To create your free account, please enter your email address and password below. Please ensure your email is correct as you will recieve a validation email before you can login.

Email:
Nickname:
Password:
Confirm Password:
Weekly newsletter:
Daily newsletter:

To log in to your account, please enter your email address and password below:

Email:
Password:
Forgot your password?

To reset your password, please enter your email address below and we will send you a link to reset it.

Email:
Submitted by Chris Leyton on April 14 2010 - 16:19

After a long and protracted development cycle it seems as though Ubisoft has lost track of who and what is Sam Fisher...

It seems that Sam Fisher did such a good job of slipping under the radar after the events of Double Agent that even Ubisoft lost track of the former Third Echelon agent. Four years after the original announcement (and 29 months after its intended release date) Fisher is finally back, albeit in a considerably different form than the French publisher had originally planned.

Still stricken with grief from the death of his daughter in Double Agent, Sam's no longer working for NSA's ultra-secretive subdivision having killed the former Third Echelon leader Irving Lambert.  The only thing left for Sam is to find the culprit and avenge her death, before presumably retiring from it all to sip tequila sunrises on a warm beach - all that crouching and sneaking plays havoc with the bones.

Plot has never been a strong element of the Splinter Cell series, it was usually merely a background to playing with cool gadgets and sneaking around in the shadows.  NSA, CIA, JBA, WMDs, NOC... at times Splinter Cell seems little more than a jumbled mess of government acronyms, double crosses, cyber terrorists and shadowy organisations.  And let's not forget the fact that Double Agent appeared in two different manifestations on the last and current generation, each offering a different portrayal of the same storyline.  To trace a coherent plot through the series is tougher than trying to complete the original game without making a single kill!  With Splinter Cell: Conviction there's a feeling that Ubisoft is attempting to put more emphasis on Fisher and the role of the story in general, but ultimately it's the same confusing mix of elements that fails to provide any attachment to the plot.  Tragically it's just hard to empathise with Fisher's plight. Perhaps it is time to put the old dog down.  

From the opening sequence in a crowded market, Conviction stands out as a highly stylish experience. Ubisoft Montreal demonstrates an understanding over camera movement that is distinguished, hard to fault, and helps to suck you into the game. Unfortunately after the short single player campaign is over the impression that this is a game that puts style over substance is hard to shake.  Ubisoft had earlier explained the way in which they wanted to move away from Splinter Cell's staple light/dark gameplay, fearing that waiting in the shadows didn't exactly make for stimulating gameplay.  As a result Conviction is a high octane experience all the way; an attempt to appeal to an action-obsessed audience that doesn't have the time or patience to wait around.

The events of Splinter Cell: Conviction are told in a flashback form by a character held at the customary shadowy, nondescript government building.  "The Sam Fisher you know is dead, America killed him,"  the character claims early on in the game.  A fitting metaphor for the fact that Conviction is quite unlike any Splinter Cell before it and representative of the fact that the series as a pure stealth experience appears to be over. After an experiment with giving Fisher an emo look and tasking him with crowd control that was deemed a little too close to Assassins Creed, Fisher's latest escapades appear to be heavily influenced by the likes of Jason Bourne (a backpack replaces the Third Echelon stealth suit) and a reinvented James Bond.  The result, an action driven experience that eschews many of the series' staple elements.

The game is largely geared around the Mark & Execute system, an area that for Splinter Cell purists at least could be the source of the most disappointment.  For starters it's a dynamic grounded in the realms of fantasy that completely pulls Conviction out of reality.  Each weapon has a varying number of Mark slots: the number of opponents that can be targeted for one shot executions.  In order to carry this out, however, Sam must firstly complete a melee kill.  This just seems odd.  Can you really imagine a stealth operative being given instructions to make sure he kills somebody in close combat before he can use the most effective technique at his disposal?

We can get over the implausibility of the system, but it's the fact that it ultimately feels a little cheap and tacky; a feature that is nothing more than a novelty broken by some pretty serious flaws.  Sam seems to have no problems eliminating opponents that have stepped behind the cover of solid concrete walls.  Equally the flow between a melee kill to gain the Mark & Execute token and actually carrying out the executions just isn't as cinematic and fluid as we originally saw when this version of Conviction was first unveiled.  Ultimately the one shot instant kill makes things a little too simple for our liking and completely removes any element of skill.  In order to facilitate the Mark & Execute system, it seems many of the stages have been scripted to allow for the technique.  You'll start a level and a guard will handily arrive on time for Sam to pull him over the ledge, providing him the ability to Mark & Execute the group up ahead of him.  Splinter Cell games have often been staged in such a manner, but it seems as though Conviction really does reduce any freedom to plan and execute a strategy.

Tied into this new concept is the Last Known Position, a ghostly apparition of Sam that highlights where he was when detected.  It's a device to aid the player, but in our opinion provides a little too much assistance and brings its own share of problems, but more on that later.  Conviction does however succeed with the cover system.  Sam snuggles up to objects and the environment effectively, moving between cover to cover with a streamlined setup that removes any ambiguity from the process.  It's one of the finest covering systems around and provides at least a semblance of stealth based gameplay.

Instead of the light/dark and sound gauges of previous Splinter Cell games, Conviction employs a visual trick that renders the game in black & white when Sam is concealed under the safety of darkness.  It's a concept that just doesn't sit well, as playing in the shadows is still a worthwhile exercise and for purists the only way to play the game - but do we really want to be playing a game in black & white?  People have spent hard earned cash on HD screens; the reward of playing Conviction at its most effective is black & white visuals!?  We're being slightly persnickety to be fair as it is a sound concept that probably works better than the gauges of older titles, but we can't help but feel Ubisoft Montreal could have created something a little more stylish and more befitting of this generation.
 
Gradually the Splinter Cell series has grown more accessible with each new title.  Let's not forget the frustrations of the first game in the series where simply leaving too many bodies in the open was enough to warrant a mission failure.  To this extent, Conviction abides by a rigid rule-set governing the AI, which can at times appear anything but intelligent, particularly compared to the hallowed patrol routines of Chaos Theory.  Because of this and the increased ability to take an action approach, Conviction fails to deliver the lulls in action that the series was originally famed for; criminally there's a complete lack of tension and suspense that should always be the dominant characteristics of the game.

The flip-side to this change is the fact that such rigidity to the rules allows players to know exactly where they are.  It's far less a trial-and-error experience than before, but in our opinion not really a pure stealth game any longer.

Features such as the Covering system and Last Known Position play up to this.  Provided Sam is in cover and moves to another using the system he'll safely pass by even if it's right next to an opponent.  Equally the Last Known Position system often creates dubious situations, such as moving slightly away from a detected position and watching on aghast as the opponents continue to pummel that position into submission despite the fact that you're standing only a few feet away.  Considering the adaptive AI epitomised by Chaos Theory (and good stealth games in general) these could be considered traits of a poor stealth title; we do, however, feel it's a wider symptom of Ubisoft's intent to make the game less frustrating, an ambition that has evolved the series since the start.

There's a sense that in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, i.e accessibility, Ubisoft has appealed to the lowest common denominator.  We enjoyed the Splinter Cell series for its complexity, but like Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six before it, such elements have been removed completely.  This is a point demonstrated by the relative lack of options and gadgets at Sam's disposal.  Without the support of Third Echelon, Sam has to make do with an array of guns and grenades.  The only fan favourite remaining is the Sticky Cam; gone are the airfoil rounds, sticky shockers, split jumps, sound meters and anything else deemed a little too complex.

The fact is, Splinter Cell: Conviction just really isn't a stealth game anymore.  I'll admit here to being a fan of the pure stealth genre and bemoan the current state of affairs. Kojima kick-started the trend, it's his fault.  In the continued absence of a new Hitman game, stealth fans have got to be hoping that Eidos Montreal won't be tempted to mess with the format too much for Thief 4 - the thought of Garrett as a last action hero is a chilling one.

Splinter Cell: Conviction - Multiplayer
 
A look at the multiplayer modes in Splinter Cell: Conviction...

Conviction's conclusion comes around surprisingly swiftly.  Fortunately the misgivings we have about the single-player are made up for in the game's co-op mode.  Offering a more traditional Splinter Cell experience, the co-op mode chronicles the events that lead up to the main campaign.  Taking on the role of Archer and Kestrel, both of which are infinitely more appealing than Conviction's Fisher, co-op offers exactly the experience we were left craving for after the single player.  Having two players even manages to expand upon the Mark & Execute technique, opening up the scope for more strategy with the ability for both players to target independently and act together in dual executions.  With five large stages, the co-op mode packs more content then we'd expected and really provides a strong, atmospheric experience that relies on co-operation.

Beyond the co-op, Conviction also offers a range of additional multiplayer game types in the shape of Hunter, Last Stand, and Face Off.  While Hunter and Face Off find you running through maps killing opponents co-operatively and competitively, Last Stand is a variation on Gears' Horde as you defend an EMP bomb against wave after wave of attacks.  Strangely we couldn't find the Infiltration mode which was demonstrated to us at a previous event, which presumably could appear as DLC later down the line.  The big question, however, is where is Mercs vs Spies?  Another staple element of the Splinter Cell series that is strangely missing from Conviction.

If you wish to link to this article, here's a permalink to this page:

  • Graphics: 77%
     
  • Sound: 88%
     
  • Gameplay: 78%
     
  • Originality: 82%
     
  • Longevity: 74%
     
Overall Score: 7/10
Despite our problems with Splinter Cell: Conviction it's by no means a poor game, provided you're not looking for an update to the format exemplified by Chaos Theory. It's a well produced action driven game that manages to entertain, but is likely to disappoint those expecting a pure stealth game.

TVG Store - Finding you the cheapest price for:

Splinter Cell Conviction

Comment

Sign Up and Post with a Profile

Join TVG for a free account, or sign in if you are already a member. You can still post anonymously.

Log in using Facebook

Respect Other Members

Please respect other users, post wisely and avoid flaming... Terms & Conditions

 

Pages:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • Next
User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 11th Dec 2010 00:05, Post No: 52

lol your pc was illegal you mean, there are no 8 core cpus unless you on about an intel i7 cpu (dual cpu's on a server motherboard) which is a quad and what ever imaginary cpu you had the most epencive parts on your pc and certainly any games rig would be clocked @ atleast 3.6ghz using either 2 or more graphics cards (for 3D you can only use nvidia cards 9800GT or higher) and more likly to use at least a 300/400 seriese nvidia card with at least 1gb or GDDR5 ram.

 

you can always spot a bull*****r they just make it so easy to spot, why wont they just come clean and say they bought a budget pc expecting it to be able to play every game especially when they fail to understand what shared memory means on the graphics card lol.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 09th Dec 2010 12:59, Post No: 51

No 3D support and it looks terrible in 3D so back to normal 2D I go. Stupid signs everywhere telling you where to look and go, seriously this game is designed for kids. My PC just rebuilt Unbelievably over the top and this game runs crap (not AMD or ATI). 8 cores at 3000 and a $600 nvidia card, total piece of junk glad I bought it off the black market, illegal copy because it just went in to the bin after about twenty minutes!!


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 08th Jul 2010 00:34, Post No: 50

Hahaha....this game is horrible....Playing through the final scene of the coop story and its so laughable that I dont even try and finish the it....I just kill MILLIONS of bad guys...seriously, you can literally kill a million people in this...theres an army of MILLIONS in the parking lot that just continue to storm the area as you masacre them...I guess the idea is that the game makers are trying to force to finish the game the way they want you to...which is contrary to splinter cell...its supposed to be a problem solving game not a linear shooter...but they force you to do stupid things in order to defeat their idiotic missions...like having to sneak past bullet proof badguys, infinity load auto guns that are electronic BUT are impervious to EMP....AK47 Pellet guns...thats right pellet guns...you can unload half a clip at point blank range and the bad guys will lerk a bit and then kill you with one shot....Having fired an AK and an MP5 I can say with certainty, this is the worst gun modelling Ive ever played...its actually hillarious that someone built this game and thought it was COOL...hahaha...terrible from start to finish...Id love to join this army...nothing like having unlimited bodies to storm warehouses and hangars...

Im going for the record....Im going to try and kill one million guys on the last level....just for fun.

 

Score: Zero out of A MILLION


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 03rd May 2010 13:45, Post No: 49

A good game, but [#@!?] for the name of Splinter Cell... Chaos Theory is still the king of SC games.


By: freeradical

Added:Thu 22nd Apr 2010 09:39, Post No: 48

@Post 46: Thanks for the heads-up. Infiltration wasn't anywhere to be seen in the review code we received, although it would make sense that Ubisoft is using the mode as a lure to snag sign-ups for U-Play I suppose.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Wed 21st Apr 2010 21:23, Post No: 47

What in the world is this reviewer talking about? Personnally the new presentation style is fresh, looks great, and is something new in what has become a repeat and reuse industry. Also, what difficulty setting did they play on? I'm a vetern of the previous Splinter Cells and I played conviction on realistic. Yes the game has a different pacing but in no why is mark and execute the easy button for the game. I faced many situations were mark and execute wasn't possible because I couldn't get a hand-to-hand take down without being detected by the hordes of AI trying to kill me. Besides what is the difference between mark and execute to take a few guys out versus sitting and the dark and picking guys off with a silenced weapon. Mark and execute just speeds up the process instead of going through the motions to get those 3 headshots. Any skilled player can get those headshots, why not speed things up. Like I said in many cases mark and execute wasn't possible. I give this game a 9 / 10. The pacing was good, the presentation was fresh, the graphics were good, co-op has plenty of options to keep you playing for sometime.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 19th Apr 2010 05:07, Post No: 46

Yo Infiltration is unlocked in UBI's weird U-Play thing you launch from the menu, just a heads up.


By: freeradical

Added:Fri 16th Apr 2010 09:46, Post No: 45

@44 Err, unclear. We were definitely told it would be in there at a preview event though. Perhaps Ubisoft has held the mode back for DLC purposes. The publisher has already stated that it intends to provide a lot of DLC for Conviction.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 15th Apr 2010 16:17, Post No: 44

Why did they remove Infiltration?


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 15th Apr 2010 12:13, Post No: 43

You wont like Conviction then


Pages:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • Next