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Splinter Cell: Conviction is the longest in a long line of stealth games and part of the popular Tom Clancy franchise. Previous entires in the Splinter Cell series such as the recent Splinter Cell: Double Agent have largely been about silently moving your way past enemies towards a specified objective. Conviction really looks to change up that formula, the gameplay, setting and plot now all lead you to finding more direct routes. No longer do you need to be afraid of confrontation. As you will see in this review you have many tools in your arsenal with which to take down the enemy and reach your goal.
Graphics & Presentation 8/10
For a game realeased a few years ago Conviction looks great. Lighting is used to great effect as described below and as such provides gentle illumination where needed. Shadows move realistically with your character. The sparks that appears as you fire weapons look good and explosions are effective too. Environments are carefully crafted and contain some inspiring set pieces. The environments are specifically laid out so as to give you multiple pathways to follow, different ways of approaching the sam situation. Lots of detail is included.
The menu system is effective, although perhaps a little cumbersome. I sometimes found it difficule to find exactly what I was looking for, for example the screen to customise uniforms and purchase them is hidden away from the main menu and you could look for awhile to find it before succeeding. While in no way does this effect the overall experience, it is a little silly. A game of this time shouldn't have such flaws.
Cutscenes are distinctly average in this game. Very little CGI is used. Preference instead is given to using in game graphics for cutscenes. While this does go some way towards providing a more seamless experience, I would really have liked to see some real CGI used in some of the more important moments of the game. I feel that this would have added something to the experience.
My biggest bugbear however is a couple of frame rate issues. I tend to expect just a little bit to much maybe but screen tearing and frame rate issues really bug me. They tended to occur when a fast moving object was moving or falling. A box held by a crane crashing on enemy heads for example. Certainly not game breaking - but annoying.
The sound quality is generally superb. Guns sound realistic, explosions are appropriately loud. In a game where stealth is so important you want silence done well. This is done su[erbly where music kicks in the moment your cover is blown or a firefight erupts. The music is forgettable, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Rather than being something all of its own it simply adds to the overall package to create a cohesive experience.
Voice acting in this game is done very well. Thinking back I cannot think of a single time where I felt the actual quality of the voice acting was poor.
This game really is good fun. Rather than getting frustrated at not being able to make it silently through an area the game generally allows you a lot of liberty in how you get things done. Want to sneak through an area carefully without alerting anyone? You can. Want to take everyone out with an assault rifle? You can. Want to work your way from enemy to enemy using non lethal takedowns? You can. There are certain areas where pre scripted events play out and restrict you to a certain type of play. Thankfully however these are few and far between.
The weapons in the game are all much of the same and a bit more variety would have been nice. The same with your gadgets. I won't say too much for risk of spoilers but I do feel like more variety in this way would have only added to the experience.
The game can be played in three different difficulties. I recommend playing on the Realistic setting for the best and most immersive experience. I didn't die very often on this setting but it certainly made me plan out my actions more carefully resulting in much more authentic play.
I won't say much here, except to say that it was predictable right the way through. I was nice seeing some old faces if you've played previous games and Sam is definitely painted more badass than he's ever been before. In general though this is your average terrorist story.
Lasting Appeal 9/10
The main games can be completed casually in 10 hours or so, but for the completionist this game has an awful lot to offer. A full co-op campaign that's very challenging on the Realistic setting. A variety of solo playing and split screen/live co-op single levels that focus on specific ways of playing. Weapons and uniforms to upgrade and a multitude of challenges to complete. Challenges to take out enemies in a certain fashion or escape a combat situation with a certain gadget or movement.
For the achievement hunter there's definitely a lot to do. Getting the full 1000G will take you a good 30 hours or so.
There is also some DLC for this game in the Insurgency pack. This expansion focuses on delivering more quality co-op action. Not having played this yet I cannot really comment much on it however anything that makes this game last a bit longer is good.
I recommend this game to anyone who wants a decent stealth game. There is a distinct lack of this genre in this generation of consoles and thankfully this entry gives a solid experience.
There is nothing more satisfying than taking out an entire squad of guards without a single one noticing, using only your hands as a weapon, and your stealth like wit as your guide!
Splinter Cell as a series is definately my favourite from the Clancy arsenal, and Conviction does not disappoint!
The single player can be short yes it you take a very rambo style approach to the game, however try to complete it in true Sam Fisher Style and secrecy and you shall be playing it for weeks on end getting everything spot on!
The AI is phenomenal. It is almost as if they learn from your moves and actions and play the levels over and over again and there will always be something different!
I always judge a games storyline based upon how long my fiancee can put up with me playing it before I am told to grow up and watch TV like adults... in this case it never happened. It is like watching a well scripted action thriller, with great visuals, twists and action sequences. Thinking of which I have no idea why there is not a Splinter Cell movie out yet.. Hurry up!!
So lets give those who don't know a basic rundown on whats going on..
The Splinter Cell series follows Sam Fisher, an agent for a large organisation who is sent to perform covert missions all over the globe. From Naval Destroyers to Japanese Mansions we have been there as Fisher, and this game gives us many many more to rummage through!
The use of darkness as a weapon is very well implemented in this game, and portrayed using colour screen for daylight but once under the cover of darkness you get a black and white image.. This is very good for keeping an eye on things when you are in the dark, and knowing if you are in cover.
At points during the game you will pass through checkpoints where you can refill your ammo, as well as buy new guns and upgrades using points you collect by performing stealth exercises. This I think is good to keep everyone on the straight and narrow! "You can't have the good guns until you are effective without them!"
Multiplayer is great on this game. They have toyed with the multiplayer aspects of the series in previous Splinter Cell titles but this time it is just fun.. There is an entirely different multiplayer storyline that you can play through giving you effectively 2 games for the price of one..
Graphics are stunning, although some areas you are not entering could look a little better.
All in all this is probably my second most played game on the shelf (second to Fifa 11), and definately the one that has wrapped up the most online time..
If you like shooting games, 3rd person with lots of strategy, dont think about it, just buy it!
Splinter Cell: Conviction is a mostly great entry into the ellusive series, and one which delivers some very different thrills from what fans might expect. It's still action-packed and suspenseful, not to mention hugely impressive from a visual perspective, and well worth checking out, even though the single player is dispiritingly short.
The nature of the story is very mysterious, with things unfolding in an odd but well-delivered manner, where the timeline darts back and forth like a cinematic espionage thriller. Indeed, the single-player offering is as robust and well-crafted as ever, although sadly it is VERY short, lasting in at about 5-6 hours if you're lucky. The series has gone the MGS route here and opened up to allow either stealthy or action-based gameplay, making things easier but also less frustrating. One really nifty feature is how instructions on what to do next are plastered over the wall and surrounding environments; I've never seen anything quite like it.
Co-Op is what makes this worth a pop, though; you can play with buddies on a system link, or over Xbox Live. This adds an incredibly fun element where teamwork is paramount, and there are some plenty of very cool animations and stealth touches that weren't included in the single player offering. There's plenty of variety here in the Modes, and ultimately it's going to eat up far more of your time than the single-player.
Though some of the series purists might not enjoy some of the jarring changes made to the gameplay, Conviction is an efficient, exciting, and well-crafted spy thriller that's packed with action and suspense. The online offering adds a crafty new dimension to an already cracking series.
Splinter Cell Conviction
Stealth games are a bit of a conundrum. There can be immense satisfaction when you pull off the perfect kill and escape the crime scene unscathed, but there can also be immense frustration when you take a bullet to the head after being spotted. Splinter Cell Conviction, the fifth game in Ubisoft's Critically Acclaim Tom Clancy franchise, is trying to draw a line between accessible but still challenging for the hardcore as well as make unique attempts at eliminating any Heads-Up-Display. Does it succeed or will this be hung on the noose?
If you haven't played previous games, now might be a good time to catch up. Out of the game, Sam Fisher is cold with the death of his daughter and best friend, and is on the run from the Third Echelon, the organization he's worked for his whole life. But when Fisher receives hints that his daughter might be still alive, he gets back into his old self so he can find the truth about his daughter. While players not familiar with previous games will find this plot more confusing than anything, if you've stuck with the franchise then you're in for a rewarding, intense and at times flinching story experience. Its perfect use of cutscenes makes the story even more engaging, as well as top tier voicework.
Splinter Cell games have been some of the most infuriating Stealth games ever made, so it's surprising that Conviction is actually quite a breeze compared to those games. The main reason behind this is that getting caught doesn't have much consequence except for a couple of sequences where being detected means mission failure. If you're caught, you can usually gun your way out of the situation or even just run and the enemy bots just seem to give up, though they are much more alert if you tread back into their domain. Is it as challenging? No, but honestly it makes the experience much less frustrating than previous games.
There are also some new twists added in for good measure. The most visual of these is the Heads-up-display, which is almost non-existent. Aside from ammo and grenade counts, information like objectives are integrated seamlessly into the environment, meaning it makes for much less clutter. It's not quite as good as 2008's Dead Space, which had no HUD at all, but it's an admirable effort none the less. Another more devastating feature is the mark and execute feature. You can mark enemies by pressing the right bumper, and if you manage to kill an enemy with a melee kill, you gain a mark and execute. When you've marked your targets, a press of the Y button takes them out instantly. It's very handy for tough situations with multiple guards, but at the same time you can't just lean on it because you have to use hand-to-hand kills to gain the ability to do it.
The Campaign is entertaining because of its exciting story, but unfortunately it suffers from problems. For a lot of the campaign, you are left without gadgets and weapons. This includes the iconic Night Vision goggles which are absent until the very last levels. It's also noticeable how easy the campaign is, with the game holding your hand for many of the levels. It's more accessible for players who aren't familiar with Stealth games, but it feels numbed down at times. The campaign also is brief, clocking in at around six or so hours of gameplay. It's an explosive end to the franchise, but it's not as satisfying as it could have been with a brief length and a lack of challenge.
But Splinter Cell also features some great Co-op modes to bolster the campaign. Most striking of which is the co-op campaign. You take the role of either Kestrel or Archer, two agents from separate organizations working together to stop a global threat. It serves as a prequel to the events of the campaign, and has a twist you won't see coming. It's also a lot more challenging, because having to think about how two players can make it through the level makes it just that bit harder, coupled with seemingly more punishing A.I. and sparce checkpoints. If you thought the campaign was too easy, then co-op campaign is perfect for you.
The other co-op modes are more routine but just as fun. Hunter tasks you with making it through a level, killing enemies in your way. The problem is that if you are caught, double the enemies enter the level, making it a longer and more tiring affair, so using stealth is key. There's also last stand, a horde style mode which is shaken up with the inclusion of an EMP which you must protect, but sometimes protecting yourself is a big problem enough. There's also a free mode you can unlock from the Uplay Beta called Infiltration, where you must do the same as Hunter, but being spotted means Insta-fail. This is the most brutal mode by far. There's also a Face-Off mode which serves as the competitive element of Conviction. But they are only 2 on 2 games, meaning it gets old fast. The co-op modes are fantastic, even if Lag can sometimes get in the way. It's also worth noting you can play Hunter, Last Stand and Infiltration by yourself via the Deniable Ops mode.
In both campaign and co-op, you can complete special challenges. The challenges are divided into three sections. Mark and Execute are basically killing challenges like kill three enemies with one grenade, vanishing challenges which are the more stealthy tasks like using flashbangs to escape combat, and Splinter Cell, the elite challenges. One of the Splinter Cell challenges asks you to complete a level without firing your gun and without retrying, which is easier said than done. Completing challenges earns you not only achievements but also points. They can be a grind because most challenges have three levels to complete, but you earn points for each level.
Your points will spill into upgrading weapons. The weapon variety is a bit off here with several pistols, a few assault rifles and only one shotgun! There are no sniper rifles either, which is disappointing. Each weapon has three upgrades, which change depending on the weapon. Certain assault rifles can be silenced and other upgrades like more clips, reflex scopes and more all make upgrading worthwhile, and while you earn points for completing campaign levels, you must complete many challenges to upgrade every weapon. It's also worth being fashionable in Conviction, because you can upgrade your clothing with Armour, ammo and more gadget room. These can be very helpful in the co-op modes but upgrading really isn't that deep because there isn't much choice.
Splinter Cell Conviction looks awesome during gameplay. The lighting is excellent, the stealth animations and kills look great and the environments look awesome as you go from mansions to chemical factories to even the Washington Monument and Whitehouse. However, when the game zooms in on characters during cutscenes, things start to get ugly. It's very reminiscent of another recent Ubisoft game, Assassin's Creed 2-beautiful during gameplay, choppy during cutscenes. This isn't a technical issue, but one which may tick people off. Whenever you are in the shadows, the game takes a black and white hue. This means if you're playing the game perfectly, you'll be seeing a lot of black and white. Its personal preference however, it didn't bother me too much.
The sound is fantastic. The soundtrack is perfect because it never overwhelms the gameplay, but can add real tension because of how low key it is. The voice work is excellent; in particular, Michael Ironside as the gruff Sam Fisher who is just as grizzled as you could want him to be. There are some nice touches like how Guards taunt you with threats and sometimes they remind you what you did on your previous mission which gives a sense of cohesion to the game. The sound effects are piercing, with violent gunshots and brutal execution kills.
Is Splinter Cell Conviction good, bad or ugly?
Splinter Cell Conviction isn't the best Splinter Cell. There are several parts which stand out in Splinter Cell Conviction like its exciting story, fantastic co-op modes and a much more accessible approach, but this could turn off long-time fans who have mastered all the games. The campaign is also short, meaning if you don't have an Xbox Live connection and a buddy to play with via split-screen, you'll find Conviction to be a brief experience. If you have a penchant for Stealth games, however, and don't mind a less taxing ride than usually, Conviction is well worth a look.
Splinter Cell Conviction was released on April 16th, 2010 for Xbox 360 and April 30th on PC. It is rated 15+ for strong violence and language, and can be bought for £29.95 on Zavvi.com
Splinter Cell Conviction is the fifth in the series of what I like to call sneak em up games.
The plot continues from the previous game ( which Ive not played and didnt find it hurt my enjoyment of this game ) and could put a lot of Hollywood films to shame, it all basically boils down to you being after the guy that killed you kid and being dragged into some kind of conspiracy which I wont give away.
There are a few disappointments with the game, the stealth part of the game has been stripped to the bare bones compared to previous releases and the story is very short. The new mark and execute feature is very well done so you can target a few enemies or lightbulbs etc and kill/destroy them in a sort or priority system, this means you could queue up a few targets burst through a door and take them all out.
The game controls can be fiddly but after a bit of practise should become fine.
Graphics and Sound
I was quite surprised that the graphics look a bit dated. this isnt a total disaster and shouldnt ruin the game for anyone.
The music and sound effects are pretty good and add to the atmosphere . Your character is voiced again by Michael Ironside, an actor thats been in a huge amount of films such as Scanners, Top Gun and Starship Troopers.