April 4, 2007 - The debate is over; videogame villains are dumb. You've probably come to this conclusion before, but the rocket scientists in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent take idiocy to a whole new level. They know there's an enemy -- me -- on their tanker ship, and here they are wandering the deck trying to find me with their flashlights... yet they keep pointing the damn things at blank walls and areas that aren't even dark.
It almost made me feel sorry for them as I ran up from the shadows and stabbed them right in their unsuspecting livers.
Brain-dead bad guys aside, Double Agent brings Sam Fisher to the PlayStation 3 for a successful campaign in almost every gameplay aspect that fans could want (except multiplayer, but I'll get to that later) and it provides an enjoyable go-round for any stealth-action fan. But let's start at the beginning...
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What's up, honey? I'm here to defend you.
For years, Fisher has been a doom-and-gloom agent of Third Echelon and has undertaken a million crazy missions to knife terrorists, blow up buildings and basically put his neck on the line so that the US remains safe. Personally, I'd call that the career path of a man with a death wish, but Ubisoft wants you to believe that [Spoiler Alert!] only after a driver runs down Fisher's daughter [End Spoiler]. Sam has nothing to lose now and has accepted his most dangerous mission yet: he must infiltrate a renegade group known as "John Brown's Army," a terrorist cell dedicated to taking out the status quo with a nuclear weapon.
The undercover role actually shines in an interesting story and challenges you to complete two sets of objectives that are fundamentally opposed to each other. Even when you're chilling with terrorist buddies at JBA headquarters, you're on the clock for the National Security Agency, which means both groups are giving you missions at the same time. It's up to you to pick which objective to tackle and that choice plays into how much each group trusts you.
After helping break Jamie Washington, the convict who ushered Fisher into the JBA, out of prison, Sam is brought to HQ, tested and introduced to the boss: Emile Dufraisne. Afterwards, the bald jerk-face hands Sam a gun and orders him to kill the news anchor that came packed with the chopper that Fisher and Washington high-jacked on their way out of the pen.
Simultaneously, you get two objectives -- JBA says to kill the on-air talent and the NSA orders you not to.