Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fisher is Back!

Game: Splinter Cell Conviction

System: Xbox 360

Release: April 2010

Sam Fisher is back and he is pissed. Some assholes have been fucking with his life and he won't stand for it. His daughter is dead, and he killed his best friend on a bupkus mission that failed to produce a mole in Third Echelon. Now after three years on the run Grimsdottir contacts Sam. She has information about his daughter's killer, and warns him of a hit squad out to get him. This starts a wild roller coaster ride filled with conspiracy, action, and lots of death.

Like most Tom Clancy games, Splinter Cell Conviction's presentation is top notch. Michael Ironside and friends did a great job with the voice acting. The plot is well done with plenty of twists and turns. The graphics are sweet, and the new projection tech used to illustrate objectives is the coolest HUD idea since Dead Space. Environments are detailed, and like previous Splinter Cell games Sam can take full advantage of pipes, ledges, shadows, cover, and whatever else is around. There are some frame rate issues, and a few progression stoppers, but these minor mishaps are few and far between.

The biggest change to the series is the gameplay. The old slow and steady pace has been speed up significantly. Traditional Splinter cell mechanics have bit the dust. There is no dead body management, hacking, or lock picking. Many of the old gadgets are gone, but the famous Sticky Camera remains. Everything has been streamlined and simplified. Melee strikes are a guaranteed kill that trigger the Execute ability. This allows the player to mark up to four enemies for a quick kill. This seems like an “I win” button, but in the midst of chaos marking targets is not easy.

All movement is quick paced and the animations are reminiscent of Assassins Creed. The cover system is the best I've ever seen. Pressing the left trigger will dash your character to the nearest cover. Holding the button will keep you under cover, and pressing A will dart you to the next spot. At any time you release the left trigger and tada you are away from cover. I never felt stuck to a wall, and that is a first. Interrogations have also seen an improvement. Click the video below. Sam makes water boarding look like a bad day at the beach.
Sam's adventure is just one piece of the delicious pie. The single player game takes five to six hours to complete. The co-op story is about the same length, and is a ton fun.The two game modes have interwoven plots that really create a well rounded universe. Other game modes include Hunter, Last Stand, Face Off, and Infiltration. Hunter and Infiltration are simple kill everyone missions. Last Stand is a survivor mode that forces players to protect a EMP from waves of enemies. Face Off pits spy vs. spy. Players have to rack up points to win. Killing NPC's grants one point, but killing the other human player rewards five. Dieing subtracts three. Whoever has the most points at the end of the round wins. With the exception of Face Off, each game mode can be played alone or with a friend. Ubisoft took a big risk rebooting the Splinter Cell series but it payed off. Stealth action has been born. The fast gameplay is fun and rewarding. The story, graphics, and hud are polished and entertaining. The various game modes provides hours of content, and co-op improves the replay value. The non-story based sections are also wide open for future DLC packs. Conviction is a new type of shooter that is a welcomed refreshing experience. Some veterans of the series will be turned off by all the changes, but the rest of us will enjoy a great video game. Snerts Snazzy Score grants Splinter Cell Conviction a 4.9 out of 5.

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