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Splinter Cell: Conviction Review


Conviction changes the stealth gameplay of its predecessors with mixed results.

Posted by Ben Thomas (nutcrackr) on May 29, 2010 - 7:43am EST (May 29, 2010 07:43)

Conviction represents a change to the Splinter Cell franchise and a change that is not completely successful. Aside from being much easier than previous games it also contains more action. So much so that one segment plays out exactly like a third person shooter. Not all the changes are detrimental to the franchise, the Mark and Execute component actually improves some of the gameplay. The AI is usually competent to go up against but occasionally does some pretty silly things. The presentation of the game is relatively effective and using projected messages as a tutorial and for mission objectives is actually unobtrusive. The changes to the basic mechanics of the series are not replaced by anything of comparable quality and consequently the stealth gameplay lacks.
 
Conviction uses the Unreal 2.5 engine, although visually it does not look very old at all. Performance of the engine is satisfactory for the visuals and the lighting is good with Sam able to shoot out most lights to hide in the darkness. The game also includes a system where objectives and hints are projected onto the world. Opening levels featured words like “Cover” and “Climb” in obvious places to gently bring players into the action. As the game progresses these projected messages simply point out your next objective. It blends in naturally as you move throughout the levels and these messages slowly come into view. They do use this projected system in a later cut scene to convey obvious emotions and disappointingly it does reduce its overall effectiveness.
 

Projected text may inform you of your next objective.
 
The visuals turn greyscale whenever Sam is in stealth mode and enemies are colored to highlight them in the world. I’m not convinced this change in color saturation works too well. In greyscale the shadows and dark hiding places become much less obvious as they blend into the surrounds. So you are more likely to accidently move out of the cover of darkness and receive a face full of abuse and bullets. Also in stealth the game also looks visually unappealing because of this lack of color and seems to very subtly punish those who do attempt to play in an unseen fashion. Not all the stealth is done just in the cover of darkness however.
  
Sam hides just as much behind objects in the bright lights as he does moving swiftly through the shadows. The level design in some situations almost relies on the careful positioning of half height walls or boxes. The upside to this is you can close quarters kill an enemy who is near an object you are hiding behind. The position of these boxes and walls could be directly comparable with other third person shooters with cover mechanics where you move from cover to cover and pop up only to shoot. It also highlights at times how unsatisfying the campaign level design is. 
 

The security guys went a bit overboard
 
Aside from the position of these contrived boxes the game also features its share of platforming. This might be climbing up walls, over balconies or up and along pipes. Some can be done during combat where you move from window positions or in pipes above enemies. In particular the position of some brightly colored pipes is completely ludicrous and serves only as a simple transition from one point to another; they really needed to try harder here. 
 
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#3 Nov 9, 2010 10:29:58 (Nov 9, 2010 10:29)

kamikaziechameleon
The game looks good considering its running the same engine as the first game.  I still think it could have looked better though.  some character models are horrible, and some AI is just plain stupid.  With all the action sam still controls way to akwardly.  I also feel like your move set is decreased from the previous games.  I like the cover mechanic but it is not evenly implimented, often times not letting you manauver large enough distances.  or appropriate angles on surfaces.  Enemy AI is also dumber I think some times than in previous iterations.  the levels feel less like puzzels since you can frequently run around and kill everyone with a high wanted level.  The co-op is sweet though.  I guess my issue is that the game doesn't feel as thoughtfully pace and composed as chaos theory, or appropriately responsive for a action title, I would have liked melee to be more than one button KO's that you use only to unlock the Instant kill ability.  I would have enjoyed a Uncharted level of melee, cinematic but still involving and not to difficult but not to easy.  That and better all around handling could have smoothed the game out alot.
 
 
Good review.
#2 May 30, 2010 01:27:53 (May 30, 2010 01:27)

SpectralShock
It is unfortunate, but the PC version has been getting bad feedback from fans across the board.
#1 May 29, 2010 22:06:53 (May 29, 2010 22:06)

sirdesmond
I'd really be interested to play this after my time with the console version which I enjoyed a lot and found the multiplayer to be much stronger than what was described in this review. It always seems like games like this (third-person actiony stuff), PC gets the shaft.
Splinter Cell: Conviction Screenshots

Splinter Cell: Conviction Screenshots

Splinter Cell: Conviction Screenshots

Splinter Cell: Conviction Screenshots

SpectralShock - 2 days ago
Next up, the big show - E3 in June!
SpectralShock - 8 days ago
PAX East this weekend
Captain_Mark87 - 33 days ago
Titanfall has eaten all my spare time!!!
SpectralShock - 43 days ago
Lots of reviews coming this and next week!
with_teeth26 - 48 days ago
The first great challenge of Dark Souls 2 is determining the PC release date
Captain_Mark87 - 56 days ago
Titanfall was super fun. Strider review coming at you soon.
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Splinter Cell: Conviction
Splinter Cell: Conviction box art
Platform:
PC

Our Score
We Said
70
Fair
"Conviction changes the stealth gameplay of its predecessors with mixed results."
Game Ranking
Splinter Cell: Conviction is ranked #534 out of 706 total games.

533. NFS Most Wanted
PC

534. Splinter Cell: Conviction
PC

535. Tiny and Big
PC
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Splinter Cell: Conviction
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