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Double the fun with free Double Agent DLC

Today, Splinter Cell: Double Agent came down with a case of free downloadable content syndrome and as everyone knows, the only cure for such sickness is for you to give it a download. The free downloadable content includes two new multiplayer maps (Kinshasa and Secret Base), four new challenges, and a new Spy Girl character with three different outfits. And did we mention these goodies are free?

Hopefully this new Double Agent content will satisfy Splinter Cell fans' appetite until the recently delayed Conviction releases in 2008. It'll be a long wait, but you'll survive.

Game saves unlock headgear in GRAW 2


With the release of GRAW 2 this week those quick purchasers over at VideoGame News unearthed a few unlockable headgear items. What's interesting about these pieces of headgear is that they are only unlockable if you've previously played other Tom Clancy games on your Xbox 360. To unlock them, GRAW 2 will search your hard drive for game saves of either Rainbow Six: Vegas or Splinter Cell: Double Agent and unlock the corresponding headgear. It's kind of an interesting way to unlock goodies, but forces players to either borrow the other games or purchase them. Marketing 101 for the win! So, what do you think about this interesting way of unlocking extra items? Is it innovative or just pure sales and marketing bologna?

Splinter Cell Double Agent getting the females

Fans and community members of the Splinter Cell series have been worried for a while about the upcoming content for Splinter Cell Double Agent. There has been a nasty rumor floating around that only the PS3 version of the game will include female multiplayer skins. Bummer right? But fret not, because that evil rumor has been debunked! On the Ubisoft forums Rhoulette, Ubisoft community manager, confirmed that the new female skins will indeed be available on the Xbox 360 version too. It'll come in the form of downloadable content, but they'll be available none the less. So stop worrying about the female skins and get back to playing, you know, the reason you bought the game.

[Thanks, j10jep2]

Splinter Cell: DA sneakily patched


What's with all the patches today? Another patch arrives today, this time for sneak master extraordinaire, Splinter Cell: Double Agent. The patch fixes several online bugs, including connection issues, lobby issues, and a few lag problems as well. There are a few other random fixes in there regarding scores and whatnot, too. We intimated before that we haven't had a chance to fire up Tom Clancy's latest, but we're going to go out on a limb and assume these fixes will be welcomed by Fisher fans.

Anyone gotten the patch yet? Are the problems really history?

[Thanks, Mark]

Double Agent single player sneaks to XBLM


For those of you who missed Splinter Cell: Double Agent -- or simply haven't had the time -- a single player demo is now available* on Xbox Live Marketplace (it looks like a College Hoops 2K7 demo is up as well).. I am loth to admit that I am one of those who have not played Double Agent at all. I think I had Enchanted Arms on my rental queue at the time (oh, if I had only known!). Still, if you haven't had a chance to play, or if you're just the kind of person who needs a demo to make purchasing decisions, now is your chance. The demo clocks in at about half a gig, so find something else to play while you're downloading. Here's a suggestion: just watch the Halo 3 ad over and over again until the download completes.

*As usual, we are informed that this content will be available for Silver members in about a week.

Double Agent patch is hiding


According to the official Splinter Cell: Double Agent website, a patch for the game was released yesterday, but we're receiving reports that it is not yet available. The patch was set to fix multiple issues with the game, including lag issues, connection issues, and a few miscellaneous issues. We aren't familiar with these issues (I still haven't played the game) but we can only assume the fixes would be welcome. In fact, reading through the fix list makes it look like there are quite a few problems with the lobby system.

Has anyone spotted the update yet, or is it still MIA?

[Thanks, Bountyhunterinc]

Spinter Cell: DA in 1080p: Your impressions

Right now, every 360 fanboy with a hopelessly old-fashioned 720p or 1080i max HDTV is wondering the same thing: What does Splinter Cell: Double Agent, supposedly the first Xbox 360 game to support 1080p, look like in glorious "True HD" (quotes added for sarcastic effect)? The 1080p debate is a rhetorical swamp filled with technical jargon, foggy "real world" benefits, arguments about performance trade-offs and general hype. Now that those of you with TVs capable of 1080p via component or VGA have gotten a look at the 360 in action post-Fall Update, what's your verdict? Is Splinter Cell really 1080p? Is the difference noticable? Is it worth the extra money you paid for your cutting edge HDTV? Please include the details of your set-up (TV model, screen size, inputs, etc.)?

Splinter Cell: Dynamic Advertising Agent


Concerned reader and avid Splinter Cell fan, Carlos Birdsong, shares some interesting info about Double Agent.

"I was playing SCDA with some friends as a Merc and I saw a spy run under a truck that had a Comcast ad on it. I was out of grenades and told one of my teammates to toss a grenade under the comcast truck, only he didn't see it. Why? He saw what was by default a Hong Kong truck instead of the Comcast truck.

While I think in game ads are cool when in context, I saw some Comcast signage as well, but this dynamic ad rendering can affect gameplay--subtle but interesting side effect."

Dynamic ad placement in games is starting to become commonplace, and situations like this could be an unfortunate byproduct. Have any of you experienced similar problems? Do you think dynamic ads should be removed from multiplayer games where positioning is important, or at least made so every player sees the same thing?

[Image via Mega64]

Double Agent plus 12 mos of XBL in Canada

Reader Forbiddon from Canada spotted a great deal for Sam Fisher fans in the Great White North. Buy a copy of Splinter Cell: Double Agent for $59.99 CA (already $10 off the regular Canadian price) and get 12 free months of Xbox Live. The Best Buy Canada site currently doesn't mention the XBL offer, so you'll have to take his word for it.

How to get Double Agent for $48


After doing the post about the Assassin's Creed collector's edition, we couldn't help but notice this little tidbit. It looks like Play-Asia is offering the region free version of Splinter Cell: Double Agent for a measly $44.90. Add $3.10 shipping and you've got your own copy for $48. That's $12 dollars of the retail price. Not bad at all. We've done a story or two on region free Xbox 360 games in the past. For the uninitiated, 360 games released in Asia are often region free. Not only that, but they are usually completely identical to their English counterparts, right down to the manual.

We haven't confirmed whether or not this is the case with Splinter Cell, but it's a fairly safe bet. Did anybody here get their copy from Play-Asia? For future reference, Play-Asia maintains a list of its region free 360 games. You might want to bookmark it if you enjoy saving money.

What are you playing: sneaky edition


It's time once again for that all important question, what are you playing? This week marks the release of Splinter Cell: Double Agent so, we imagine quite a few of you will be spending your weekend snapping necks and being all sneaky-like. Me, I've still got to wrap up Dead Rising, Lego Star Wars II is staring me in the face, and I have yet to crack into Enchanted Arms. And let's not forget that the Phantasy Star beta is still running. Oh, and that the Project 8 demo should hit today -- still not out as of this posting. On the Live Arcade front, there's Lumines and 3 more episodes of DOOM to clear up (on Ultra Violent difficulty, of course).

Put simply, there's just too damned much to play. How 'bout you? What will you be playing this weekend?

Metareview: Double Agent

Reviews for Splinter Cell: Double Agent are pouring in. The consensus, more of the same, but that's not a bad thing. Most reviews point to the subtle refinements of the series. So far, the streamlined multiplayer seems to be the most controversial aspect of the game. Most critics tend to think it's a step in the right direction, but all of them know that the hardcore SC fans won't like the changes.

  • IGN 90% - "Double Agent digs down into the very role of duality by giving gamers hard choices to make. Whether that means confronting the option of nuking innocents on a cruise ship or betraying Fisher's associates with a gunshot to the head, it's now possible."
  • 1UP 80% - "... the co-op missions are just gussied-up versus matches, and because the versus game doesn't have any variations in objectives (spies simply hack at computer terminals to retrieve files to return to the starting base) or modes, multiplayer may start to wear out more quickly than in previous editions.
  • Gamespot 85% - "Sam Fisher is the star of the Splinter Cell series, so it's odd that the multiplayer portions of these games, which he's in no way a part of, seem to be evolving much more rapidly than the solo campaigns. Double Agent's few keen twists on Splinter Cell's single-player gameplay don't result in a remarkably different experience from the previous games, though that doesn't mean it still isn't some of the best stealth action out there."

As of right now, the game has an average of 87% on Metacritic. Not bad. Has anyone picked it up yet?

Splinter Cell: To 1080p or not to p


Has the 1080p console era arrived sooner than expected, courtesy of Ubisoft? The above pic is screen cap from a debug copy of Splinter Cell: Double Agent for the Xbox 360 showing support for "true HD" (to use Sony's patronizing marketing terminology). GamePro says they received confirmation from Ubisoft that the retail version will indeed support 1080p. Elsewhere, 1up says their contact told them "No, it's 1080i" but admits things are pretty hectic at Ubi right now, so who knows? All acknowledge that 1080p support is useless without the necessary update Microsoft, expected some time in the near future (although GamePro theorizes that it could be included on the Double Agent disc). Even then, without an HDMI solution from MS, the much-hyped resolution would be possible only via the rare 1080p HDTV (Sharp?) that supports 1920x1080 via VGA input.

Meanwhile, back in standard-def-trying-in-vain-to-read-that -Dead-Rising-text land, the po' folk are snickering because their snooty 720p neighbors now have to go out and buy a new TV if they want to remain on the bleeding edge of the 360 community.

How many lucky bastards already have a 1080p HDTV and are just dying to put it to use? How many don't think they'll get a 1080p set for years?

Correction: As several readers have pointed out, only 1080p movies using the HD-DVD drive require HDMI. Games will work over both HDMI or VGA.

[Thanks Luke]

Multiplayer Double Agent demo

We were a little startled to see a Splinter Cell Double Agent demo on Live today. The demo showcases the multiplayer mode. We haven't gotten our hands on it -- hell, we just woke up -- but we'll rectify that soon enough. It's a little fishy though. First we have a PSU demo on a Friday, and now a Splinter Cell demo on a Saturday? And then there's the Live outage on Tuesday. We smell a conspiracy.

[Thanks, BigPerm ... I mean BigJerm]

What are you playing: use the Force edition


What did I spy when I got home on Wednesday, buried among a week's worth of useless coupons? My rental copy of LEGO Star Wars II, of course! So, naturally, I'll be digging into that posthaste. I've still got to finish Overtime Mode in Dead Rising, too. Not to mention I've only just finished the first episode of DOOM. And, come to think of it, I've still got a copy of Enchanted Arms that I haven't even touched yet. Now all the holiday games are starting to drop as well. Damn, how the hell are we supposed to fit all this stuff in?

But enough of my petty problems. The real question is -- as always -- what are you playing?

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