Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent - PS2 Review
|26/10/2006||Ubisoft||Ubisoft||1-2, 2-4 ||MA15+||Medium|
The current generation has been kind to Ubisoft with some fantastic franchises such as Prince of Persia, Brothers in Arms and Rainbow Six all pushing new boundaries and setting some pretty hot sales along the way. The one series which really started the companies reinvention was Splinter Cell. The games' hero Sam Fisher wasn't an all-guns-blazing action characer, with his stealth abilities being every bit as important to his success in the missions. Splinter Cell: Double Agent is the fourth game to be released on the Playstation 2 - and it deserves plenty of attention not only due to previous games in the series, but also the way in which Ubisoft is reinventing the franchise.
|Sneaking up on some enemies.|
The story of Splinter Cell: Double Agent is not only well told, but also instrumental in changing the style of gameplay through the game. After the first rather introductory mission Sam Fisher is placed in jail for six months - this isn't all bad as he is put there to gain the trust of a terrorist organization known as JBA, or John Brown's Army. Yar we know, it sounds more like a band then a hardened terrorist organization. After escaping from jail Sam must balance his actions with the JBA, and also keep the NSA (America's National Security Agency) happy as well. The story in this game is riviting, and is so much more enjoyable then the 'kill all terrorists' type plot in previous games.
|Crash! Bang! Stab!|
While many of the levels in Splinter Cell: Double Agent are timed this isn't a short game. Some of the tougher levels will take several attempts before you beat them and they are all quite spectacular. From the opening level in Iceland, to a cruise ship in Mexico, the JBA Headquarters, or the two exclusive PS2 bonus missions everything is superbly detailed and presented. The title even includes a couple of mini-games throughout the missions.
|Lighting and effects are great.|
One of the key gameplay changes in this years game is that Sam now has a gauge which monitors if you are performing too well for the terrorists, or too well for the NSA. You must strike a balance. Kill too many criminals and you'll blow your cover and the terrorists will kill millions. By doing this Ubisoft have ensured that the stealth elements of the game remain a key gameplay element, rather then just a distraction. The last couple of games in the series allowed gamers to charge in killing everyone in sight without penalty. That's no longer the case.
Multi-player has been a fairly big part of the series and while PS2 gamers playing online can be hard to find at times Ubisoft have provided the goods in Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Primarily the developers have included co-op offline multi-player gameplay. Online game modes have also been included for up to 4 players to compete in some two-on-two matches. Overall the online experience is quite solid despite a limited number of maps on offer.
This is, overall, a brilliant game but not one without its (small) flaws. Sadly the co-op gameplay isn't an option when playing online which is a bit disappointing. Levels design is good, however compared to next-generation versions they have been scaled back a bit in size.
|In-game effects are good.|
Graphics in the Splinter Cell titles have always been a highlight and SPlinter Cell: Double Agent is no exception. We've already mentioned the wide variety of locations around the world and each looks vastly different from the others. Sam Fisher, as well as the numerous other characters in the game, look wonderful both in terms of the actual character models and their animations. The series has always exceled in this area but Ubisoft appear to have moved the game forward a couple more notches again. The cut-scenes are also spectacular and certainly convey the story perfectly.
Audio in the game is, yet again, highlighed with voiceover work from Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher. The orchestral music and effects are on par with previous games which isn't a bad thing while gamers will also be pleased to hear that the game includes Dolby Pro Logic II support for some more atmosphere.
|Sam Fisher doing his thing!|
While Splinter Cell: Double Agent doesn't have the same jaw dropping effect as the earlier games this is still a fantastic game on the Playstation 2 - and could possibly be the last on the system before the series moves to the next-generation. The good news for PS2 owners is that this game, as we're led to believe, is actually superior to the XBox 360 version in terms of the storytelling (although we haven't been able to directly compare so take that with a grain of salt) and includes a couple of bonus missions. Well done Ubisoft on keeping up the standards for this fine game series.
Review By: Dave Warner
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
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|GRAPHICS||Yet again this series pushes the boundaries and increases the quality.||92%|
|SOUND||Michael Ironside is superb as Sam, effects and music are great.||90%|
|GAMEPLAY||The ability to play for two sides adds an extra level in gameplay.||91%|
|VALUE||Not the longest game, but it will take a while to complete some levels.||87%|
|OVERALL||Splinter Cell: Double Agent is the fourth stunning title in this series. This is probably the best game to date, and is engrossing from start to end. Definiately worth adding to your PS2 collection.||90%|