Review by Kyo9
"Splinter Cell: Conviction is a great hybrid of stealth and action."
In Splinter Cell: Conviction, you reprise the role of Sam Fisher, an ex-Third Echelon special agent who is seeking answers for his daughter's death and double-crossing at the hands of his former employer. The game takes place after Splinter Cell: Double Agent, and asks the question does Sam finally get the closure he deserves or is he left dangling in the wind?
Throughout the game, you will be employing your skills as a former operative to find answers and to take down the people who are trying to take you down permanently. There is a selective cast of characters that come from previous games in the series who have taken on new roles in Sam's life. There are the typical seedy characters and some who appear unsavory at first. However, there are some old friends from previous games who assist Sam in his quest for answers.
The various environments and locales that you go to are very well done and the frame rate is steady and smooth. The game presents the story and objectives to complete in a unique way by projecting them on the sides of buildings as if through a film projector. There is certainly no ambiguity on where to go or what to do. The levels are detailed, and the character models are quite good as well.
The game mechanics of Splinter Cell: Conviction has been tweaked to accommodate a more modern style than its predecessors. One of the more stark differences is the use of interrogation. In Splinter Cell: Conviction, when Sam captures a person of interest, there is a segment where the player will be given a chance to interrogate that person to extract answers. I use the term loosely because it usually involves Sam smashing someone's head into a urinal or against a set of TVs. The only control the player has during these segments is to choose which place or object would provide the most brutality, which is what we are all looking for during an interrogation.
The gameplay itself has become more action-oriented while maintaining a stealthy approach. It is possible to gun your way through the game, but that is not encouraged. At Sam's disposal is large array of weapons ranging from pistols to machine guns. Included in the arsenal are gadgets, which contain the usual wares such as grenades, smoke bombs, and flash grenades. There are other devices such as portable EMPs, EMP grenades, and one of my favorites, the sticky camera. All weapons and gadgets are upgradeable using points accumulated from doing challenges, which will be explained later in the review. Outfits are also purchasable and upgradable for multiplayer.
The player can have one primary weapon, one secondary weapon, and two gadgets. Weapons can be upgraded in terms of firepower, ammo capacity, accuracy, and point accumulation for execution shots. The points to upgrade weapons are acquired by doing certain challenges throughout the game. For example, if you get a certain amount of headshots with a handgun, then you will receive points, which can be used to upgrade your gear.
An interesting gameplay mechanic is the use of a shadowy silhouette that appears when Sam is spotted by an enemy. When that silhouette appears, the player can use it to his advantage to go to a more appropriate hiding spot. The silhouette represents the player's last location as perceived by enemies, which adds a strategic layer to this game. It is very satisfying to escape the enemy's sight only to perform a takedown, which accumulates into points. These points can be used to mark enemies and perform execution shots that can take out multiple enemies. The amount of points that are available depends on the gun that you use. Pistols have the most points, while larger weapons like assault rifles, have a lower amount. Even if you do not have execution points, you can still mark enemies to keep track of their location. In that case, you can perform an execution shot when you do have the points to do so.
The A.I. in the game is quite good, but enemies can be a little brain dead. When you are caught, it may prove difficult to elude enemies until you find a ledge outside the window or a pipe to climb on. In addition, enemies will aggregate on you, and without the right firepower, the player may find it difficult to survive. It is best to go with a stealthy approach as you will accumulate points for execution kills, and it will keep the enemies guessing.
The multiplayer co-op campaign is the prologue to the main story where each player takes on the role of a splinter cell agent. The mechanics of the co-op campaign is similar to main game, but there are objectives that require both players to complete. It is well done and quite exhilarating because each player can share execution points to take out enemies cinematically and simultaneously.
Other multiplayer modes are also hunter, last stand, face off, and infiltration. Hunter is primarily eliminating a set amount of enemies with a friend. Last stand is a mode where you and your partner defend against waves of enemies to protect an EMP machine. Face off is the competitive aspect of the game where you go head to head with a human opponent trying to eliminate each other. Infiltration is completing the objectives, but you cannot be detected or the game is over.
I have enjoyed each multiplayer mode, and they are worth playing with a friend. It is best to have someone you can communicate with and trust as you and your partner will constantly watch each other's back.
Splinter Cell: Conviction is a great game that blends action and stealth. The single player campaign is very satisfying, and the multiplayer modes are great fun. If you are a Splinter Cell enthusiast, the game may not appeal to your stealthy sensibilities as the action is ramped up, but I think that you will still enjoy the game. For those who are not as familiar with Splinter Cell, the game does a great job of summarizing the story and is arguably the most accessible of the series. There are stealth elements for those who love to hide in the shadows, and there are action elements for those looking for a more visceral experience. Either way, Splinter Cell: Conviction is a solid game that is worth playing.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/22/11
Game Release: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (US, 04/13/10)
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