Review by horror_spooky
"The name's Fisher, Sam Bond...crap, I mean Fisher!"
Usually, I am weary of playing stealth games. I have a very happy trigger finger and waiting around for a guard to walk my way usually bores me. However, I try to approach every game I play with an open-mind, so I started Splinter Cell without thinking about all the other stealth disappointments that I have suffered through. Splinter Cell: Double Agent has changed my entire outlook on the stealth genre. This is the best stealth game I have ever played.
Almost every part of the game will get your blood pumping, especially if you're playing it the harder way (knocking people out instead of killing them). Hanging off poles patiently as your enemy slowly walks to his death will keep you on the edge of your seat. Finding ways in the environment to confuse your enemy is always entertaining. However, the best part about this game is getting away and hiding from the countless guards that litter the levels in Double Agent. You'll find yourself holding your breath after you slip up and an enemy heard one of your footsteps and they begin closing in on you until they're right in front of you but you get lucky enough for them to stop. Moments like that are numerous in Double Agent and those moments are what make the game so addicting.
My first complaint arises in the solo gameplay. An often used feature of your pistol is an attachment that disables electronic devices. That's all fine and dandy, but if you shoot it and miss the device, you have to sit and wait for the thing to recharge. This is annoying and can suck some of the excitement from the title easily.
Sometimes, you'll get so into the game that you won't want to save because saving and loading in this game is very annoying and takes almost a minute. Then, you'll slip up and get caught by a guard and shot to death. If you haven't saved for a while, you're forced to go pretty far back into the mission. Most people will brush this off as part of the game, but it's annoying in stealth games to have to sit around and wait for guards all over again.
Sam is equipped with a few gadgets, but most of them are useless. I only found myself using any of the gadgets when I was told to in the tutorial level. Guards can be taken out a lot easier without the use of these gadgets, the sticky camera and the sticky shocker.
By playing through the solo campaign you can unlock bonus maps to play through, but none of these are nearly as entertaining as the actual campaign.
One of the most inviting features of Double Agent and a reason why most people will get the game is the co-op capabilities. Co-op mode starts out slow and boring at first, but it gradually gets better. Standing on your partner's shoulders to cut camera wires or hanging off of wires to disable a computer guarded with lasers make you feel like you're actually a spy. The controls for co-op are even easier to get used to than those of the solo campaign.
However, co-op isn't close to perfect. The edge-of-your-seat moments that appear countless times in the solo campaign are nearly non-existent in co-op. Also, it's much harder to be sneaky with two splinter cells. Another major complaint is the split-screen. You can barely see what you're doing, even on a larger TV, with the split-screen so you'll often get cheaply killed.
The story at first seems pure episodic, but quickly develops into a struggle between two opposing forces. A darker side of Sam is also shown after a twist at the end of the first mission and it's interesting to see how he copes with his emotions. Co-op isn't even left out of the story. Lambert refers to the two splinter cells that you play as in co-op to Sam on numerous occasions. This gives players even more reason to play through both campaigns.
Beautiful graphics! Everything in the environment is extremely detailed. The lighting is amazing and everything looks real. I was blown away by how much graphical power the PS2 can REALLY dish out.
However, there were some glitches in the game. At one time in co-op mode, my partner and I did a back-to-back wall climb. All went going to plan, but then the splinter cell's feet went into a climbing frenzy! It was hilarious so I'm not going to dock the game for that, but I'm just pointing out a problem with the game. Also, I found some cases where a character would start sliding across the floor spontaneously to get into position for a co-op action.
Objects in the environment can be thrown to draw enemies to a certain location, giving you a better chance to knock them out. However, I sometimes threw an object at the wall, but it didn't make any sound. This is irritating as this problem could have easily been fixed.
The background music also makes my skin crawl. The music didn't really fit well with the situations that arose in-game.
Depending on how fast you can think yourself through each problem in the game, Double Agent can either be really long or really short. There aren't that many levels in the game to play through, which is disappointing, but nonetheless it's of decent length.
If you liked previous installments in the series, you'll love Double Agent. If you like stealth games in general, you'll love Double Agent. However, if you're new to the genre or if you find stealth games mediocre, I would rent this title first.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/18/06
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