Review by Nakrophile
"Same game, new set of missions"
If I am being honest, this game does have its problems. But I believe these are all problems the sort of which you cannot blame on the game. Thing is, I can see this being the best Splinter Cell yet on the next-gen consoles, but on the current gen consoles it is little more than an expansion pack. So yes, you could argue how everything is worse on this version of the game, but at the same time, with my limited knowledge of what all these fancy things can do, it's just a good game with restrictions imposed by the technology. It does its best, and by god it has Michael Ironside.
Anyway, it is very similar to Chaos Theory. As I say with this version it's more like an expansion pack than a traditional sequel. Essentially the gameplay is exactly the same, with Sam Fisher doing pretty much all of the same things he could do before. This isn't really a problem, though, as that gameplay is great, if a lot easier. You are given more of everything, often starting levels with around fourteen non-lethal shots, which is more than double the amount in previous games. Particularly of note is EMP ammunition, which completely takes away the point of the OCP, disabling cameras and such permanently. Mind you, the game makes up for this with elite mode, stripping you of all but the OCP and your knife, and forcing you to really take your time. Still, that is something of a bonus once you have finished the game. Whistling has also been refined, so that two buttons are now required, doing away with any accidental whistling from previous games.
One thing that does irritate me is the use of the OCP in co-op, specifically how you must hold it down. This is a good idea really, but it does make things very difficult if you're playing by yourself juggling two controllers. This isn't so much a flaw as it is a personal grievance, though. If you want real flaws all there really is, is a: sometimes annoying camera; dodgy controls in a few places; enemies that sometimes get stuck; and partners who do the usual things they do to ruin your life in video games. So the flaws are nothing that will surprise you if you're familiar with this series or video games in general.
As for the graphics and sound, there is not a lot I can say about either. The graphics are good and the sound is superb (particularly towards the end of the first level), although some of the in-game dialogue doesn't flow as well as it did in Chaos Theory. The loud music that usually kicks in when you have been spotted remains the biggest flaw with the game but, as with previous Splinter Cell's, you get used to it.
What I really do like about this game is its story. All in all, it is a very dark game where everything seems to go wrong for our protagonist, Sam Fisher. And when it's over, he is essentially in the same place he was in when the game (or rather, his mission) began. I am very interested to see how many of the 'bad' possibilities you can make here come to pass when Conviction is released. Certainly, the way the cut scenes play, at least some of them (one a major one for the series) I think have happened. Although I expect some of this will be clarified when I manage to play the other (proper, perhaps) version of the game on the next-gen consoles
Back to the game at hand, and whilst the levels in their entirety are actually bigger than before, they quite often come across as smaller due to the scarcity of alternate routes, which is quite a let-down when you are replaying the game. Also, there are not really enough levels, which is a shame.
Furthermore, although the game boasts three alternate endings, what this actually amounts to is a few seconds of tiny newsreel footage during the credits, which doesn't actually elaborate on Sam at all, and so is just a little bit pointless. What also seems a trifle pointless is the trust system. It does serve a purpose during the game I suppose, dictating what equipment you receive for each mission, but in the end even if you reach the last level with a high level of trust from the JBA, your cover is blown no matter how careful you were. Even if you go too far to one side during a mission, it isn't hard to set things back on track.
I have read a lot of criticism of the changes made on the current generation of consoles for this game, and usually I agree with it. What I'm not so sure of is those changes affecting this review, as I don't know enough about any of these consoles to accurately wonder why such and such was left out of the PS2 version but was kept for the 360 one, or whatever. So really, I prefer the previous entry in the series, and I just view this game as an add-on for Chaos Theory.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/04/08
Game Release: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (EU, 10/27/06)
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