Saturday, January 20, 2007

Splinter Cell: Double Agent (360)

When I first got an Xbox, Splinter Cell was one of the games I got with it. Look at the graphics - man, they'd never be able to do that shit on the PS2 (they did, of course). It was a horrible game that made no sense. Seriously, who thought that making a very early level where you're not allowed to touch the street floor (and I do mean'touch', not 'be seen on' - somehow the guards just knew there was someone messing around on their street) without instantly failing was a good idea?

Now I should say, I don't dislike stealth games. I think they can be great, but only if they allow you to monumentally cock up and still carry on. After all, the one thing the genre tries to impress on you is that your character is some kind of ultimate badass. And ultimate badasses can, if everything goes wrong, at least try and shoot their way out. Or run. This is why I've always liked the Hitman games.

Anyway, when Pandora Tomorrow came out, I gave it a miss - I wasn't falling for their lies twice. I did borrow it from a friend, but again found the early levels to be remorseless in their punishment of mistakes.

Chaos Theory got praised for being a bit more easy going, so when it got cheap I bought it. Thoroughly enjoyed the first few levels (I can't actually remember why I stopped playing it now, I seem to rememebr at least finishing a level set on a ship).

So I got a copy of the latest Splinter Cell when that was also cheap. It has some very good stuff in there - you're allowed to cock up to quite a stunning degree in most places (Sam Fisher is now enough of an ultimate badass to fight back) thanks in no small part to the clever trust system making most of the stealthy objectives optional. Interesting levels (so far). A nice range of hi-tech gadgets to mess around with. Lovely presentation. The achievements are sensibly placed to spur you through the single player while also trying to encourage stealthy play.

It's not all great though - the frame rate is horrible in some places; Sam often doesn't respond to your button mashing in the way you'd expect; the 3d map could do with a bit more detail, and being slightly easier to get around; and the most terrible of crimes is that the multiplayer on this next-gen version is nowhere near as good as in Chaos Theory. Where the hell is my co-op campaign Ubi?

Still, enjoying it so far.

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