Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: 4/27/2010
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The Good: Looks good, sounds good, mark and execute is awesome, cover system allows for quick execution, decent multiplayer
The Bad: The rushed feeling takes away the stealth surprise, patience and fast pace don’t mix, short, not really for fans of previous games, absurd DRM
Sam Fisher is back in a more action oriented Splinter Cell, and while this may be great for people who hated the series before fans will be let down. Splinter Cell is known for its stealth heavy game play that relies on shadows, trial and error, and patience. While Conviction still uses this it’s quicker and feels like Splinter Cell Lite and this isn’t really so bad.
The story is continued from the series, but only fans will really pick up on it. Sam is still trying to find his daughter after Third Echelon supposedly killed her. In the meantime, he is trying to stop a terrorist organization from setting off EMP bombs and killing the president.
To get to the meat of the game let’s talk about stealth. Yes, you can use shadows like in previous games, but instead of some sort of meter, the screen just turns gray when you are hidden. The game’s best feature is the new cover system which lets you jump to cover on the fly by pressing Space and aiming to a new place to hide. This can give you quick access to enemy positions, but this is a little broken. Some times there isn’t cover in the right spot and it’ll force you to use your gadgets and even use head shots. This can really kill certain parts of the game and make them very difficult especially when you have lots of enemies in the room. In previous games, you could just kill lights and sneak around in the dark, but Conviction confines you to cover. You can climb around thing and hang off pipes like before, but the game mainly forces you to use cover.
The best feature by far is the mark and execute system which lets you target certain enemies and Sam will quickly kill these guys with headshots without giving away your position. This is great when you have multiple enemies, but you can only get a mark and execute points if you stealth kill someone. This really forces you to sneak around cover and try and kill someone up close. Certain weapons have a different amount of points you can use as well. There is also an interrogation system here, but it’s not much other than pressing C and watching Sam bash up his targets. This could have been a lot more.
The game has a weapon upgrade system, but it’s really cheap and pretty pointless. You can upgrade handguns with more powerful ammo, or a reflex sight to upgrade accuracy, but there are only three upgrades per weapon, and you usually stick with the same weapon throughout the whole game so this is really wasted. You get some pretty neat gadgets such as the sticky camera which allows you a remote view of an area, make noise for distraction, and even blow it up. However, the noise distraction rarely works since enemies won’t walk over and check it out so it just feels like an irritating remote mine. You get your NV goggles late in the game, and they are the same as before, but you can see hidden lasers with it, but they just feel tacked on.
The multiplayer is what you would expect from a Splinter Cell game, but it uses the whole cover system thing, so it’s not as intense as previous games. There’s not much to talk about here, and I’m not really a multiplayer fan so if you like Splinter Cell multiplayer it’ll keep you busy for awhile.
Conviction just feels too light and has broken stealth elements that they shouldn’t have changed. Even when you do have to have a shoot out the other weapons feel useless since they can’t hit anything. The story is pretty decent, the game looks good (what you would expect from the UE3). Michael Ironside does an excellent job as Sam, but it feels like Splinter Cell was cored out, and just feels like a rush job. You still have to have patience in this game, but the elements and patience don’t really mix since this game is more like a Splinter Cell with action elements. Still, the game is worth a play through and you will have a lot of fun.