"Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent" 

Spy hard --- and somewhat frustratingly

Spy vs. spy

Amongst stealth-based action games --- often a hit-or-miss bunch --- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series has been a high watermark, combining just the right mix of stealth and action with cinematic flair. The latest game in the Splinter Cell series, Double Agent, is no exception, improving upon the formula while altering it in significant ways to create some completely new thrills.

In Splinter Cell: Double Agent, you assume the role of NSA counter-terrorism agent Sam Fisher once again, in his most dangerous assignment yet --- to become a double agent within a terrorist group and destroy it from within. To this end, you must balance the trust you have between the NSA and the terrorist group, completing missions for both sides. This leads to some harrowing moral decisions at certain points, which significantly add to the enjoyment of the game.

However, not all of these decisions have an impact; some decision points have the same result no matter what you do. Also, the enemies are sometimes plagued with inconsistent AI, as their ability to spot you can vary in extremes from just plain blind to having Superman-like x-ray vision.

Double Agent has a multiplayer mode, but it has been stripped down and simplified from the ones available in previous Splinter Cell games. While the new multiplayer is easy to pick up and play, even for newcomers, purists may be disappointed.

Still, the decision moments in single-player and the exciting new pace of the multiplayer mode make Double Agent a welcome addition to the series. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent is available for Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Game Cube, and PC, with PS3 and Wii versions coming soon. Double Agent is rated M for Mature.

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