Gruff, tireless Agent Sam Fisher and his top-secret missions in all the Splinter Cell games have helped to popularize a style of play that blends a lot of sneaking around with quick, short doses of extreme force. Unfortunately for Nintendo fans, these games routinely lost most of their good qualities in translation to the GameCube--and, in spite of having a chance at a fresh start, Double Agent for the Wii does little to buck the bad trend. This version of Splinter Cell Double Agent features an unusual control scheme that's certainly different. But the graphics are disappointing, looking nowhere near as good as the Xbox version, though at least a little better than the PlayStation 2 version. Double Agent for the Wii is also missing those versions' competitive multiplayer mode. But it does include the same content apart from that, which happens to be different from the versions of Double Agent for the Xbox 360 and PC. At any rate, the Wii version isn't the best, or even the second- or third-best, version of the game available, and its control scheme is quite complicated in spite of the pick-up-and-play pretenses of the Wii Remote. However, there's a certain novelty and added level of challenge to the controls that may appeal to Splinter Cell fans.
Double Agent for the Wii doesn't look so hot, but its weird new control scheme has a few nice touches to it.
Other than the technical differences and missing features, Double Agent for the Wii is the same game as Double Agent on the PlayStation 2. You play as Sam Fisher as he tries to infiltrate a terrorist organization to find out what makes it tick, which is the same as on the Xbox 360 and PC. But the missions in the other versions of the game are completely different from the missions in the Xbox 360 and PC games. The story is told differently and somewhat better, but none of the gameplay changes in the Xbox 360 or PC versions are in here. This game holds over a lot of the good-looking animations from its predecessors, but there's not much nice to say about the graphics beyond that similarity. Noticeable seams mar the low-resolution textures in the environments, many characters don't move their lips when they speak, and even Sam Fisher himself doesn't look quite right. At least this version of Double Agent still sounds great, despite a lot of recycled sound effects from older games. Michael Ironside again provides Fisher his distinctive voice, plus many more lines of dialogue than in Double Agent's Xbox 360 and PC counterpart. The game has also got a musical score that epitomizes this type of spy thriller.
The Splinter Cell series has grown increasingly complicated to play over the years, what with all of the different moves and gadgets available to Agent Fisher at any given time. Double Agent for the Wii takes all of this and tries to cram it into the Wii Remote and Nunchuk attachment, resulting in a control scheme that's a hybrid of console-style gamepad controls and the mouse-and-keyboard controls featured in the PC version of the game. The Wii Remote is used for rotating the camera perspective in any direction around Sam Fisher, which is done by pointing the onscreen cursor toward the edges of the screen. You can also interact with the environment and fire your gun using the A and B buttons, while the D pad is used for your different vision modes, readying your weapon, and digging through your inventory. Meanwhile, the analog stick on the Nunchuk makes you move in different directions, and a quick flick of the attachment makes you jump or pull yourself up onto a ledge.
Provided you already have a feel for how Splinter Cell games work, getting used to this new control scheme doesn't take too long, though you'll also quickly spot some of its weaknesses. For one, when rotating the camera perspective, there's a fine line between pointing at the edges of the screen and pointing off the screen entirely. Natural attempts to make the view rotate faster by pointing further off to the side will simply cause your view to stop rotating altogether, which can be frustrating, especially if you get caught in a firefight. For another, aiming and shooting in this version of Double Agent is significantly tougher than in other versions of the game. Agent Fisher has always needed to stand perfectly still to be able to aim accurately, but now that aiming is controlled using the Wii Remote, you'll need a very steady hand to get him to stop moving and steady his own aim. So you'll wind up having to spend more time carefully lining up your shots using these controls than you would using a dual-analog gamepad or a mouse. This makes this version somewhat harder than its counterparts on other platforms, but not in a good way, since it shouldn't be so difficult for a seasoned soldier like Fisher to just point and shoot at somebody. The controls here are a case of "different" not necessarily being "better," and perhaps that's only to be expected considering the gameplay of the Splinter Cell series was not originally created with the Wii in mind.
Numerous two-player cooperative missions are available to give this game more lasting value.