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March 12 2007
Splinter Cell Double Agent - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
30/3/2007UbisoftUbisoftUbisoft Shanghai, Annecy & Milan
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
12-4$119.95
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An iconic American landmark.
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Lighting is impressive yet again.

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In-game multi-player PS3 screenshot.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (to give the game it's full title) is an interesting game in that this Playstation 3 version is quite different to the Playstation 2 version which we reviewed (here) following its October 2006 release. This next-generation title has been developed in two countries - Ubisoft Shanghai (China) has handled the single player campaign while Ubisoft Annecy (France) has worked on the multi-player development and Ubisoft Milan (Italy) has created a couple of additional levels for this PS3 release. This isn't a unique thing to this game as several games in the series have undergone a similar development setup.

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Sam is going for a paddle...
The story of Splinter Cell: Double Agent is engrossing. At the beginning of the game 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. 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 riveting, and is so much more enjoyable then the 'kill all terrorists' type plot in previous games.

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The new female spy for multi-player modes.
Double Agent doesn't stray too far from the formula set with other titles in the Splinter Cell universe. Sam Fisher still has to use stealth to succeed in many missions, but also encounters a fair share of action. Naturally Sam has a wide range of weapons and gadgets at his disposal, most of which will be familiar to fans of the series.

One of the key gameplay changes in this title is that Sam now has two gauges which monitor how you are performing for the terrorists, and for the NSA. You must strike a balance and keep both factions happy with your performance. Kill too many criminals and you'll blow your cover and the terrorists will kill millions. By adding this gameplay element 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. The game also now includes automatically regenerating health to keep the action flowing. The game now also includes multiple endings depending on your actions and performance during the game.

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Yet more gorgeous lighting effects.
One of the questions which first springs to mind is just what is new in this Playstation 3 version over the XBox 360 and PC versions. As well as a host of additional polish and some bug fixes the games big new features are plentiful. Firstly the multiplayer mode features an additional new spy character - a 174cm, 20-28 year old female who still remains unnamed. Double Agent also includes two entirely new multi-player maps based on NSA training centre and Kinshasa. Developed at Ubisoft Milan these levels will provide quite unique experiences.

The developers are also using the Sixaxis controller in many parts of the game. In the single player mode the tilt control will be used to operate various skills including picking doors or hacking security systems while it can also be used to control Sam's movements while swimming and paragliding. In multi-player the Sixaxis can be used to control the drone.

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Who's that hanging up there!?
As you can expect the PS3 game will include plenty of online gameplay - an aspect which Ubisoft have been testing since November 2006 to ensure the online modes will be as stable as those in the currently released titles in the series (which, for those unaware is pretty good). As with other versions we can expect 4-player two-on-two matches.

Graphically this game speaks for itself with the screenshots. The lighting has always been a major part of the series and there is little doubt it will be a highlight of this title as well. Animation appears silky smooth and character and level modeling is superb. Audio will yet again be highlighted by Michael Ironside voicing Sam Fisher while Michael McCann has scored the music in the game.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent should be a fantastic title on the PS3. The current generation games were great, as were the next-generation XBox 360 and PC versions. With some added features in the PS3 game this really looks like a must have title for those that haven't purchased the title yet. Even if you have the current-gen versions this different title could still be worth a purchase as well. Expect the game to hit shelves a week after the PS3 launch on March 30.