Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is the latest entry in a franchise featuring surly NSA agent Sam Fisher. The series is notable for its use of stealth, lethal, and non-lethal attacks -- the players choose how violent their agent will act (the violent extremes are throat-cutting, sniper tactics, and throwing enemies to their death). Another moral aspect is a trust meter, which measures how your actions improve or undermine your relationships with the NSA and the terrorist John Brown's army.
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What's it about?
NSA agent Sam Fisher returns with TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: DOUBLE AGENT, another excellent entry into the long-running spy series that perfected the stealth genre. Players control Fisher, a veteran spy for the NSA's counter-terrorism unit. Fisher has a reputation for being able to put a stop to the most nefarious terrorist plots, but is prematurely recalled from a mission when his superiors learn his daughter has been killed. Bereft and self-destructive in the wake of this tragedy, Fisher takes on his most dangerous mission yet -- to infiltrate the ranks of the domestic terror organization called John Brown's Army.
Is it any good?
Fisher's double agent assignment gives this Splinter Cell entry ample opportunity to push the boundaries between upstanding law enforcement and excessive force. During one mission, players must choose between killing innocent bystanders and building trust with the terrorist leadership. Each choice changes the game a little bit -- and colors Fisher's methods as either reserved and upright or aggressive and extreme.
Some of Fisher's workaday tools may raise some parental eyebrows as well. While he uses a full arsenal of non-lethal weapons (tasers, rubber bullets, and choke holds to name a few), Fisher can always resort to throat-cutting, sniper tactics, and throwing enemies to their death. For all of its nuance, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent remains an adult game dealing with big issues.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of including explicit moral choices in gameplay. Do you like contemplating the results of your actions and the way they affect your character? Or is this a distraction from the shoot-'em-up fantasy and catharsis expected from video games? How does reflecting on the moral fiber of a video game protagonist change the way you feel about characters you control in other games?
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