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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 9.1
Graphics 9.2
Sound 9.2
Value 9.0
Distributor: UbiSoft
Review Date:
April 2010
Edwin Millheim


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction is exactly what I wish a game based on the hit TV show 24 would be like. The new style and direction of the Splinter Cell franchise may not thrill all the fans out there, but it's a fact, that this was a much needed bold fresh adrenaline jolt.

One could always in the past choose to either be stealthy or get into a shoot out in the other Splinter Cell titles. Though those other titles leaned towards the absolute need for stealth. Where if spotted, the mission would fail, resulting in replaying the mission. Splinter Cell Conviction's play feels so much more accessible to all types of gamers now. For those that are skilled, or get the thrill of taking out guards or getting past them unseen, they can still go along that path, or the player can go in with guns blazing, or a mix of both and still have success. And one heck of great gaming experience to boot.

Splinter Cell Conviction picks up several years later after the events in Splinter Cell Double Agent. If you have played it or just read our reviews about that game you may recall the main character Sam Fisher was under cover, and balancing some difficult and sometimes moral choices during missions as a double agent. It was during that game that Sam Fisher learned that his daughter had been killed by a drunk driver. Now Sam finds out in this latest installment, that the death of his daughter was no accident. Betrayed by his former employers, the agency known as the Third now Sam is a rogue agent and things get more complicated from there. Who can you trust when you can't trust anyone? Now a new terrorist plot comes to light and with millions of lives at stake, Sam Fisher brings his skills into play to stop the plot and uncover the secrets of his own past and his daughter's death.

As I was saying earlier on, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction has a bold new style to it. The visuals are very stylized, mixing some of the game prompts as part of the games graphics and environments. Some times the chapter or in game help prompts become part of the environment, like the wall for instance. Some times a cut scene plays out during interrogation player sequences, these play out on the wall like a ghosted movie print and the style is very much like your taking part of a movie or well produced TV show. This is all seamless, as it brings the story and action together without any interruption. This style of story telling really grabs the player and keeps them interested, immersing them as they become an active part of the story that is playing out.

The core game play is handled really well with the control layouts and actions that the player can perform, all happening very smoothly. A Mark and Execute command really brings Sam Fisher's skills flawlessly in the hands of the player. During the game, the player can earn Execute Tokens. They are earned by performing a hand to hand take down of an enemy.

Using the controls, the player can from cover, mark a couple of enemy...then use the execute button. This brings Sam Fisher's gun play into action taking both opponents down before they even know what hit them. When used, every character that is in range and marked will be taken out. It is an adrenalin rush to watch it take place too. Weapons firing is crisp natural looking. If just aiming and firing depending on where an enemy is hit, they may be harder to bring down. Hitting them a couple times in the arm won't bring them down as fast as a head shot. There are of course grenade types that can be used as well. Happily, they are very well done also. When thrown they seem to have good in game physics and explosions. Very pleasing indeed.

Stealth parts of the game are still here of course, if that's the route a player wants to take. Using a silenced weapon to take out lights and creating darkness can assist in stealth movement. Here too, is another part of the game that some fans of the earlier games may not easily accept. As usual when hidden in shadows the enemy cannot see the character. This time around though rather than having to make use of any night vision, the screen fades to a black and white kind of picture. So if they shine a light at you, or you fire a weapon the enemy will see you. Otherwise, your hidden away. Some have criticized this addition, I welcome it. It's a new style of visualization that makes it fresh again and not a regurgitation of game play where the story is the only different thing to be found.

While making the game so much more accessible to different types of gamers, it may seem like Ubisoft has backed away from the stealth-action in the game series. I feel after playing several levels in the two different styles, one with more stealth than gun battle and stealth mixed....that it all depends again on the player. How skilled is the player and what can they bring to the game. Ubisoft has opened it up here and invites the Splinter Cell fans to see just how skilled they are. Also new players are invited to experience something bold and new for the Splinter Cell franchise, where you do not always have to be silent to get through to your goals.

Another interesting tactical tool for the core gaming experience, is the last known position effect. When the enemy have spotted you and you duck and cover, a ghost image of your character appears on screen symbolizing that this was the last place the enemy saw you and therefore they will concentrate fire on that position. This gives the player the chance for flanking maneuvers. Or if the enemy finds that the player character is not there anymore they begin searching the area anew in order to re-engage.

Graphically the game is a huge stride forward, maybe because of the crisp looking environments, but there is just something about it. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction is a huge step up in graphics from past series titles.

Sound track and over all sound effects are dead bang on. From the music score to the simple foot steps of some one walking through an area and on to explosions and gun fire. All sound crisp and really sound great in Dolby Digital.

There are co-op gaming elements to be had in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction, either in split screen local play or through Xbox LIVE. The Co-op game is called Prologue and brings a kind of prequel campaign to the single player missions, with new characters and settings. There are also three difficulty settings, three sub game modes and four maps. The game is actually fun in both single player and Co-op modes...imagine that.

Check out Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction for Xbox 360 or PC.

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim
U.S Editor
Impulse Gamer


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