Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

Publishers: Ubisoft

Developers: Ubisoft

Format: Xbox 360, PC, iPhone

Available: Now

Slowly slowly catchy baddie…

The act of stealthing can be incredibly frustrating. If a silent task is executed correctly, with a well aimed soundless bullet to an enemies head resulting in an unnoticed kill, then playing the silent assassin is both thrilling and rewarding. But when things go wrong, and you’re left dangling ridiculously from a drainpipe while half an army pump lead into your badly camouflaged spine, there are few more infuriating circumstances. So has the well renowned Splinter Cell series managed to provide us with more fiendish moments than frustrating ones?

In Splinter Cell: Conviction, the fifth title in the Splinter Cell series, we find Sam Fisher hiding out in Malta. When his former colleague Anna “Grim” Grimsdóttír contacts him, Sam is begrudgingly throw back into the chaotic world from which he thought he’d escaped. But when he hears rumors that his deceased daughter may be alive, Sam goes on the attack, and sets about hunting those responsible. It’s a pretty tired yet enjoyable paint-by-numbers plot, and although the voice acting is overly gruff, the pace moves on at a decent rate. Just think of it as an interactive episode of 24 (minus ‘Angry Jack’, as he’s become know in our household), and you’re about there.

Ubisoft have fiddled, reworked and hurled Splinter Cell: Conviction into the recycle bin of unwanted games on numerous occasions, in an attempt to get the final version up to a satisfactory standard. This to-ing and fro-ing has resulted in a slight mixed gaming experience, which seems to slot uncomfortably in-between tactical stealth and newbie shooter. It’s not an easy game, and although it lasts barely 7 hours, there’s enough to keep those would-be assassins coming back in search of sneaky perfection. But Splinter Cell: Conviction is a lot simpler than previous episodes, and sadly, there’s a not a lot of room for ingenuity. It’s very much an A to B type game, with most of your strikes either pre-planned for you or a repeat of the previous. It’s not bad, but we’d have liked to have seen some of the tricks that Hitman has employed, where each mission can be played in several variations. The co-op feature is worthy of a mention though, and working as a team brings a much needed depth to proceedings.

There are a few new features that add a sprinkle of fun to the action. Firstly, there’s the ‘Mark and Execute’ feature, which allows you to pre-mark either enemies or other targets, before engaging in an automatic attack. For instance, you could target two unaware baddies before entering a room, and then with the press of a button, Sam will take them out unaided as you watch in jolly satisfaction. Another feature that brings a smile is the interrogation mode, which allows you to move a non-complying suspect around an area, and smack him about on any object you see fit. It’s a nice way adding a bit of tension (and slapstick!) to proceedings, and a welcome break from the endless shadow ducking, but these segments tend to feel wooden, as there’s not enough opportunity for interaction. Smashing a gangster’s face onto a piano is mighty amusing though, so it’s not all bad.

So, does Splinter Cell: Conviction provide us with more moments of adrenaline than anger? Well, it’s a hard one to call. Splinter Cell: Conviction is arguably the least tactical or technical game of the series, and although the tense stealthing is still there, it’s not as thrilling or clever as it should be. It seems as if all those extra years of development were spent watering down the essence of Splinter Cell, making it more obtainable for newbies to the series, and more ‘producer’ friendly. It still provides a challenge, and there are glimpses of the old magic, but this is a much easier nut to crack than the original games, even for the most butterfingered of assassins.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is still worth a play, and despite lacking the clinical punch of the first games, and creaking some patchy flaws that can at times leave you in a fit of frustration (Sam can’t hit a door from more than 10ft, and occasionally head-shots don’t put down an enemy!), it’s still a glossy slice of well produced gaming. It’s just a shame that, when compared to it’s silent and deadly predecessors, Splinter Cell: Conviction just can’t deliver that clinical kill-shot.

Presentation: 16/20

Story: 15/20

Controls: 17/20

Gameplay: 15/20

Durability: 15/20

Overall: 78/100

Scott Tierney

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2 Responses to “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction”

  1. wats up man hows it going

  2. Great review man! I’ve only played the Splinter Cell games for a few hours, for fun, at a friend’s house, but it seems like such a great series. I wish I was more into it, I love the whole stealth thing, I need to play these games more.

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