If you follow PA you know that Robert and I played a lot of Splinter Cell multiplayer. The demo dropped this weekend for the new multiplayer portion of Double Agent and for me at least it’s a huge disappointment.
On the Merc side they have completely removed your ability to alter or manage your environment. For me the thrill of playing as a Merc was setting up my defenses. Trying to anticipate the spy’s moves and then laying out my inventory of mines and motion sensors. One of the best feelings in that game was hearing a mine explode and know that you got one. Or hearing a motion sensor trip and knowing exactly where the spy was coming from. Laying traps for spies was what made being a merc fun.
As if removing your ability to protect the level wasn’t bad enough they also removed all the built in cameras. It used to be that the spys had to deal not only with a merc’s improvised defenses but also a network of built in motion alarms and cameras. As a merc it made you feel like the level was actually your ally. Without the strategy of learning to read the level’s built in defenses or placing your own, the merc side of the game devolves into a generic Halo style FPS. There’s no tactical element beyond the basic hide and go seek stuff that’s always been there.
Oddly enough breaking the merc side has also broken the spy side. It used to be that the spy had to navigate the map without being detected or blown to shit. It wasn’t just spy vs. merc it was spy vs. the level and the fucking merc. You had no idea how the merc might have laid out their defenses so you really had to sneak. Every game was different and exciting. The feeling of creeping through a level slowly disabling a mercs traps and then hacking the system without ever giving away your position was incredible. That was the thrill of being a spy. Now it’s just don’t get seen by the guy with the gun.
They’ve dumbed the game down in an effort, I assume to appeal to a wider audience. They want those FPS twitch kiddies and they want them bad. My feeling is that they’ve missed the mark though. They’ve dumbed it down to a point where the people like me that used to enjoy it don’t anymore but it’s still too strange for the Halo 2 crowd. The first time MaZteRCH33pH jumps into a game and sees some fucking ninja with no gun snap his neck he’s done.
There’s some neat stuff in the game. It’s not a complete waste. It’s just that they are not additions to the game I already liked. If things like the ability to hack from a distance or escape moves had simply been in addition to everything I already liked I’d be one happy camper. Instead they created a completely different game. You can like this game, that’s fine. But it really is a new game. This isn’t Splinter Cell multiplayer, this is Halo hide and seek.