Splinter Cell: Conviction

2011-05-26 14:34:31

Splinter Cell, was a series I was fully ready to write off. After the drastic shift in gameplay of Double Agent I felt that the game had lost the grounding it one had. gone were a lot of the gadget based gameplay, gone was the hardened body armor ninja suit. Spinter Cell used to be the closest you could come to mixing a ninja game with a shooting game, and I loved that mix.

So Double Agent did a lot to make me hate the new spin on Sam Fisher, but I have to say they redeemed themselves with Conviction, while the gameplay has shifted more along the Bourne Axis from Ninja to hiding in plain sight, it hasn't lost the feel of Splinter Cell. As the single player story progresses you gain more and more gadgets which you will remember shooting out of your SC3000 rifle attachment, now they are hand carried and deployed, so the camera, the remote mines, flash bangs, are all hand tossed, you don't even see the SC3000 until almost at the very end, not that I missed that gun, in Splinter Cell I've always been more of a fan of a quality Pistol, and this game gives you a lot of options along that thinking, there are 6 pistols, 2 machine pistols, 1 shotgun, 4 submachine guns and 4 assault rifles, and some fancy guns you can pay uPlay for the luxury of using. 

While I wasn't a heavily armored stealth ninja with 3 tiered vision modes I was a master of the darkness, sticking to shadows and when detected I could move to a stealthier spot, leaving a "last known location" body double shadow to let me know where the enemy is looking for me. This way I can be tactical about my decisions, make use of being found by flanking my last known position and cutting down my enemies.

Another new feature is the Mark and Execute, which a lot of the time feels a little lame to use, certainly makes things a lot easier than manually lining up a headshot, but you have to perform a physical beatdown/execution before it grants you a remote execute so it is balanced a bit so you won't always have it if you tend to rely more on marksmanship then stealth grabs and takedowns. the mark and execute gets better as you upgrade your weapons, allowing you to mark more targets at a time.  Once the targets are marked and the symbols for the marks are all red, you can just hit Y and Sam will expertly eliminate every single target you marked. they won't get a chance to alert anyone around them. 

So the gameplay in single player is a nice mix of the old sneak and stealth with Bourne like qualities, and there are additional missions you can play online, split screen with a buddy, or solo for more points and unlockables for the multiplayer game. Single player mode for these is called Deniable Ops, and you are a fully suited up ninja commando. So this game play is even closer to the original, Sadly the thermo and electro vision are gone, all of it combined into 1 too good to be true vision mode called ultrasound vision. Basically it is like bat vision except it can see through walls and shows human outlines and their guns with almost 100% accuracy if they are in range, and they will be highlighted against the background. This vision mode is useful for planning or if you know for sure you are in darkness, but it doesn't not reveal if you are in dark or light so you can't run in it all the time, plus it gets fuzzy as you move so it is a real pain in the ass to keep running.

All in all I say this Splinter Cell is fun, and belongs next to the original 3 previous to double-agent. If you're a splinter cell fan, suit up and enjoy.

Reason Result
Start 10
Brings back faith in the series with restored gameplay feel. +5
Story is high on the conspiracy theory side of crazy -2
AI uses thoughtful tactics when engaging a known high end assassin +3
Not as much stealth as the originals as it tries to capitalize on the Bourne style instead of its own. -5
Final 11/10

11/10, this game doesn't have many flaws and did a lot of good for the series. hopefully Ubisoft listens to the feedback on this game and continues to make Splinter Cell a quality competent game, and avoid producing another double agent turd.