I really shouldn't be doing a review of this as Double Agent is almost certainly a game way-way too old for the majority of my reviewers. It was also one of the less regarded entries into the Splinter Cell series. It's, however, slated to be one of the Xbox 360 games which Ubisoft is going to be re-release as Backwards Compatible for Xbox One. My opinion? I wish they'd re-release the PS2 HD re-release of the first three games instead. But it's still pretty enjoyable. Warmed over Splinter Cell is still Splinter Cell. There's also a few really good elements.
The premise is Sam Fisher, operative of Third Echelon, is on a mission to sabotage a group of Russian terrorists when he receives word his daughter Sarah was killed by a car wreck. This story element has no further bearing on the plot and apparently exists just because it's apparently "uncool" for a manly badass to have a daughter. Clearly, the developers of this game never saw 24 with its psychotically interesting protagonist or played Joel in The Last of Us. Which, fair enough, The Last of Us is six years latter but come on!
|Good, bad, he's the guy you don't see coming.|
Ultimately, John Brown's Army just exists for the purposes of Sam Fisher to infiltrate it and eliminate the members. Strangely, despite the fact they're engaged in gross terrorist acts from the beginning, Sam goes along with several missions while they prepare to launch a devastating strike which will cripple the United States government. According to the developers, there was originally an option to join the JBA for real and it's a shame that wasn't included in the main game as I think the premise is a lot more interesting than it's really allowed to be.
|The Hong Kong mission is my favorite.|
The game contains, for the first time, a potential love interest for Sam Fisher in Enrica Villablanca. In the original (P2/Xbox) version of the game, Sam and she actually consider running away together while the second (Xbox360/PC) version of the game has him just playing her. It's really disappointing as the game seems almost pathologically afraid of showing Sam Fisher as possessed of human emotions when these qualities are what separates him from other generic action video game protagonists.
|Enric is perhaps the first love interest in Splinter Cell history.|
Michael Ironsides' performance is the heart of the Splinter Cell series and without him, it's just not the same. He doesn't have as much to work here as in Conviction, but he still manages to make Sam and intimidating yet likable figure. Don Jordon's Lambert is also an excellent performance and his character has a great send-off before his replacement in Conviction.
|Emile Dufrane is quietly menacing, albeit not exceptional.|
Still, the big appeal of Splinter Cell is and, hopefully, always will be the fact it is an unforgiving test of your stealth abilities. It's possible to simply murder your way through much of the game but this is less recommanded than simply avoiding conflict in the first place. There's not much interactivity in the game compared to later stealth games which would allow you to hide virtually anywhere (here, it's only under tables and desks) but it's still perfectly serviceable ten years later.
|Run away! Run away!|
Overall, I had a pretty good time playing it. It's not as good as the previous episodes of Sam Fisher's adventures or later ones like Conviction and Blacklist but it's still entertaining. I hope they'll re-release the game soon and it'd be awesome to compile this, Conviction, and Blacklist into a single game.