Splinter Cell: Conviction Co-op Hands-on
We go Hands-on with Conviction at PAX East 2010
Ubisoft was nice enough to bring Splinter Cell: Conviction to the expo hall here at PAX East. With the singleplayer demo out to the masses, they were showing off one of the co-operative levels available for two players. The level I played along with a particularly overzealous stranger was similar to Modern Warfare 2’s Spec Ops level in the way that it was a mission separate from any real sense of story that focused mostly on the amount of enemies killed and time of completion.
The mission I took part in had my fellow secret agent and I creeping into a dark, dilapidated subway station filled with generic thugs toting pistols and shotguns. My partner, a fellow PAX nerd unknown to me prior to this, immediately flipped over the nearest half-wall and began running straight towards a group of enemies, guns blazing. It seemed more likely his type of third-person action game was Gears of War rather than former Splinter Cell titles. I spent most of the time huddled behind the first half-wall of the level, attempting to mop up the mess the other guy had made and was, in fact, continuing to make. It didn’t take long before we were both dead and sitting at the restart screen. I was beginning to think this wouldn’t go much better the second time around.
Restarting the level, the gentleman to my right proceeded much in the same fashion as our first attempt. After all, why learn from your mistakes? Now more familiar with my environment, I was able to slide into cover, fight my way through a rusted out train car, jump up a pillar, and hang from the ceiling, shooting down on a slew of unknowing enemies below while my partner continue to roll over and over again towards enemies, shotgunning them into oblivion.
As much as this was not the experience I was hoping to get in my time playing the game nor was it the manner in which I would play in the future, it did show off one thing about the game that has been missing in a lot of Splinter Cell titles in the past: the ability to full out run-and-gun if you so choose. When former entries in the series would have you restarting after setting off a single alarm, Conviction compensated and gave enough environmental options for two players to throw stealth to the wayside and come out with a mission that played more like a Jason Bourne film than anything else. Despite my initial frustrations with my partner, I ended up have an extremely fun and fast-paced time.
That said, the game looks great graphically and the new aesthetic really refreshes the series, bringing a lot of new life into what could be a tired franchise by this time in its life cycle. The only thing that bothered me was that, in many cases, firing a pistol, shotgun, or machine gun was wildly inaccurate. I found myself throwing full magazines of pistol ammo into a single enemy when in former Splinter Cell titles, it would have been a single accurate headshot and that’s that. It wasn’t a problem with the controls but the game mechanics themselves as the pistols fired wildly whether or not the reticule was aimed correctly. In that way, I felt a bit removed from my character who should be a fast and accurate shooting super spy, not a drunk uncle at the fourth of July.
Splinter Cell: Conviction is scheduled to be released April 13, 2010 exclusively for the Xbox 360. PC version is set to follow at the end of April.
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