Completed: Splinter Cell Double Agent (XBOX 360)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal/Shanghai
Release Date: October 2006
I have never really played through a Splinter Cell game before even though I always hear good things about them. So before playing Splinter Cell Conviction I though I’d go back and play the last game released in the series. I’m a big fan of the Metal Gear Solid series and the stealth action genre which makes it even more strange that I have never played a Splinter Cell game until now.
The premise of the game is that you are Sam Fisher a NSA operative who loses his edge when he learns his daughter has been killed by a drunk driver. He is withdrawn for action but gets a chance to get back into the game by working as a undercover agent. He is planted into jail to infiltrate a terrorist group and it is his job to find out what they are planning and to stop them.
The way I approached the game was to try and do the missions as stealthy as possible, my basic pattern was to take people out with the airfoil round of the rifle and hide their bodies without alerting the other enemies. You can play the game even more stealthily by trying to just sneak past the enemies or play it more like a shooter by taking out enemies and finding a place to hide while the alerts cool down. At the end of each mission you are rewarded for playing the game stealthily which unlocks more gadgets to use.
The shooting in the game is terrible but this isn’t the focus of the game. In stealth games the main draw is analysing enemy patterns and the surroundings to complete the goals as quietly as possible. I like this puzzle element of these sort of games as it often leads to interesting level designs and interactions. Splinter Cell Double Agent does some interesting things in the genre, one of which is that a few missions are meant to be played purely non lethal. In these levels you are in the headquarters of the terrorist organisation where you are a double agent but as the new guy you aren’t given any clearances and too much suspicious behavior is deadly for you. Your job in these levels are to sneak around, hack computers, collect information and completing any other objectives the NSA gives you. The cool thing is that you can collect voice samples and retinal scans to get access to various restricted areas which really makes you feel like a spy. Also as a double agent there are decisions you have to make to conceal your cover, I went with doing whatever necessary to keep my cover which resulted in the bad ending. To get the good ending you’re supposed to save at least 2 of the 3 targets when given the decision.
Splinter Cell Double Agent is an excellent game in a genre with very few choices. There is no reason not to pick it up and give it a try, I bought it for $8AUD.