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Old 12-10-2010, 08:02 AM   #3
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Splinter Cell: Conviction - Xbox 360

The original splinter cell games for me split gamers. There are gamers who love the likes of Doom, Quake, Halo and Gears Of War. Simple controls that require reflex actions, throwing yourself into the line of fire. Then there are your more methodical games such as Rainbow 6, Operation Flashpoint and of course Splinter Cell... until now. Splinter Cell: Conviction attempts to try and broach that middle ground. You can approach the game however you want. You can sneak around stealthily... Or equip an automatic and blast your way to the finish. A game that satisfies the stealth purists and action junkies was what Ubisoft went for, and on the whole it succeeds.

I still have a movie on my 360 of one of the early gameplay demo's of SC: Conviction and the game has come a long way since then. The original concept was to have the game as an open world stealth game with targets; Sam Fisher was to go around killing in cold blood in broad daylight. I questioned the concept then and whilst certain levels show this original concept such as the fairground level that is teething with life it seems Ubisoft has settled for somewhat of a middle ground. Was the concept too ambitious? Did it just not work as a fun game? Who knows but what has been delivered is a superb experience.

There are 3 modes. A single player campaign, an stand alone coop campaign as well as various multiplayer modes. These are Last Stand and Deniable Ops. To start with the single player, well lets get this out of the way. It can be finished in 5 hours!!! That's right, stick the game on Rookie, skip the movies and you can finish this game in an afternoon. But if you do this you are sorely missing out. The single player story is beautifully told, to not spoil the flow of the game instructions appear on objects within the game, sure there are some movies but the direction is so good you will want to watch them. You make your way around sneaking up on people performing stealth kills; grabbing people through windows or performing satisfying pinpoint head shots. As you rack up the kills you earn 2 things the first is the right to perform executions where you mark targets and hitting the Y button will take them out. It may sound a bit cheap but when you have earned 4 executions and pull of a 4 man execution it is damn satisfying. You will also gain experience as a form of currency that can be used to upgrade weapons, gadgets and buy new camouflage for your array of multiplayer costumes. Then mixed in to break up the stealth elements are some of the best set pieces in a game I have ever seen. Be it chasing an assassin through the streets, creeping through sensors like in movies or a section where you need to escape so are given unlimited executes and dash out of the building annihilating everything in your path. There is even a section where you are in a warzone guns blazing, ok it doesnít rival Call Of Duty but it breaks the intensity of the game up perfectly. These moments are excellently choreographed. You also can use environments to interrogate enemies; this is the only section of the game that is a little light. Whilst the animations for the interrogations look superb it is simply a case of pressing one button and the person caves. If I am being critical this system could have been deeper. Without spoiling the story there are plenty of nice twists as you go in search of your daughtersí killer.

The multiplayer modes are geared more towards coop play and if you have a friend to play this with then there is another 10 hours of gameplay through the deniable ops missions and coop story. Whilst no where near as deep as the single player story itís a nice addition. However if like me you only play with actual friends then you are reliant on having a friend who also likes the game and you both being available! It sounds crazy but itís tougher to coordinate than you think.

This game uses the Unreal 3 engine and hardly pushes it. The visuals are clean and clear but nothing special. Seeing as the screen turns to greyscale when you are in the dark also hampers the visuals somewhat and the characters get a special mention of being believable, the voice acting and sound effects are of decent movie quality and for this Ubisoft should be commended.

Overall I cannot recommend Splinter Cell enough. It isn't perfect and the length will put many people off of the £40($60) price tag. But as a budget purchase there is no reason why this should not be one of the games you buy this year and it is up there with the best exclusives on the 360.

Pros - Excellent story and game pacing. Game can be played to suit your gaming style. Unique coop story is a nice touch.
Cons - Game is too short. Interrogation system could have been deeper. Death match multiplayer pointless in this sort of game.

Overall - 91%
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