Review | Splinter Cell: Conviction
Format: Xbox 360/ PC | Genre: Stealth | Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Ubisoft | Release Date: 16/04/10 | RRP: £50
Greg Giddens checks up on old friend Sam Fisher as he returns in SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION.
After more than a few delays and an entire trip back to the drawing board, it’s quite the miracle Splinter Cell: Conviction exists at all. But after a four year wait, it’s clear this series has no intention of disappearing into the shadows just yet.
Splinter Cell: Conviction follows the same theme as the series’ previous games. Sam Fisher must sneak and kill his way to finding the truth behind a situation which he also has a personal stake in. It’s nothing new, but Conviction does conclude a story arch from the earlier games, which is slightly unusual for the series’ narrative flow but a welcome change – and, indeed, a treat – for the fans. This certainly makes it appealing to Splinter Cell veterans, but anyone new to the series might find themselves a little confused on occasion.
Losing the plot
Whether you understand all the plot elements or not will certainly have an effect on whether you care about the characters’ wellbeing. It’s clear that Conviction was designed more for current fans than to entice newcomers. However, it doesn’t spoil the story completely. Conviction continues to offer a different style to the other stealth/action titles on the market, and the closest experience to being a spy many of us will ever get.
Clever use of projected films on the walls showing Fisher’s memories occur during sequences, and are an effective storytelling devise. It’s not always clear what the images are trying to show you’ but it’s an imaginative way of portraying short flashbacks. In addition to the projected films, objectives also appear on walls and objects and prove to be a very nonintrusive way of delivering the tutorial and keeping you in the loop. Decent voice acting, in particular from Michael Ironside (Sam Fisher) and Howard Siegel (Victor Coste) the narrator, convey the story exceptionally well’ and a powerful score complements the action scenes and drama appropriately. Unfortunately, there are a couple of issues that damage the singleplayer.
The narrative feels fractured. You’ll experience sequences from the past, present and future all held together by the narrator, Sam Fisher’s old friend Victor Coste. To begin with it doesn’t make much sense, even for Splinter Cell veterans, nor does it spark much intrigue. But with the campaign only taking six or so hours to complete, everything comes together fairly quickly for the conclusion. Indeed, the singleplayer campaign is very short, but it does fit with the pacing of the story. And fortunately the co-op campaign, which acts as a prequel to the singleplayer, adds several more hours to the experience.
Twice the fun
While the singleplayer campaign is entertaining the first time around, there’s little to entice further play-throughs. There’s a selection of weapons and gadgets to find and upgrade, but the majority of equipment is introduced to you as you progress, and the upgrade system is basic and limited.
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