Last week, I posted my first Game of the Week. This week, I’m posting the second installment of my weekly article series. Over time, I’ll be covering PS2, XBox, XBox 360, PLAYSTATION 3, Wii, Gamecube, and PC games. My Game of the Week articles should be published every Wednesday, so come back every Wednesday to see my pick of the week. If you would like to see a specific game posted as the Game of the Week, feel free to comment here! Here is my Game of the Week!
Game of the Week: Splinter Cell Double Agent (XBox 360)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent was released for the XBox 360 on October 17th, 2006. It was developed and published by Ubisoft. The game will be released on the XBox, PlayStation 2, Gamecube, and PC on October 26th, 2006. Splinter Cell Double Agent is the fourth installment of the well known Splinter Cell spy series, all of which are developed and published by Ubisoft.
You play Splinter Cell Double Agent as Sam Fisher, a top secret espionage agent working for the United States government. This video game takes place at various times during 2007 and 2008, and ranges in locations from New York, United States, to Shanghai, China.
During the first mission of the game, Sam is leading a rookie agent into a dangerous area full of enemies on a recon mission. After the situation has been reassessed by the National Security Association (NSA), however, it is discovered that the compound they have infiltrated has a missile. At the compound, the rookie that Sam has taken under his wing is killed, and Sam discovers that a terrorist group (John Brown’s Army, or JBA) has stolen a large supply of red mercury. Soon after returning from the mission, Sam’s daughter Sarah is killed in a car incident. Sam Fisher has trouble coping with his daughter’s death, and is soon after quoted as saying “I have nothing left to live for.” He is pulled from his position, and is sent home.
When Sam Fisher’s superior, Colonel Irving Lambert, feels that he has sufficiently recovered from the devastating blows Sam has received in life, he assigns him to a deep undercover mission for the NSA. He is to be inserted into a prison in New Mexico so that he can gain the trust of a fellow inmate and member of the JBA, who’s name is Jamie Washington. After assisting Jamie in his escape from prison, Sam is offered a position in the JBA, which he quickly accepts.
Big Decision Time: NSA or JBA?Throughout the game, Sam Fisher is given orders from both the NSA and the JBA. Most of the time you can satisfy both groups’ objectives, and if you don’t, you lose their trust. If you lose all of the trust of either group, the game is over. At some points in the game, you are given conflicting objectives by the two groups, and you must make a critical decision between the two. For instance, early in the game you are told by the JBA to murder a man in a holding cell in cold blood. The NSA tells you that you can not kill him. You must make a decision, and the trust that you gain or lose from that decision will affect the rest of the gameplay.
I felt that the game did very well pushing the player to use stealth instead of just brute force. When playing on the harder difficulties, the AI (Artificial Intelligence) of the computer controlled enemies is astonishing. If you make even the smallest mistake, you are discovered and killed, and you must start from your last checkpoint. Thankfully, the Splinter Cell developing team did a pretty good job at deciding where you get checkpoints, because I never had to go back too far in the game when I died or lost all the trust of one of the groups.
Not So StealthyThe controls in the game worked well, and I liked how most of the gadgets in the game were used. I didn’t particularly like shooting, but then again shooting is only supposed to be used as a last resort. Nonetheless, I felt that it should have been a little smoother. I liked the storyline in single player very much. I especially liked that there were three possible endings to the game.
The online play for Splinter Cell Double Agent was clearly meant to be a big part of the overall experience. The single player mode was one of the shortest ones I have played in quite a while, and that left me lots of time to play online. One thing I liked about the online play was how you can play three players versus three players, but I don’t particularly care for the spy’s gadgets. The online play seemed to work pretty well, but I just found that it was WAY too different from the single player mode to be fun. Since I played the single player mode first, it felt like the online mode was a totally different game. For example, nothing Sam can do in the single player story mode is even available during the online mode, except for climbing and remote hacking objectives. Although this is challenging, I felt it was too far off the theme of Splinter Cell to be truly enjoyable.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent is one of the best games out there for the XBox 360 right now, and that makes it a must have if you own this console. The action in this game is unparalleled, and is one of two pure stealth games out there, the other being Hitman: Blood Money. It's my Game of the Week! Come back soon to find out what I picked for the next Game of the Week!