pick a lock looks all garbled and makes it nearly impossible to play. At times there are strange geometry patterns running all over the screen when one of these overlays triggers, and sometimes the whole graphic is just blacked out like a shadow. I've sounded countless alarms after failing hacks simply because I couldn't tell what the hell what was going on, thanks to the screwed up display. The trust system bars are prone to get glitched up too. Second, there is texture corruption just about everywhere. Just walking around most levels, you can see odd clipping effects and textures popping up randomly out of nowhere. The snow level was by far the worst. When you get to the part where I'm guessing there's supposed to be a snowstorm and wind blowing, the snowstorm effect covers up everything you see, making it impossible to play until you turn on thermal vision, then everything looks perfectly fine, except you can't really see anything. I could go on and on about these graphics problems, there are many more that people have reported on the ubisoft forums, some including sam fisher being completely invisible, but I think I've said enough about this game's graphics issues. Makes me wonder if they had any QA for this game, I guess not considering that they managed to roll this unplayable...game...out the door.
Graphics Rating: 1/10 (fix the bugs)
This is probably the saving grace of this bug filled cesspit. Instead of being linear like the other splinter cells, the consequences of the actions you take affect the outcome of the story, to a certain extent. The trust system added a much needed new dimension to the Splinter Cell gameplay, considering they've pretty much perfected it in Chaos Theory. As for the story, it's well developed, if you want a synopsis, read it elsewhere.
Story Rating: 8/10
From my experience, the sound was pretty good. Everything sounded like you would expect from a splinter cell game, considering they recycled a lot of the sounds from the old games into this one. Some guards even use the same voice tracks as the ones from Chaos Theory. Sheesh. Thankfully, new voice acting was used for the main characters, and it was well done. But alas, there are bugs in this department too. Some people have reported hearing sound only during cutscenes or the loading sequences, and others plain don't have any sound at all.
Sound Rating: 5/10 (fix these bugs too)
Surprise surprise! There's bugs here too! Controls can be clunky and take too long to respond, and various other glitches that I'm too lazy to list. Visit the ubisoft forums if you want a full list. As for mechanics, it's tried and true splinter cell gameplay, but they've replaced the stealth meter with some dumbass light on your back that tells how "threatened" you are. Green means you're invisible, yellow is a giant gray area meaning you COULD be spotted, depending on enemy location, whether you are hiding behind stuff, etc. and red means people are shooting at you. Wow, they've really dumbed it down from the light meter that showed how visible you were at a glance, versus this trial and error B.S. The action system has its gripes too. The old action interface system I thought was a fined tuned system, but they've substituted the neat little menu for a giant cute home user interface system. You get big blocky buttons for your possible interactions, versus a discrete menu system of the older games. I guess that's another thing they've dumbed down for the 4 year olds. The lockpicking, hacking, safecracking etc. is all standard splinter cell fare and well polished, with the exception of all the graphics issues they're packaged with.
Gameplay Rating: 6/10 (Give the light meter back and do some in game testing next time)
Standard PC 3rd person shooter controls. Just take a little getting used to.
Controls Rating: 8/10
This game had great potential and high expectations, but failed miserably. When playing this, it feels more like you're beta testing the game rather than the finished product, and believe me this game is far from finished. Even calling this a beta is a stretch, its more like an alpha version if you take into account the bugs, glitches, graphics artifacts and other issues people are grappling with. And ubisoft doesn't seem to give a rats ass about it, there's dozens of pages of posts on their boards with practically no responses. Overall, I would hold off on buying this until they release a patch fixing this stuff, if they ever. If you can't wait, get the 360 version, as it's just like the PC but no bugs (supposedly).
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 11/27/06
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