Review by ChateauNoir
"Ubisoft, ever heard of something called polish?"
Apparently Ubisoft has not, because polish is what this game severely lacks. Most every technical issue in this game is absolutely horrid - the weapons, the stealth, the enemies and AI, the graphics, and particularly, the framerate. Perhaps my expectations of decent polish rose after playing the Metal Gear Solid series, but really, there is just absolutely no sound reason for this poor excuse of a game.
Graphics - 3/10.
Okay, sure, the character models look decent, it's in HD, and the environments could pass for a good looking PS2 game, and it's certainly not pushing any limits. However, as passable as it may be, the framerate is absolutely horrible. It's certainly lower than 30, and feels incredibly choppy throughout the whole game that frame drops aren't even noticeable. It's already awful to begin with. Tons of games look better than this game - PS2 games like Metal Gear Solid 2, God of War, Final Fantasy X, etc. look better than this game and run at maybe 2-4 times the framerate.. It's just ridiculous and inexcusable for PS2 games to be outshining so called 'next gen games' like this.
Gameplay - 5/10
Sneaking in the shadows is the objective here. And to make the game possible, you'll be encountering some damn dark rooms. Yes, some very unrealistic, dark situations. For instance: Guards patrol around really, really dark corridors, with maybe one light bulb at the most. Targets also have a knack for strolling around in the dark as well. Obviously, the enemies here don't like the light very much, thus creating situations for Sam Fisher to carry out his mission.
Sam Fisher can carry quite a few spy gadgets including like voice recorder and a snake cam (that you don't even use that much), and two guns that he carries on his back. These guns are the most pitful excuse of sound you've ever heard. Say: "Pew." Yes, that's what the guns in this game sound like. Sounds like they couldn't afford proper, generic sound effects, and have to rely on a voice actor repeating: "Pew pew pew".
The enemies are another thing. They stroll around in very dark rooms and corridors, thus making it possible for you to beat the game. However, did they have to make the AI so dumb that they can't 3 flashing lights in right front of their face? If you do get caught, enemies hide behind cover, and it becomes a "whack-a-mole," in which he goes to cover and pops out every so often to shoot. Also, sometimes, once they catch you, they call an alert, but alerts don't mean much in this game. I've gotten quite a few alerts, but I never noticed anything different about the way enemies behaved.
The gameplay allows use of choice a few times as well - since you're a double agent, you can make decisions to affect which side will like you more. But none of this really matters at all, them liking you doesn't affect you too much. It doesn't change the already flawed gameplay one bit.
Overall, the gameplay is incredibly slow paced. Although there isn't a lot of patience required, you won't be running much. The majority of the time, you'll be crouch walking to get from objective to objective. There's very little fun to be had with this game - the shooting is just pathetic, the enemies and AI are downright laughable, and the missions are uninspired without any exciting moments.
The voice acting is pretty well, but the sound effects are laughable at best. Shooting the guns is guaranteed to give you laughs every time. But this is next gen. High quality picture and sound is expected. Too bad the game fails on both aspects though. It's even more of a shame when PS2 games are technically superior to this one in those departments.
The story is okay here. Nothing good, but it's decent as it is merely used for the sake of progressing along the game. The characters aren't well developed as you're pretty much thrown in and given orders without question. The presentation of the plot itself is just like every military game: explained through briefings, and maybe a few dialogue bits. The story isn't anything that'll motivate you to finish the game, and it certainly falls short of living up to the novels.
This game isn't anything worth purchasing, not even with the latest price drop. At best, it's only worth a free rental. With horrid polish and flawed gameplay elements, it seems as though Ubisoft didn't put a lot of resources in this game to make it even on par to PS2 games. The only stealth you need to experience with this game is leaving it hidden on the shelves. Ubisoft obviously didn't care about this game, and neither should you.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 06/09/08
Game Release: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (US, 03/30/07)
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