That Tom Clancy is one talented fellow, responsible for some of the biggest novels, books and video games of the last decade; the man knows his niche market intimately and is capable of producing an enormous amount of material to fill his fantastic and often unbelievable worlds. This version of the highly successful Splinter Cell series follows the same sneaky formula of the previous games but hangs them all on the impressive power of the PlayStation 3.
This game as an almost identical port of the recent Xbox 360 version and brings the same complex storyline to drive the plot throughout the game. The veritable Sam Fisher has found himself with nothing to lose and agrees to become the titular ‘double agent’ to infiltrate the deepest, darkest terrorist cell. This leads to an awkward double-headed objective base, where accomplishing certain takes will directly contradict others, anyone familiar with the recent academy award winning The Departed will be well within their element here.
As you would expect with a Tom Clancy series title, Splinter Cell: Double Agent features more craftiness and secrecy than you can shake a camouflaged stick at. Use a series of increasingly powerful weapons to take care of the somewhat dimwitted, at first, enemies without being uncovered by either your terrorist friends or the enemies, who aren’t really enemies. Confused? You will be. The non-linear storyline means that playing through the game multiple times can open up different branching paths, based on the decisions that you make and the lives that you take.
As you would expect from such a high-quality title, the graphics are a great improvement over the previous generation games. Yet it seems like the PlayStation 3 version falls a little short when placed against the Xbox 360 on. Frame rates are a little jerky and there are some clipping issues at times, but perhaps given a little more time with the new hardware, Ubisoft Shanghai might be able to pull out more power with the next iteration. And the PlayStation 3 version also comes with a couple of extra multiplayer maps to balance out the deficit a little.
If you like the spy-laden, stealthy world of Sam Fisher then you’ve probably already picked this game up, finished it and are now camped outside you local game store waiting, sneakily, for the next version. And there in lies the major problem, the covert world of the Splinter Cell series is starting to get a little old. When placed against the upcoming Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell: Double Agent fades into an afterthought in terms of public and critical anticipation. This version plays well, but shows too little innovation and improvement over the previous versions to really encourage the casual fan to invest their time in it.
Although a welcome addition to the PlayStation 3 library, many could find Splinter Cell: Double Agent a small step instead of a giant leap from the last console versions and be forgiven for waiting for the developers to really grasp the PlayStation 3 before investing themselves back into the espionage and intrigue of Tom Clancy’s greatest gaming characters.