Splinter Cell Convictions


21 April 2010 : Ruin :Game Review


Splinter Cell Conviction is of interest to Ghost Recon fans not purely because both titles share the same publisher in Ubisoft, but because Conviction might just give us an insight into some of the workings in Ghost Recon Future Soldier. While that possibility is investigated by Scott Mitchell in his blog, this report focuses on Splinter Cell Conviction on its own merits - so here we go!

First, this is a great game. It's a whole lot of fun and I really enjoyed playing it. It's not the Splinter Cell you're used to. It's still fairly linear, but your options in gadgetry and how to handle a situation is what allows for a more diverse game-play. Unlike the old SC games, with few exceptions, in Conviction you can choose to be all sleek and stealthy 3rd Echelon Sam Fisher, or you can be "You Killed My Daughter and Now You Will Pay!" Sam Fisher. The choice is yours. There's a great variety of weapons. Using one that is unsuppressed will unleash platoons of men bound and hell bent on your death and doom.


The controls are simple and easy to get used to. Sam can interact with his environment a bit more than in other games, and it is a bit more fool proof. You can peek under doors, bash them open (busting a baddy's head against a door you just kicked in on him is cool and highly amusing), or just open them. You can jump over things, climb things (pipes, walls etc), and you can blow things up. You interact with less electronics. No more hacking e-mails and learning security codes etc.


The hiding system (as I'll call it) is very much a pro and a con in the game. Since you're a rogue agent, you no longer have access to 3rd Echelon's high speed suits with light detectors etc. The way the game lets you know if you're hidden from enemies or not is by making everything black and white. If you view life in color, you're exposed. It's a simple and easy system with a catch. I'm the kind of player that loves to destroy lights. The shadows tend to be fairly obvious, but I like to plan my movement based on the shadows available or the ones that I have created. The problem I found was that I had a hard time determining how the lights that I blew out effected the lighting in the environment. My biggest, and really only, complaint with the game is the lack of night-vision.

Splinter Cell Conviction

Instead of night vision Sam gets Sonar goggles. These are super cool. Basically anything you can interact with in the environment (bad guys, dropped weapons, drone turrets, explosive tanks etc) glow white, like you would expect to see in some kind of FLIR style optic. These are very handy, except when trying to navigate in the dark. When moving they shake and make the screen go fuzzy and you can only really navigate the darkness with them for a little while. They're an interesting tool, but I do miss just plain old night vision.


The weapon selection is pretty cool. As an 360 gamer who has NEVER played online, and have only hooked up my 360 to XBox Live to redeem my code for the suppressed SPAS-12 in the game, I was kinda upset to see that some of the weapons are restricted either for online play, or Uplay registration (not sure which). There's a variety of suppressed and unsuppressed weapons. You can add suppressors to a select few in the "upgrades" section of the weapon stash.

Weapon upgrades are bought. You earn money, or points, or whatever, by completing game challenges (think R6:Vegas 2). The challenges are fun, most happen naturally, and they help you upgrade your equipment - even your gadgets and projectiles. Sticky Mines are great, you can throw them at someone's feet, undetected. I just wish you could do simultaneous detonations (have 2 or 3 go off at once). Bad guys tend to see and run from grenades, so they're harder to land in the right spot. Oh, and apparently Sam was a pitcher for the Yankees or some pro team. He can hurl grenades and the like for an eternity. I was trying to arc a grenade and only ended up overshooting my target by 50 yards. Where the crosshair is aimed is where it will land.


The story line... I'm not going to hit on this much. You get the reappearance of Grimsdottir, and the overall theme is avenging Sarah's (Sam's daughter) death. I honestly didn't pay too much attention to the story line.

The missions. There's quite a variety. From breaking in to a mansion and manoeuvring unnoticed, to fighting in Iraq during Desert Storm with an AK47 and unlimited ammunition, taking over the 3rd Echelon office, and fighting in the White House. There are times where you can go weapons free and just have a blast laying waste. There are times when stealth is your only weapon and you must shoot and move as quietly as possible. At points you'll need to dodge lasers that trigger drone security turrets on you. You'll fight 3rd Echelon and PSCs. All in all, it's a great mix and the missions will never bore you.


Uniforms are upgradeable. This is a neat little feature. Just like upgrading weapons, you can unlock better body armor and the ability to carry more ammunition and gadgets/gear. There's a great selection of uniforms for you to pick from. Some are kinda cheesy looking, only a couple are your "bad ass stealthy super soldier" style. But overall you're only going to encounter this in multiplayer.


Multiplayer: My favorite part of any game. I used my one month of XBox Live! Gold free on this game. The first thing I did was renew my code for the SPAS-12SD (what a fun little toy). Next step was to register for Uplay! so I can (hopefully, if I didn't mess it up) get my Ghost Recon Future Soldier Beta access.

Future Soldier Multiplayer Beta

I noticed in the Uplay! menu the ability to unlock "Actions" and "Rewards." It seems these exist for many games. I'm new to the XBox scene, so forgive me if I leave out important details. Anyway, Uplay! will set up "Actions" that will earn you Uplay! points if you complete them in game. If I remember properly, one of them was upgrading all uniforms with all upgrades. Once you earn these points you can redeem them in the Uplay! menu for "Rewards." So I opened up the SCAR-H and a couple other little things as well - a new game mode: Infiltration. This is similar to Hunter, only now if you're detected, the game is over - there's no reinforcements like in Hunter. They also add cameras, more drone turrets, and lasers to the maps. This one is loads of fun too.

How Uplay Works

Moving on to actual MP gameplay. I only played one game-type that seemed the most interesting to me - Face-Off. Oh, good god. This is an amazing game-type. The object is to kill as many people as possible, while competing against an adversarial opponent, for as many points as possible. First one to win three rounds wins the match. Scoring is simple: Kill the other player - 5 points, kill a bad guy - 1 point, every time you die - lose 3 points. The great part about this is your number of options again. You can take a more slow and sneaky approach, kill a few, but stay alive longer (so you're not losing points) or you can just go nuts and run around guns blazing. I enjoyed a bit of both. I didn't really have a choice in my first match because I wanted to try the SCAR-H, somehow not noticing that it's an unsuppressed weapons.

I have not tried any co-op play yet. Since I'm new to this, I don't have a clue where my headset is, and since communication is key to a successful co-op game, I'm going to wait. My connections with the other players were strong (I am running 20Meg cable internet) so I don't foresee a problem playing campaign style with someone, so long as they have the attention span to do it right with you.


So, I hope my short review can convince more of you to give this game a try at some point. I'm really enjoying this game and love the number of options I have for how I want to play. The only thing I'm still trying to figure out is how to unlock some of these other weapons, my guess is that they come through the in-game challenges. I'm also a little upset that you can't suppress every weapon in the game. I'm not sure about the decision on this one, but still, it's not a detriment.

Overall, it's a great game. If you're looking to have fun, and choose between stealth and straight on aggression, this is it. I'll give in an 8.5/10 - taking points away only for the lack of night vision and for exclusive online content.

If you were on the fence and debating as whether or not to buy it... Get it! :) If you're not interested in the online play go ahead and wait for a bit of a price drop. But this is definitely a game to have in the collection.

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