Review by Syko_666
"Sam Fisher is back, and he's very angry."
So I bought my copy of Splinter Cell: Conviction yesterday, and after putting in a few hours on it today I must say it's a fine game. I have never been a big Splinter Cell fan, mainly because the trial and error gameplay had me annoyed with the older games. But when I saw the gameplay trailers of this one I was very impressed with the changes they had made.
It seems that Ubisoft have taken a few notes from Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum, in Conviction you're no longer sneaking past guards, you're stalking them! As Sam Fisher is no longer working with Third Echelon he can approach his mission any way he wants. This allows the player a lot of freedom in the game, you can either go for an entirely stealthy approach or you can go in guns blazing. But the latter is a lot more difficult. Sam isn't bulletproof, if he takes enough shots it's game over. This game completely abandons the original concept for a more action-orientated experience. The amount of choice you have is amazing. If you sneak up close to an enemy and press B you can take them down with a vicious melee attack. You can climb up onto a pipe and drop down on an unsuspecting foe, you can even shoot a hanging object and have it drop down on multiple targets. The mark and execute system is a lovely addition also, if you mark a handful of enemies and press Y, Sam will automatically shoot them even if they are behind him. There is a catch though, you have to earn execute points with melee attacks and how many you have is limited to what kind of weapon you have. And speaking of weapons there is a nice selection, in previous games Sam was limited to a pistol and a rifle, but here you can pick and choose your weapons, they have pretty much everything, different types of pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, assault rifles, the whole bit. There are also a few new gadgets as well, the most useful is the EMP grenade, if you throw it, it will detonate and disarm any lights temporarily and later in the game you will get a portable EMP which is quicker and perfect for quick getaways. The goggles in this game are different this time around, instead of thermal and night vision, they are sonar, which is basically a type of mapping that is triggered by sound, this allows you to see enemies through walls, and is very useful for planning out your attack. The great thing about the gameplay is how dynamic it is. If you vanish after getting spotted a shadow of you will appear in your last known position the enemies will be looking for you there and it's very useful for ambushing them. Outside of the main campaign you also have the Deniable Ops mode which is basically a challenge mode, you can either play it online with a friend or you can play it solo offline. There is also a second campaign which is entirely co-op, predictably you can play it online, but you can also play it in splitscreen too. I can't comment on that since I haven't played co-op yet but from what I have heard it's pretty good.
The visuals in this game are pretty good, but also original, if you are concealed under darkness, the colour scheme changes to black and white, which is a lot better than the meters they had used in previous games. Character models are brilliant. Environments are detailed, there are a few problems with anti-aliasing but it isn't a big issue.
The score is also really good, especially during gameplay. The sound effects are good but you can expect that from games these days so it doesn't really affect the score this game will get. Voice acting is really good, veteran actor Michael Ironside is back as Sam Fisher and I can't praise him enough for his performance, the supporting cast also do very well but Ironside is the stand-out here.
The story is everything you would expect from a game like this. Sam is out for revenge for his daughter's death, but he is then dragged into a shady situation where he has to stop a conspiracy against the White House and there are quite a few twists here and there. Overall the story is great but a tad farfetched.
Overall Splinter Cell: Conviction is a well-crafted game, the changes that Ubisoft made were necessary and the Splinter Cell series has finally evolved into something accessible and fun. The series is going to gain new fans with this release.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/19/10
Game Release: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (EU, 04/16/10)
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