Splinter Cell: Conviction

posted May 05, 2010 08:05:00 PM CDT | 5 comments

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Sam Fisher is back in Splinter Cell: Conviction, the latest addition to the ongoing Tom Clancy series by Ubisoft. But for those familiar with Sam, things are a little different this time, as Sam is seeking revenge for the death of his daughter, Sarah.  The spy extraordinaire who once emphasized stealth and the art of keeping himself unnoticed is now a killing machine whose anger vents with the release of every bullet that finds its mark.

Although Sam is a lot more aggressive this time and doesn’t mind resorting to leaving a few bodies behind, cover is still an important part of the game and is one of the first things Conviction introduces you to. In Conviction, you will be able to use your environment more effectively as your defense. Get close to any item in your environment and you’ll be able to get up close to it or crouch behind it to conceal yourself and get yourself a stealth kill which brings its own little perks. The first perk with getting a stealth kill is that there are several moves built into the game that pop up as stealth kills and just watching these can be pretty entertaining. Secondly, a stealth kill will give you one Mark and Execute maneuver.

Mark and Execute maneuvers are a new addition to the series and have received both positive and negative responses. Mark and Execute maneuvers allow you to select certain enemies, who are then marked with an X, and then once you hit the button all the marked enemies will be killed as long as they were red when selected. Now, many fear that this will make the game too easy and that if one just repeatedly used Mark and Execute that there wouldn’t be much left to the game. This, however, is not the case as Mark and Execute maneuvers are only available a single after you get a  single stealth kill and so once you use one up you must get another stealth kill to make use of Mark and Execute again.

What this essentially ends up doing is promotes the stealth aspect of the game while trying to develop a more aggressive aspect to it as well which works out well overall. Another factor that affects Mark and Execute is the weapon that you are currently using. Different weapons will allow you to mark a different number of enemies, with low powered weapons offering more enemies to be marked and high powered weapons offering less enemies to be marked, forcing you to at least develop a general sense of the strategy you will use as you proceed through the game.

Mark and Execute isn’t only the new addition to the game, however, as Last Known Position is another new feature which helps promote the stealth aspect of the game. As you make your way closer to achieving ultimate revenge, you will find that your level of stealth, or lack thereof, is indicated by color. Long gone are the various gauges, from earlier games in the series, which had to be deciphered to determine stealth. When you are spotted by an enemy in Conviction, the game enters a black and white mode and Last Known Position kicks in. Last Known Position shows a ghostly image of you that marks where the enemy believes you are. This allows you to make adjustments and sneak up on the enemy and catch him off guard. The color indicator is a welcome addition and lets you make appropriate adjustments according to your level of stealth but Last Known Position makes it too easy to catch some of your enemies off guard.

What these new additions, as well as others, do for the game overall is increase the pace of action. Conviction just progresses much more quickly than its predecessors and increases the excitement you feel as you go through the game. The faster pace also makes it more of a challenge to determine the right balance of stealth and aggression and allows you to develop your own unique style of play.

This quicker pace does seem to mean that most people will get through the single player campaign more quickly than expected. As you go through the game you will never come across a load screen and all loading occurs behind the cover of clever cutaway scenes.  While the single player may not eat up too much time, this is where the coop gameplay becomes an asset. Grab a friend and go split screen or online to enjoy coop gameplay in which the death of either partner means a mission failure, truly promoting the importance of the duo. The coop gameplay also really makes the Mark and Execute function even more fun to use and adds a unique aspect to the game.

Solid graphics and the delicate balance between stealth and aggression make Conviction a great game, better than any of the previous games in the series even. While Splinter Cell purists may be unhappy with Conviction and some of its new additions, these new game features may attract those who weren’t so entranced by the series before. All in all, this Xbox 360 exclusive is definitely a game giving a shot. The plot centered, anger injected Conviction, proves to be a good single person shooter as well as a great coop game.

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