Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent Updated Hands-On

We drop back into the sweltering heat of Kinshasa, Africa, to survey the latest version of the popular stealth action series. New video and screens inside.

by

The sun is shining in Kinshasa, but this is not a happy place, at least not in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent. In spite of the hullabaloo happening this week at the Tokyo Game Show, we got ourselves a work-in-progress Xbox 360 build of the next game in the excellent stealth action series and made a beeline for the level we last played at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. As the name implies, Double Agent deviates from its predecessors by forcing secret agent Sam Fisher to infiltrate a terrorist organization while still accomplishing objectives for his highly classified American agency. The result should be a careful balancing act all the way to the end.

While Double Agent will be hitting multiple platforms just like previous Splinter Cell games, we were most interested in the Xbox 360 version since it marks the first major graphical update the series has received since its inception. Back in 2002 when the first Splinter Cell hit the Xbox, it was one of the most visually stunning games to hit the system up to that point. In turn, Double Agent boasts some very impressive visuals, although we've seen a number of fantastic-looking Xbox 360 games, including Ubisoft's own Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, which set a very high bar. Even so, there's some remarkable detail present in the Kinshasa level, which--in stark contrast to what you'd expect from a Splinter Cell level--takes place in broad daylight. You can just about feel the scorching-hot sun, as the sky looks almost blindingly bright, and Fisher can be seen perspiring even in his dressed-down outfit consisting of a T-shirt and camo pants. He doesn't have his night-vision gear for this assignment, but he does have a fresh pair of shades, which you can flip up and down to tint the screen darker if you want--nice touch.

We're guessing Sam Fisher's vacation photos look a little something like this.

The graphics stand out for sure, but we were also struck by the game's musical score. The bongo drum beats fit the setting of this particular stage really well, and we noticed a much smoother transition between sneaking music and action music than in previous Splinter Cell games for those cases when we got noticed by enemy patrols. Sound effects in general seem consistent with what you'd expect from previous Splinter Cell games, and some of the effects are taken straight from the earlier installments. However, it's great to hear the new music as well as the native speech of the enemy guards swarming this level.

Kinshasa is an action-packed level rife with gunplay, if that's how you want to swing it. We did, so we didn't even get a chance to sneak up behind anybody, since taking aim with Sam's trusty SC-20K multipurpose assault rifle is just so much easier than all that pesky sneaking around. Still, the rifle's limited view distance even when looking down its magnifying scope means that it's necessary to maneuver through these African streets very carefully, because armed militants nearby are just itching to take out any interlopers. Despite all that sunshine, it's still possible to find places to hide, such as in the shade, behind the rubble of a ruined building, or even under a truck.

Why sneak when you can shoot? Splinter Cell Double Agent looks to provide even more choice than its predecessors.

We noticed some new moves and animations on display, as well as some smart use of cover by the enemy forces, but we mostly depended on our only slightly rusty Splinter Cell skills that had gotten us through all of Fisher's previous assignments and up to this one. However, the need to fulfill objectives both for the National Security Agency and for the terrorist group simply called John Brown's Army adds an interesting wrinkle to the proceedings. You'll be getting multiple, possibly conflicting, orders and will need to make snap judgments to make sure you're able to accomplish your big-picture objectives.

Nowhere is this more starkly apparent in the Kinshasa mission than toward the end, once Sam Fisher is ordered to climb up a radio tower, where he finds a sniper rifle waiting for him while his would-be victim is nearby, about to come to blows with an opponent. Under orders from a JBA contact, Fisher may take the shot that would kill one Hisham Hamza, who's a CIA operative who has blown his cover. But Fisher's commander, Lambert, quickly orders Fisher to do no such thing, as Hamza is a treasure trove of information--he must be spared and, more importantly, saved.

Kinshasa is occupied by a powerful military force, which spells serious trouble for Fisher.

Most games anything like Splinter Cell put you on a linear course that forces you to do the right thing. In Double Agent, moments like this will play out according to the actions you take. Here's what really happened as we were playing: Trusting Lambert's wisdom, we lined up a shot that would take out the man assaulting Hamza as the two fought each other. However, as we pulled the trigger, the two spun around, and Hamza took a bullet in the head. Fisher's JBA contact approved of this greatly, while Lambert expressed his deep dismay as only he can. Life goes on, albeit not for Hamza in this case.

Certainly these branching moments in the gameplay and the storyline promise to be some of the most compelling parts of Double Agent, but the game retains the slick shooting and sneaking action of its predecessors as well, not to mention a unique multiplayer mode. We'll be back next week to take you through another sequence from Splinter Cell Double Agent, but for now, feast your eyes on some impressive new screens and gameplay videos, bearing in mind that the game is still a work in progress.

Discussion

60 comments
gintheplacetobe
gintheplacetobe

Riantomeister wrote: "Damn I really need this one. The grafichs, sam fischer, the choises u make this is one of the games i waitet for." Damn you really need to go back to school.

Riantomeister
Riantomeister

Damn I really need this one. The grafichs, sam fischer, the choises u make this is one of the games i waitet for.

grave_rob
grave_rob

stoked. this game will surpass the hype

JobberGobber
JobberGobber

wow.. i didn't realise how close this game was to coming out.. i'd better start polishing up my splinter cell skills.

cloud0830
cloud0830

Yeah it makes me all tingly inside i am defiantly hetting this game i love it..............a must have!!!!

ElToRo_14
ElToRo_14

Double Agent is going to be the first game i'm going to buy ever since i got my 360 back in April (got Oblivion and G.R.A.W)...most games out now for the 360 are meant to be rented but splinter cell....is a must have.

slim_jim7007
slim_jim7007

Sweet...overall gameplay looks better and funner and a lot tougher!. these mercs look pretty damn tough....but i think it needs xbox live(unless im mistaken and it does) I mean stealth killin other ppl online would b all the sweeter.

HiResDes
HiResDes

yeah with a greater emphasis on freedom, I think Splinter Cell will become much more complete game. I use to hate having to restart a mission because I wasn't stealthy enough, or I killed someone that I was suppose to have had just captured. The series needs something fresh, the open the gameplay the greater SC will be in my opinion

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

Splinter cell is the only realistic stealth action game. Especially when in this years TGS, kojima made it clear that u can use stealth or gunz blazn if u like.

tbolt_88
tbolt_88

This game sounds awesome...i cant wait to play SC:DA

rgtxxx
rgtxxx

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO another UBISOFT game with screen tearing. My 360 deserves better.

j2johnson
j2johnson

I think I'm mostly excited about SCDA's non-linear element... no more pre-determined paths (I hope)!!! Remember the old PC game "Deus Ex" with all of its big-open-'go anywhere you want to'-maps, and its oposing objectives? I totally F'ing LOVED that game, even though it's like a hundred years old now, by comparison. Man, I still go back and play SC-1, 2, & 3 now on my Xbox 360. And judging by how happy I am to replay all 3 SC installments still to this day, I guess I can expect to be happy replaying SC Double Agent for at least 20 years or so. October 17th can't possibly get here fast enough!!! I feel like a little kid again waiting for X-mas morning.

adiham
adiham

I want the demo now..

hotlavaman
hotlavaman

the main character kills himself! what kind of game is that?? thats why SC is a better game.

neilyoooo2
neilyoooo2

duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i poooped in my panties

the_sharko
the_sharko

Ubi seem to be focusing on the Story aspect more this time round. Not suprising, considering they've nailed the gameplay perfectly by now, they've got more time to put into it. It could very well be GOTY for next year.

axes03
axes03

did u guys notice this game looks a bit like gears of war. maybe its the unreal engine3....

Metamorphos1s
Metamorphos1s

people, just enjoy both games as both of them are superbly fun. SC is more realistic and the online is just awsome while MGS story and style is ridiculously original and well done.

gun213
gun213

OK..OK..Lets not confuse Crap with Gold...MGS is still at the top in stealth action..

josh_b
josh_b

why does everyone compare this game to MGS.... even if you do... SplinterCell simply does the Stealth genre better. MGS is more of a Action game with some stealth elements. both are completely different games with Splinter Cell being more realistic and dealing with real world issues.. MGS is about Giant robots and super humans and has some supernatural elements... being Mantis and the Vampire from the second game and the dead guy from the last game. storywise the MGS series has always been awesome... but gameplay wise Splinter Cell takes the cake.

_Sam_
_Sam_

it's looking good so far

axes03
axes03

MGS WHO?!!!!!!!! FISHERS BACK TO KICK @$$!!!!!!!!!

WakkaWakka55
WakkaWakka55

Its already been stated that the next Splinter Cell is going to the Ps3. Ubisoft wouldve been glad tio bring DA to the PS3 but they didnt get the necessary resources in on time. Anyways this game is going to be great cant wait for it 8)

Sheiko
Sheiko

Probably The best game ever for this sort of genre. Might aswell get a Xbox360 just for this game.

Benshki
Benshki

MGS4? Cram MGS4 up your fanboy a$$ =)

sjustememe
sjustememe

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

supersohail
supersohail

This game is going to be a hit on 360 i know!

324GaMeR324
324GaMeR324

PS3 will not be getting a DA. Ubi has always favoured X360 for some reason but thankfully I'm getting a X360. Game of the year?!

darthkyle121
darthkyle121

this will be the next game i get for the 360....asumming i dont use that money for the wii...wii60 ftw

Spartan1017
Spartan1017

i really can't wait for this game. i 'm gonna get the xbox version when it come out and the 360 special edition when i get a 360. the graphics look so amazing for da. one of my favorite things is the scar on the back of fisher's head, it adds a lot of realism, i dunno, it just cool.

mark_unix
mark_unix

it's not because it's on the xbox360 because it's also on the PS3, but this doesn't look all that better then allot of PC games. still looks like a previous generation game.

ortan13
ortan13

Awesome and the new videos are WICKED AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

marolia
marolia

this game is gonna be awesome

gun213
gun213

Hey, Tom Clancy...Try makin this one at least 4 hours long...I would really love to get my $ worth on this game...

joomen
joomen

i may actually play the single player for once instead of just the multiplayer

ztron370
ztron370

I have to say a few things about stealth games for a minute.I played Hitman:blood Money for the Xbox 360 and it was good but to do the moves were very hard.I just hope that the moves in Splinter Cell Double Agent aren't that hard to do because this is going to be my first time playing a splinter Cell game.

XtremePhsyco
XtremePhsyco

o man i want to play the demo so bad. i just read the OXM article on it, this game is definitely worth owning

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

This game looks fantastic! I'm glad they took the time to make it good.

fbi100
fbi100

KOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!@@!@!@!@#@$%$^&**(&()*)(_)+_:P

-Twilight-
-Twilight-

The closer the game gets to release, the more excitment builds up. This game looks like a real classic.

b_blakeney
b_blakeney

This sounds amazing. What happened to the demos, though? --B

gnieves
gnieves

Looks impresive. Tom Clamsys' games are gonna rule 2006.