Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction released last week as the fifth Splinter Cell game. Where the previous Splinter Cell games were heavily stealth focused, Splinter Cell: Conviction brings a lot more action to the stealth genre. You are still rewarded, and even encouraged, to play with a stealth mindset, but the game’s pace is much faster and more forgiving.
Splinter Cell: Conviction focuses on former Third Echelon agent Sam Fisher. The game starts with Fisher retired because of the death of his daughter three years earlier. However, Fisher catches wind that his daughter’s death may not have been accidental like it was reported. Fisher, being a man of action, is determined to find out the truth in the way he knows how, by beating it out of people. This is how Splinter Cell: Conviction starts, but without giving away too much I was impressed with the twists and turns in Splinter Cell: Conviction‘s single player campaign. It kept moving at a good pace without being so fast that I was missing pieces of it. Because Fisher is angry about the death of his daughter there is no longer the option to knock out enemies. You either have to avoid them or eliminate them. This makes Splinter Cell: Conviction‘s campaign a lot darker than previous Splinter Cell games. Yet, it feels more realistic because the loss of a child would push a father to the rage and grief that Fisher displays.
I thoroughly enjoyed the structure of the missions in the Splinter Cell: Conviction campaign. The game flows from one level to the next without ever going to a level completion screen. While your goal in most levels is to clear the area of enemies or get to a specific target the variety of environments keeps it from ever getting repetitive. Levels go from indoor to outdoors, and there is a wide range in lighting and enemy density. This makes each area feel quite unique, and it keeps you constantly having to adapt your tactics to successfully complete each section. Graphically the game looks great even with a lot of dark, low light areas. The voice acting was especially good. It helps that Michael Ironside is the voice of Fisher because his deep voice makes Fisher seem even tougher.
Splinter Cell: Conviction adds a lot of new features that work nicely together. When you are concealed in the dark the game fades to black and white without losing any graphical detail. This makes it easy to tell if you can be spotted at your current location or not. Splinter Cell: Conviction replaces many of the cut scenes previous Splinter Cell games had with interrogations. Instead of just playing a video to give you the information for the next mission you actively control the Fisher through the interrogation to get the information you need. While there is not a lot of depth to these interrogations it is a lot better than just watching a video of the same event. Splinter Cell: Conviction also adds a ‘Last Known Location’ feature. Whenever you get spotted by an enemy and then go back into hiding a silhouette of the last place you were seen appears. This lets you know where enemies will be looking for you so you can flank around them. The other major feature that Splinter Cell: Conviction adds is ‘Mark & Execute’. After you take down an enemy in hand to hand combat you get the option to mark two or three enemies. Then, if these enemies are in range you can take them all out at once with head-shots. You then can’t execute again until you complete another hand to hand move. This allows you to perform actions like Fisher that you would not otherwise be able to due to the limitations of being within a game world. It also adds a lot of tactical options to your arsenal that increases the depth of the game play.
Overall the Splinter Cell: Conviction campaign is well worth playing through. However, don’t expect it to be once and done kind of thing. You will find yourself wanting to replay levels to try new tactics and challenges. So, while the campaign is not especially long it has more replay value than most single player campaigns.
Splinter Cell: Conviction, Ubisoft
Splinter Cell: Conviction, Xbox.com