Friday, February 03, 2006

Ahhh...Sam Fisher

I am sure most of you know a man named Sam Fisher. He is a myth, a legend, and the star of the Splinter Cell franchise. As the highest-rated spy action series of all time, I thought it pretty cool to be invited to Shanghai, China with MTV to check out what's new in Sam's life.

Shanghai is a metropolis as you'd expect. There are lots of stores, lots of tall buildings, and lots of cars. Oh and did I mention the people? There were a sea of black heads where ever you turned. And not only that, but because I went during Chinese New Year, well, there were people out in full force to enjoy the festivities. When 1.4 billion people decide it's time to party in the new year, the world shutters.

Chinese New Year's eve was really crazy in China. First off, we went for a group dinner at a lovely place on the Bund. The Bund is an area in Shanghai known for its english architecture. It was the previous location of many embassys and consulates, but currently serves as storefront to many designers. After dinner with a staggering view of one part of Shanghai's skyline, the crew and I packed up our stuff and headed to a club to ring in the new year like foreigners! I say like foreigners because Chinese New Year's eve is a special time that one is supposed to spend with the family, therefore, the clubs were mainly empty, except for a bunch of ex-pats and people unable to catch a train home.

As the new year rang in, the crew and I headed outside to watch some fireworks and do some shooting. No one expected to walk out onto a small street in Shanghai and see the sky ablaze with fireworks, being pelted from the ground by firecrackers; and fearing for my skin, I patted off sparks falling from the sky. Ah my pyromaniac people. How I love the!

After my skin seared into a type of healing I wish never to remember, I went on to do work, then move inside where there were the group of young Chinese stranded in the city away from family and many ex-pats girated to way too much drum and bass. How, do you ask, do a bunch of young Chinese get stranded in the city when a holiday as important as Christmas hits a nation? Well, let's take a moment and do some calculations. China is full of people, over 1.4 billion to be exact. When 1.4 billion people make a move either by train, plane, or car to get 'home for the holidays', the world shutters - a lot. Therefore, a couple people got stuck with the heathen ex-pats and partied until they couldn't see the way too expensive bottle of vodka they paid for to show everyone that they're cool enough to have a bottle at the table.

So what can I tell you about Sam Fisher? Well, I can tell you that for this new version of Splinter Cell, Sam loses his gay-ass goggles. When he stripped his goggles off, he also seemed to have stripped off much of his clothing. Clad in a wife-beater and pants (I am sure there is a secret code that makes Sam tear his pants into shorts, and speak with a lisp), Sam heads into battle against gangs, misfits, and all-out tyranny! Yowzahs! And not only that, Sam gets down with a little lady. Wha, wha, wha-t? That's right! Enter Enrica! A woman who makes Sam think 'hey, maybe I should stop working towards gay sex with this wife-beater and keep my eyes on saving the world once again!

While walking through Ubisoft, I have to say I was allowed to see some amazing renderings of the game. I also saw an early version, and lemme tell you, my mouth dropped so far down, it hit my house back in the US. The reason why we went to Shanghai during Chinese New Year to see this game is because Splinter Cell: Double Agent is that there is a special level that replicates Shanghai to startling detail on the XBox 360 version. It's pretty awesome to see Sam rapelling down famous buildings in Shanghai while new Year's fireworks are going off - and that is ALL in the game! Wow.

Another thing that is different about SC: DA is that the game involves the player in the cinematics, and changes the name from 'cinematics' to 'In-Game Moments.' That means when the characters start talking to each other to forward the storyline, you're there, playing, choosing what Sam will do next, like when he farts in the game and someone smells it, does he blame it on the tied up prisoner or take the responsibility for it himself? What would YOU do?!

And that is what is great about this game. not only are the graphics and audio astonishing and surpass anything else I have seen, but the storyline and playability are staggering. This is a game to own. I may have to finally put myself on an XBox 360 waiting list (even though I promised I wouldn't buy one til most of the bugs were worked out) and get one just for this game's release come September.

Shanghai and Splinter Cell, I thank you.