Splinter Cell: Conviction Review

It’s your job to protect something so secret. There is only one problem though: one man is after you. This just isn’t any other regular man though, this is Sam Fisher. Yes, that crazy-well-trained-guy-who-will kick-your-ass Sam Fisher.  You know that he’s there, but you only know his last known position. Before you know it, he killed all 16 of your teammates. You turn around in a full 360 looking for him. At that moment, he comes from out the shadows and bangs your head against a barrel to get some information out of you. Once he gets what he wants, he kills you. It’s moments like this that will pull you into this game. You loved that little snippet, oh there is more to come. Enough of that, time to hop into the review.

There are games like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Halo 3 who takes something special and runs away with it. Ubisoft was able to do the same thing with Splinter Cell: Conviction. The development team created something that was not only fitting, but actually fun. Once you boot up the game, you are presented with dynamic main menu. You will also notice a ticket scrolling at the bottom of the screen. Most of the time, it’s advising you that you should visit www.splintercell.com/match. With that aside, you are able to choose story, Deniable Ops, and Co-Op. Other things include Extras, uPlay (Ubisoft’s way of replay ability), and settings. With the story are allowed to choose one of the difficult settings: easy, normal, or realistic. Those should sound self-explanatory, right?

Once you choose how you want to play the story, you are shown a brief history of the legendary Sam Fisher.  With this footage you are shown, you will be able to get a glimpse on how to play the game. You notice how Sam is able do little tricks to get to his next objective. If you are unfamiliar with Fisher, he is on the verge of finding the killing of his daughter. He used to work in a secret agency, but now he is by himself. With some help with his past friends, Sam will take down Washington, D.C. by himself. Past that nice little footage that was put together, you are presented with the man himself. You receive a call from Grim, an old friend in the franchise, telling you that you need to follow her instructions. There is a crowd in your area. You will have to be swiftly about what you do, though. Instead of subtitles coming up on the screen or a little arrow pointing to where you have to go, Ubisoft decided to go in a new direction. Once you reach a certain area, you will notice words projected on the objects you need to interactive with or something around that area. With this new type of gameplay, you will actually feel like you are Fisher when moving around in this massive environment.

So once you pick up your jaw about how amazing Ubisoft worked on this, you are on to your first objective. All you can do for now is be stealthy and sneak around. Now this is probably one of Ubisoft’s most useful techniques in a game. The cover system is practically the best thing. Instead of hoping you get to the right objective, you actually have a choice. Once you take cover, and you want to move to the next one, just look for the indicator. Once you pick where you want to move, hit the A button, and Fisher will slide or roll to that area.  Along with that you will be able to blend in with the shadows. You know you are blended once the screen turns black and white, and your targets are still in color. This will allow you to focus on how you want to take someone or a whole team out. If you really want to confuse the enemy, look for switches on the wall to turn off the lights. You can shoot out the lights to create more shadows. If you are not good with the gun, then taking someone down should be a breeze. There is only one condition, once you take someone down and you are in cover, you will be vulnerable. This shouldn’t be an issue if you are quick at what you do. However, if you are decent with a hand gun, taking headshots should be a breeze. It should be even easier once you modify your weapons. Probably the most useful technique use in the game, and the quickest way to take down enemies, is Mark and Execute. This feature is really something. To gain the attribute, you must first do a manual hand takedown. Once you have that, you will be given the ability to take down two to four targets at the same time. The way the developers have it set up, is manually selecting your targets, then hitting the Y button once the targets are in range. You will know they are able to be shot once you their indicator turns from gray to red.

While Sam Fisher may be the only detailed model in the game, the rest of the game is somewhat decent. Now there are sections in the game, for example the bathroom scene, where you can tell the details were dealt with care. Other sections in the game, and character models in the game, can easily be seen as out of place. This doesn’t make it a bad thing, but you can tell the artist took their time with Sam Fisher and certain environments. There shouldn’t be much to pull you out of the game though, because the action will continue drive you into the game.

If there was a question on how Splinter Cell’s gameplay is, there shouldn’t be any. With easy- to-grip controls, you will make your way through the game in no time. The real question is, whether or not you know how to use those controls efficiently. When you are faced in a certain situation, you will notice how dynamic the game can be.  A good example is when you interrogate someone and you move them around. Instead of doing the same animation, Fisher will perform a specific animation depending on where you are standing. So if you are next to a sink, most likely he will smash the guy’s head into the sink. Are you next to a table full of glass? Yeah, you get the idea. As I mentioned earlier, the cover system is probably the best in the business. With Mark and Execute to go alongside with it, it will make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Now, that the story is out of the way, time to hop into some online games. Splinter Cell is able to offer you a plethora of modes to choose from. An interesting case is Deniable Ops. You would think once you hop online with someone, you play with them, right? Wrong. In this mode you find a friend to go online with. Now there is a catch to this though. Even though you may help each other, you are still competing with each other. Once you have a game set up, you both will start at distant locations. The AI will come at you and you can take them out. Once you find the human player, you will have to take them out. The tricky part about this is that you are just like the AI, and only know their last known position. So if you are running circles, there is a reason for that. With each kill, you receive points. For every AI enemy you kill, you get one point. For every time you kill the human player, you will receive five points. There is a negative side to this though, if you die, either by the AI or human player, you lose three points. Plan your kills accordingly and use your environment to your fullest. There are two game types to this mode: Hunter and Last Stand. Basically Hunter is just going through the round trying to get the most points. Last Stand, on the other hand, is just like Gears of War’s Horde Mode. You will have to fight out waves of enemies, while an EMP generator is needed to be protected. So much for thinking this would be a piece of cake.

For those who just don’t have the heart to kill their friends, you have co-op modes that will make you happy. For starters you have four game modes that should satisfy you. The first is co-op story. This is similar to the campaign, but has its own spin and tale to it. Just like any other co-op story, you should drift another three hours in this. Just like in Deniable Ops, you have Hunter and Last Stand back. Instead of gaining points to shoot each other, you actually help each other out. You even get to dual-Mark and Execute. So if you have three marks, and your partner has three, then there are a total of six executions you can sure between you and your partner. Finally the last mode is Face Off, which consists of Last Stand tendencies, with a big boss at the end. If you don’t have any friends online, you could always invite a friend over and go split screen. With all these modes available to you, this game should stay in your machine for a very long time.

[review pros=”Great animations
Cover system is the best in any game
Mark and Execute is where it’s at” cons=”Some graphics isn’t that great
Dialog can get very repetitive” score=90]

When most people are complaining that the game is short, it really isn’t. If you take the time out to figure out the story, and analyze things and figure out new ways to kill, it shouldn’t fly by. Now if you are the type to rush, then you can complete this game in about five to six hours. If you are the person to take your time, then you will manage to get seven to eight, maybe even ten, hours out of the game. Either way, the story is amazing with plenty of twist and turns to it. There of stuff I left out, only reason is because once you find them, you will be amazed. Ubisoft really did a grand job, and with free downloadable content coming weekly, there shouldn’t be a reason to stay away from this game. If this is the Sam Fisher to be featured in other games, then please bring more of him.