I love a good stealth game. Unfortunately, the Metal Gear Solid series hasn’t “done it” for me in a long time so, needless to say, I had very high hopes that Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction would quench my stealthy thirst. Let me just say this… I’m very satisfied.
It’s Like a Movie Based On A Good Book
The story is fantastic. Sam Fisher (probably one of the most hardcore game figures ever) has quit the spy game after his daughter’s death and has resigned from his agency, Third Echelon. Now, there is a conspiracy to assassinate and replace the US president which is somehow tied to the death of Sam’s daughter.
It’s Snappy Time!
Staying in dark areas is the key to the game. Sam likes it dark so you’re going to find yourself shooting out light bulbs and car headlights to create darkness. Once it’s dark you can then sneak up to bad guys at perform a variety of silent kills. Almost any situation can result in a creative, silent kill; my favorite is when you are hanging upside down or when you drop down onto an opponent.
Gunplay is standard 3PS controls. However, performing an up-close silent kill earns you a Mark and Execute. That means that you can then mark multiple enemies and take them out with your gun automatically. Although fun at first, it tends to be a little too easy. Mind you, this is not a shooter game; it’s a stealth game so this is forgivable. But still, one button kills two or three bad guys at a time; it’s like the game is playing itself. However, the game balances out by making it really easy for Sam to die if you are spotted. Enemies can take you out with just a few shots.
Kill Me! I’m Over Here!
I love the cross chatter between enemies, it gives them life. Enemies constantly talk to each other, insult each other and perform basic jobs that their bosses give them in accordance with the story. When they catch a glimpse of Sam, they yell out obscenities the rest of the time until you finally take them out. It gets a little annoying as the characters will often repeat themselves. In addition to supporting the plot, the constant chatter and yelling is there to help the player find enemies and find them you must because they never shut up.
Graphics and animation is good. Solid ambient animations make the cut-scenes look interesting and believable. Lots of great lighting and (surprisingly) a rich color palette. Well, at least when you are in the light it’s a nice color palette. The colors of the game tells you whether you are hidden in darkness or not. Grayscale means you are well hidden and full on color means you are out in the open. A nice focus-blur effect is shown when you use the Mark and Execute technique. Also, Conviction gets a little artistic by projecting current objectives and Sam Fisher’s past memories on the walls and structures around him as you progress through the game. That was my favorite feature at E3 last year and it’s still my favorite feature now.
Fun, Fun, Fun ‘Til Her Daddy Takes The Socom Away
Thank God for stealth games that are actually made for Western culture. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Metal Gear Solid series but everything about Conviction is much more relatable to Western gamers. Also, Conviction stands to be one of the best games of 2010; great story, great gameplay, and a co-op mode. The 360 version looks great but it is not even close to how it looks on PC. That’s not the game’s fault at all. The 360 is just starting to show it’s age. I would tolerate the insane DRM on the PC version of Conviction in order to enjoy the much richer and smoother looking visuals. Hopefully Ubisoft takes notes from SEGA by planning patches in the future to remove the DRM from their PC games.
Solid and understandable. Satisfying, yet a little too easy at times.
Great voice work. Engaging and often times humorous character chatter.
Art & Animation
The best characteristic of Conviction. Beautiful character models, very well done lighting. Materials and shaders really show through the models.