Monday, March 05, 2007

Splinter Cell: Double Agent - Final impressions and thoughts.

I polished off the game this weekend - after a few dozen moments of getting shot to living hell again and again and again. I'm sticking by what I said before: great game, great story, excellent game play.

Two problems:

1) Sam Fisher has been forced to make some difficult decisions - i.e. to blow up or save a cruise liner, save his friend or let the mission take priority, etc., etc. and I really enjoyed having to make those kinds of choices. I blew up the cruise liner and saved my friend in case you were wondering. The problem I have is that Fisher leaves his agency not because they screw him at every turn but because of a woman. This in itself is not a bad thing but over the course of the game there's very little in the way of romantic exposition. I wouldn't have minded if there was more than one co-op mission with her, some life saving, some playful banter, something more interesting. She was a cool character and not just some chick for Fisher to save and bang. Just wish that there was more because the end would have been a lot more effective. Disappointing.

2) There is not just a problem with Splinter Cell: Double Agent or the series but with games in general: the lack of replay value. There are two bonus missions that are ridiculously easy after completing the game. There's not much incentive to replay the missions that while fun/difficult/cool to play through once don't have much appeal the second time through. For me the amount of time I've put into acing one level usually means that there aren't many surprises left. Only the last mission is really cool enough to show off to people - the rest of the time is based on patience and repitition. There are different outcomes based on choices made in game: good, bad, awful. These are nothing but different newscasts at the end of the game.

The two stealth games I've replayed multiple times are the Hitman series and the Tenchu series. Why do they have such a high replay value? For me it's the cinematic and amazingly cool levels of Hitman - except for the riverboat in Blood Money. I feel like I'm playing a movie. With Tenchu you can replay levels multiple times with each character - enemies appear in different areas, different traps, and the better you perform the better gear you can acquire. Tenchu manages to keep levels interesting and fun and trying out new gear on previous levels is a blast. Plus it's ninjas!

The stories of Hitman & Tenchu are pretty convoluted though Tenchu is worst. I could try to explain it except you wouldn't care and I wouldn't care either - the games are fun though. Hitman is convoluted but with a tree graph it can be done.

All in all:

Splinter Cell: Double Agent: 8

I love the Splinter Cell series. The game itself, the gameplay, the music, the atmosphere, the sheer fun of sneaking up on people are great. Except for one snag in story and pretty much no replay the game is excellent and worth picking up if you're a fan of the genre.

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