Splinter Cell: Conviction
How the times have changed. It’s been a while since I took Sam Fisher out for a spin, back on the original XBox. It was all sneaking around and avoiding people back then. Now several sequels later, Sam Fisher is a little more violent. Kinda like Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond. Fisher now likes to use deadly force. A lot. He also carries a gun, can pick up weapons from his victims as well as ammo, meaning that you probably won’t run out of bullets. Not like the old Splinter Cell where you never seemed to carry a spare mag. Not that you can go in blind firing, because at it’s heart, Conviction is still a stealth game, and if your attract too much attention, reality soon hits home with the force of bullets ripping into your flesh.Â
I have to be honest however, Conviction is built on the unreal engine and I was initially a little disappointed with the graphics. This initial disappointment soon subsided when I started getting into the game. This was Splinter Cell redesigned to appeal to a broader range of people – a range of people who get frustrated at having to reply missions endlessly because they got spotted. My goodness, it is such an undescribably joy to be able to take out a guard with your silenced pistol from a long range rather than sit there and memorise his routine so you can sneak past him. If there are two guards it becomes a little tricky, but get the first one in the head and you should have plenty of time to put another in the second guard’s brain whilst he’s figuring out what just happened. If not, just empty your clip into him. You can always steal his gun if you run out of bullets.
Of course his gun won’t be silenced and as soon as you pick it up, you will be warned that it’s use will destroy your ability to be stealthy.
Another frustrating part of the original Splinter Cell was not really knowing where to go next – with Conviction there are plenty of visual clues – from the obvious ten foot tall messages projected onto the exterior walls to the more subtle visual clues and the way the levels are designed.
Sam still likes the dark, and in Conviction stealth is the difference between taking guards out one at a time and the ever real possibility of being overcome by guards rushing you en-mass. Conviction has a simple way of telling you if you’re hidden, by turning everything black and white. If everything is black and white you’re fine, if it all turns to colour be careful, but you’ll know if you’ve been spotted with less than subtle visual and audio clues. Another neat trick that helps the noob in us feel a little more like a ninja assassin is that Conviction leaves a faint white outline of where you were when the guards spotted you, giving you a location that you know they are headed to so you can plan your ninja style ambush with relative ease.
It’s not all sneaking around either. You get to play several flash-back scenes, one that sees you picking up an AK-47 in Iraq and going rogue as you chase down the Iraqi army who have kidnapped your teammate and friend. It’s like a fresh breeze after a few stealth missions to be able to run between the burnt out wrecks of cars and gun down enemy soldiers as you search for your friend.
All in all, Splinter Cell: Conviction has just enough of its original flavour, with the right amount of gun-play to keep your average gamer, whose been over saturated with first person shooters, very happy.
Add to the engaging single player campaign some XBox Live co-op play (that I’ve yet to try out) and you have a great all round package that is bound to ensure we see Sam Fisher again in the near future.
Reviewed on: XBox 360
Available on: XBox 360, PC