Splinter Cell is one of the classics of the stealth genre and a leading game for the Xbox console. Thulfiqaar and Snake have decided to take a look at the PC version to see how it stacks up today, a year after launch.
Splinter Cell is available from Amazon, Direct2Drive, Gamersgate, Green Man Gaming and all other good online and retail stores.
Those familiar with the ‘Splinter Cell’ series will know the main character of the game Sam Fisher, they will also know that the Splinter Sell series is heavily focused on stealth. Conviction however, decided to go down a slightly different path with its gameplay. While the game still has its stealth component, it also allows you to go in” All Guns Blazing”, if only to a certain extent. It’s quite cleverly done too as they have made Conviction a lot more personal and a whole lot more “darker”, so the change is by no means a bad thing.
During the game’s intro your told that Sam no longer works for ‘Third Echelon’, his daughter has died during a car accident and that he has been looking for a reason to live ever since, become a traveler going from from place to place. Motivation to live however comes along after hearing that there was in fact someone behind his daughter’s death and that the accident which killed his daughter was in fact no accident at all. And from here the game begins.
If you enjoyed the movie “Taken” theres a good chance you will enjoy this Conviction. The game involves you interrogating people, and by interrogate, I mean torture, and you get to choose how too. You can choose to smash their face through a TV screen, use a paper shredder on someone’s face or even stab his hand and nail it to the table. And you know what? It’s great
Saying that though, Splinter Cell Conviction does have a few flaws and has things that could have been done better. The Single Player Campaign is relatively easy, even on “realistic” difficulty. It also doesn’t help that the game is quite short compared to the others. Though it’s a good thing that you can play through the ‘Multiplayer Campaign’ maps on single player, which is called Deniable Ops, in addition to that, Ubisoft have have included maps not included in the ‘Multiplayer Co-op’ or the ‘Single Player campaign’.
Another little addition adding to the replay value are the P.E.C. Challenges, these reward you with points so you can unlock or upgrade weapons, items and Armor. For example,
- Vanish Silently: Once you are spotted vanish silently without neutralizing any enemies
- Perform a Hand to Hand Takedown against an enemy who is investigating your last known position.
- Free your team mate from a chokehold in any multiplayer game mode
Another great addition is the cover and stealth system. I know it was there in the earlier editions of the series but in Splinter Cell Conviction the system has been changed to make it a whole lot more easier and smoother. When you’re hidden, everything will turn black and white, a nice addition that lets you know the enemy cant see you. In previous games you would have keep a lookout on your “stealth meter” in the corner of the screen.
To use the cover, you simply have to right click for it to auto hug the wall or the object you’re next to. You can also move from cover to cover by simply looking in the right direction and pressing space. This system allows for a much faster and smoother movement compared to the previous Splinter Cell titles.
But wait there’s more! Now you can also ‘Mark and Execute’. This is where every time you perform a close combat takedown or use someone as a human shield, you’re allowed to “mark” and “execute” enemies by simply looking at them and pressing ‘Q’. The number of enemies you get to mark depends on the handgun (and upgrades) you’re using. This can be anywhere from 2 to 4 hostiles for each close combat takedown/human shield. The “execute” is basically a perfectly aimed lethal shot at the marked enemy. It can be performed as long as they are within line of sight or within range. The game lets you know by the colour of the chevron. A red chevron means you can execute the marked target and a grey chevron means the target is out of sight or range.
Graphically speaking Conviction is a gorgeous game even today. The addition of the black and white stealth system is strangely satisfying and you can really admire the graphics during the interrogations. We tested the game on an average gaming PC and had no problems running it on the highest settings.
The game will require you to create an account on ubi.com, to which you login to play Splinter Cell: Conviction. This should come as no surprise as it seems to be the trend in DRM these days. A constant internet connection is required to play too so if you don’t trust your connection be aware, as offline gameplay is not possible (Gasp!).
Sadly its a part of the game but I wouldn’t turn the other cheek just for that reason, unless you’re still on dial-up and have a really dont have any trust in your internet connection. Once the game has loaded, you can choose to either play via LAN or Online. Those of you who have played previous titles like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory will find the match making system in Conviction somewhat useless as there’s no lobby to see other players creating games and the lack of a chat feature is annoying. To counter this, I would recommend a microphone for communication as its your only hope. If your playing with someone you don’t know, its a matter trusting that the other person will indeed complete the mission with you.
One of the great things is they’ve actually made a friends list that works! If you’re invited by someone to a game, you’re able to join directly, but beware when hosting a game, there may be port forwarding involved. The Maximum number of players for Co-Op is two, Archer, a spy working for 3rd Echelon and Kestrel, a Russian spy working for Voron, an organization equivalent to Echelon. Both organizations, being sworn enemies must cooperate to track down 4 EMP warheads stolen from arsenals of the former Soviet Union. The coop story takes place prior to the single player campaign. The voice acting in the game is humorous and realistic and I have to admit, there wasn’t a time where it failed. The only thing I could say is some AI enemies do sound alike.
Multiplayer has 5 different game modes. To unlock other modes you are required to purchase the DLC; Insurgency Pack. This includes extra maps not included in the single player. The Third Echelon map is not included but can be unlocked through the Gamespot website for free, but you will need to make an account. Just a note though, this is only available to some countries and may not be available where you are.
Another feature I liked was that you can customize your character before starting a game. With Uplay points and P.E.C. Challenges unlocked by completing particular tasks, you can purchase unlocks to improve gameplay. Each skin has 9 slots, 3 Armor upgrades, 3 extra ammo pouches and 3 for extra gadgets that you can purchase. Depending on your style of gameplay you may choose to have full armor to take more damage, or if your like me, you can sacrifice armor for extra gadgets and carry 3 more items than you normally would. You can also turn off gadgets all together and rely on your skill to hunt down enemies without the sonar goggles. This allows you to mark enemies through some walls, giving the impression of a wall hacker. The new feature really do give you a new experience over using the tradition goggles that splinter cells usually wear. If you like a challenge, I would definitely recommend turning off gadgets like the sonar goggles and rely on your skills and wit to defeat your enemies.
When it comes to halalability, Splinter Cell Conviction is fine for adult’s, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend the younger ones to play this. While there isn’t any nudity in the game, there is plenty of violence. The interrogations in particular are very violent. So if you don’t want the young ones seeing that kind of stuff, then I recommend you skip this one.
So how has the game held up a year after launch? The good news is the game is still played by lots of fans so there’s still Multiplayer games to be found. Due to the design of the game, replayability scores well, as the chance of playing the same level in the same way twice is minimal. For example if you have played a level where there is only one way in, which is through a door, and the first time you played through there weren’t any enemies behind it, the second time round you may find there to be one in that same spot. This adds the element of surprise for the player and forces you to rethink your strategy each time.I mentioned before that the humor in the game is great so your sure to crack a smile with some of the funny things the enemy or your co-op character will say before a takedown too.
If your borderline purchasing the game but asking yourself if it is worth x amount of money, then id recommend waiting for a sale. The retail copy is currently sold at just over £5 at some places, compared to a digital version at £13.99, so if you can find it for that cheap id say go for it, you will get your moneys worth.
Muslim Gamer score 8
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