Splinter Cell – Firewall review
Production company – BBC
As I had mentioned in my review of The System, I’ve been a fan of the Splinter Cell franchise for years. So much so, that the mere sight of three green lights conjures the high pitched whistle sound that actually became a trademark of Ubisoft. Therefore, an audio drama was a definite instant subscription for me. But despite my love of the games, any games in fact, I tend to avoid the associated works of fiction. I’ve never even read any of the Star Wars stuff. And I LOVE Star Wars.
So am I now a convert to the world of canon expanding fanfic, or has this proved my fears that I shouldn’t stray from “proper” works? Well read on and I’ll tell you.
So what’s it about?
The Splinter Cell games, and therefore this story, is set in the present day. It follows Sam Fisher, an operative for shady government agency Fourth Echelon. He’s like a cross between James Bond and Rambo. His life involves getting dropped behind enemy lines to carry out covert missions that the public side of the US government won’t want to admit to.
This story follows him as he tries to thwart the machinations of billionaire tech wunderkind Brody Teague. This is a job that would be much easier were it not for the recent recruitment of Fisher’s daughter Sarah to Fourth Echelon, unbeknownst to Sam.
They, and the other Fourth Echelon agents are in a desperate race against time to prevent a new weapon from getting into the wrong hands. As the story progresses, Sam and Sarah gain a new found respect for each other, and Sarah’s true talents as a Fourth Echelon agent start to shine.
Is it any good?
Honestly, this isn’t a podcast that will keep you gripped through its entire runtime, even if you’re a fan of Splinter Cell. I appreciate that calling fanfic of computer games cliché is punching down somewhat, but I was rather disappointed.
For the most part, the acting is good. The brilliant Will Poulter voices Brody Teague, and does a phenonemal James Woods impression (whether intentional or not). There is one Russian antagonist though, who’s accent seems to be more well traveled than a fourth echelon agent. It tends to slip from Russian to Spanish, to Italian and back in that space of a few paragraphs of dialogue.
The dialogue in general also seems to veer towards cliché, particularly as the tension cranks up, with the antagonists going all “I don’t expect you to talk Mr Bond, I expect you to die”. This can be fun now and again, but it does start to grate later on
Sound design is very good. It is a BBC production after all, and does its best to keep the tension high. This helps a lot during some of the more dubious moments of acting. It does occasionally intrude on the actual acting a bit too much. This is understandable due to some of the bleaker locations featured, but a few
The character of Sam Fisher is well realized as well. Voiced by the improbably named Adonis Anthony, he is perfect as the war weary curmudgeon that we all know and love. To be honest, if they hadn’t got him well cast, it wouldn’t be much of a splinter cell story would it?
Don’t get me wrong, this is a long way from the worst podcast I’ve ever had to endure. Overall it isn’t too bad. I think I may be being overly critical because I feel a bit let down. After mistakenly subscribing to a previous series thinking it was this one, I was already bristling slightly. By the time this story had concluded, It had not exceeded expectations at all.
I would recommend this to my son, I think he’d love it. If he had the patience to sit through a podcast.
You can listen to Splinter Cell: Firewall here
Or wherever you get your podcasts.