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Splinter Cell conviction – review

2011-06-15 by . 2 comments

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I’m not a Splinter-Cell fanatic who played all the prequels, but I loved playing Double agent with friends, mostly multi-player mode. By the way, recent games of Ubisoft had been quite interesting: Assassin’s Creed I & II for example. My friends dragged me into this new version of Splinter Cell last two weeks. Well then: I think it’s time to review it.

Plot

I don’t want to spoil too much, but the action begins in the streets of Valletta, Malta. You’re alone at a café and the waiter brings you a phone with BlueTooth earring: “Compliments of your caller” he said.

Well here my lack of history with splinter cell made me miss the caller’s identity, but from what I know now, casual player can’t miss it. Well from there, you are dragged into action, some guys are trying to kill you. Well I wasn’t expecting anything else. Let’s see what is it about.

It turns out quickly that you will be investigating your girl’s murder and deal with former colleagues of third echelon.

Mechanics

The first part of the chapter one is designed to be a tutorial for basic commands.

 

Tutorial example

We learn that we can :

  • Take cover and change from cover place to cover place
  • Make hand to hand actions that lead to gain an
  • Execution

It’s a bit confusing since you get interrupted by flashback sequence (am I in Max Payne?), where you are talking to your little girl as she is afraid of the dark. Another way to make you see the advantages the game gives you while in dark place.

It ends up with an interrogation. Funny thing, you can make it special: every position you take when interrogating makes Sam using different “techniques” of interrogation.

You will find other moves that are well-known in Splinter Cell franchise:

  • Death from above
  • Grab from ledge
  • Human Shield

I think this introduction is a good way to start and understand the new concept of “Mark and Execute”, the better you are prepared the better you are to succeed.

Let’s take a look to our inventory.

Weapons

There is a variety of weapon quite interesting. Organised in two categories: pistols and side-arm (usually machine guns, or shotguns). You are often provided with a default weapon but you can grab enemies one when you need it. I got a little bit disapointed since the pistols ammunitions are unlimited (Damn it! even in realistic mode? Yes…). I think it makes the game missing some good feature: why making side weapon amunition limited and not pistols one?

Five-Seven pistol (unmodified, you'll see how beautiful it is by playing the game)

Besides this, you will find some stashes at given points in the game. They let you choose your weapon (you unlock them when you find them) reload them and even upgrade them. The system of upgrade is based on points you can earn by achieving actions: killing people in some situation, using given item to vanish etc. They are called the P.E.C. Challenges.

Gadgets

You can also use some gadgets. It goes from fragmentation grenades, to EMP portable device not forgetting traditional like flash-bang grenades, sticky-camera, …

Advantages of some gadget could be non negligeable: for example, the sticky camera allows you to mark target using its visual! EMP are quite devastating and provides mean to stun, vanish and remain undetected.

Sticky camera

Multi-player

The multi-player is divided in different modes:

  • Co-op story mode: a good side story featuring the two multi-player characters: agents “Archer” and “Kestrel”.
  • Infiltration: you have to eliminate bad guys without getting noticed.
  • Last-man standing: where you’ll defend an EMP device from waves of enemies.
  • Hunter: elimination by all means necessary.
  • Face-off: where you compete with the other player to kill a maximum of enemies.

Kestrel and Archer

Co-0p story

I have appreciate this cooperative mode as much as the single player story. You have a really good playground to apply what you have learnt in the solo. Besides, being with a friend allow you to take coordinated actions like double-execution (yeah you can get up to 8 enemies in a row!).

If I had to form a regret, that would be a lack of “do it alone” scene. I wish there was some key moments where you have to separate from your partner to execute two actions. For example killing a generator to let your teamate enters a room and kill some guy, some kind of action that may require you to be apart for some long time and trust your partner will do the job flawlessly. At some point you have to wait for him to do some tricks like dual-door bashing or two-switch pushing to open door, but this could have been so much more.

Infiltration mode

From far the best mode in my opinion (beside story mode). You goes through the map of one chapter with the objective of killing 10 enemies. If you are detected: end of mission. Agenda: kill the lights, avoid cameras, eliminations, lasers and mines. I can sound easy, but it’s not. Hear a non-silenced gunfire and it’s over. Looking for laser with sonar vision? don’t forget cameras! (And vice-versa)

Last-man standing

Your objective is to defend a EMP device that enemies will try to shoot. Don’t worry it’s resistant. I never had to try again because it was destroyed. On the contrary you have to fight a lot of people in there and they always come from the bad side.

The downside of this mode is that you can’t prepare anything. If you retry with different positions, they will come from other areas. What the ****! At the end of each waves, you do not have even a refill!! But if you died, you take a new try for the current wave with full ammo! Com’on? Winning is not rewarded?

Hunter

If you get bored with infiltration cause you dislike (or can’t do) stealth… go for hunter mode. Same thing: 10 enemies. But if you make noise, or get detected: reinforcements arrive! Then you can unleash the fire of hell if you want to! Enjoy it!

Face-off

Well when I read this I though I was going to fight against the other player… but the description fooled me thinking it was not. But it is! I have been surprised by rumours being untrue. So the idea here is to kill a maximum of enemies. When you die, you respawn randomly on the map for some point cost. And if you see the other agent… well he is another kind of enemy!

Conclusions

Conviction is a good game. Scenario is very good and seems to fit in the splinter cell series. Multi-player is nicely done, but I was expecting more. For example being able to play on bigger maps with more player, real face-to-face like death-matches or team-death-matches or team infiltration : first to get in is winner. Also all is too linear, no side actions in the solo, no team splitting in the multi-player. Although you have good time trying to prepare your actions not like in other games where you just come and shoot.

It has to be credited to Ubisoft Montreal that their scenario are very complex and entertaining. I recently played Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and I am eager to discover the following chapter! Although this Splinter Cell game does not have the same impact as AC, it has it’s specificity. I was surprised to feel some kind of anguish at some point of the story and seeing what Sam is thinking sometimes drive you to a special state of emotion. In a word, in this game, you are Sam Fisher.

 

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  • lifeh2o says:

    There is a technical fault, when you put the mirror below a door to sneak the person behind it. You should see the inverted reflection.

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