fat_otter's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent (Xbox 360) review

Think you know Splinter Cell? Think again!

Boy, the Splinter Cell series has come a long way. It started as a more realistic version of Metal Gear Solid and wasn't even expected to do that well. And in Ubisoft Montreal's fear of the game being a bomb, they kept raising the quality bar until the game ended up being incredibly good. And 4 sequels later, the series is as strong as ever! Unlike the previous installments, Sam Fisher is no longer the "goodie-two-shoes" agent he was in the past titles, because now, he must be loyal to both the good guys and bad guys. For Sam's latest mission, the NSA has sent Sam to become a member of an American terrorist cell so he can weaken them from the inside out. SCDA adds some new and exciting elements to the series which was starting to run low on ideas. The game features a trust meter. You are given objectives for both the NSA, and JBA (John Brown's Army, the terrorist cell). For example, you can kill this certain guy who is a friend of the NSA to impress the terrorists, or you can let him live because he's part of your own side. Despite these objectives, the mission out come will always be the same. The only true importance is that if you have enough trust with the NSA by the end of the game, you get a bounus mission and an additional achievment. Another new feature are the headquarters missions. In between every few missions, you get an oppertunity to wonder around the JBA headquarters for about 15 minutes. Here, you can complete objectives for either the NSA or JBA. This gives you an oppertunity to get more trust from the side who trusts you less. This can range from completing a obstacle course, to sneaking into an off-limits area to get some top-secret terrorist files. These missions are a bit slow, but come in handy when your low on trust. All of the other missions are what you'd expect from a Splinter Cell game - Find this, kill this guy, interogate this guy, ect. But each mission is a lot more diverse than in previous installments. For example - in one mission your infiltrating an oil tanker that's stuck in the Bearing Strait, then your rappeling down a high-riser during a thunderstorm on Chinese New Years in Shanghai, then your in the middle of an African war-zone in Congo under the blazing sun. Each mission is unique, exiting, and has its own feel to it. Besides the double agent stuff, it all feels very familiar to any Splinter Cell vet (like me), or even if you just played one other SC game. As for multiplayer, get ready for a whole new ballgame, because Double Agents multiplayer has been completley renovated, and is a lot more accessible than before. The biggest change is that both the spies and mercs have less gear. The spies don't have any weapon, except for a choke-hold. You can carry a single item such as flash, and smoke grenades, syringes (for healing yourself), a jammer (so mercs can't dectect you as easily), and other stuff. All the mercs get is an assualt rifle with a grenade launcher, and a drone which can be flown around in in accesible places and blow the spies up. There aren't that many game modes, deathmatch, and collect the file. But if your a Splinter Cell veteran or new to the series, you will find Double Agent a fun game in both the singleplayer and multiplayer departments. (But if your new to the series, I recommend the previous installments first)!
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