Splinter Cell: Conviction Review

Now that I figured out a way to get around the stupid freezing issue plaguing the game, I have finally been able to beat level 1 and the rest of the game.

First, let me start off by saying that Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is a beautiful game, visually as well story-wise.  In the opening moments of the game you feel that the story is going to go one way, then about halfway through wrongs are righted, and at end there’s another twist.  Ubisoft really knows what they are doing when it comes to Splinter Cell games, and I hope there are more to come.  This installment of Splinter Cell is probably my favorite for many reasons, but do not think that I am wearing beer goggles and not seeing its faults.

Ubisoft found the perfect balance between a fast paced shooter and the slow moving stealth game of the previous Splinter Cell games, and this is never more evident than in both the gameplay and storyline aspects.  In the Sam Fisher main story, newcomers to the series are welcomed into the fray and are completely brought up to speed through the narrative and the memories that play across the background like an old film reel pretty early on.  I like the way they went about this, because the old dogs that have played all the previous installments do not have to sit through tons of exposition before getting to the new story and it overlaps with the current tale.  I really enjoyed the mission where you have to play as Sam’s best friend and rescue him from interrogation, mainly because you do not have any of Sam’s gadgets or his skills.

What I didn’t like was the length; I beat the main story in under seven hours.  The short story, however, is offset by the incredibly rich co-op story mode where you get to play an entirely different storyline across four missions.

What many people say are slimmed down stealth elements I say is a rich and nearly perfected stealth game.  You are not limited to the slow moving gameplay of others; the environment is yours to command.  With the new “Last Known Position” mechanic, if you’re spotted by an enemy your Last Known Position appears and you can proceed to another area to sneak around to attack them or just back up a couple of feet to get a head shot because they will still be focused on your “LKP”.  You have complete control over what to do in a situation from jumping over and sliding across objects, to what to climb on and what to take cover against.

My favorite new features has to be the “Mark and Execute” feature- this has saved my ass many times.  With this feature you are able to mark enemies for quick kills while hiding in the shadows, looking under a door, or while using the cool new sonar night vision goggles.  You still have the ability to traverse pipes and ledges, to hide out of sight, to perform quick kills and death-from-above attacks.  Also, interrogations are fantastic; grabbing a high value target and slamming their face into a paper shredder, or holding their face down on a hot stove- nothing gets you information quicker than inflicting pain.

Now, what I didn’t like was their decision to turn the screen black and white to inform you that you are hidden from the sight of the enemies instead of using a hud meter.  I understand they wanted to eliminate as much of the hud as possible, but by doing so you completely mute the beautiful lifelike scenery.  Also, the multi-player aspect is severely limited, but to be honest it always has been in this franchise.  I have never been a fan of the Splinter Cell multi-player games, so the co-op story mode more than makes up for it.

All in all the game is fantastic, and has high replay ability because of the fact that you can make different choices on how to approach enemies in the game, or different interrogation techniques.  I definitely give this game a 9 out of 10.