Finally Sam Fisher’s latest adventure sees the light of day and Sam is now dragged into action under the premise of finding out who ran over his daughter, the only thing keeping his humanity around as he worked in all sorts of undercover missions for Third Echelon. Of course the plot twists and turns like an episode of 24 and the game takes you into the Third Echelon headquarters, a fairground, the Washington Memorial and even puts you in a flashback in Iraq.
If you’ve played the previous games you’ll realise this is a very different beast to what’s gone before and the end result is that most of the time you don’t have to be stealthy and (apart from scenes where you’re not allowed to be spotted) you don’t seem to be punished for just running and gunning your way through the environment. So you if you want to resist the temptation to break cover and go gun-slinging I recommend you play the game in realistic from the beginning.
If you manage to take down a bad guy with your bare hands you can then mark two or more people for execution. If they’re close enough, at the touch of a button you can kill them both with a silent shot to the head. It’s fun at first but can make things a little bit easy. The screen also turns black and white when you’re in the shadows, which is useful for people who’ve never played a stealth game before but for me, it just made things difficult to see and was quite distracting.
If you’re spotted and you run to cover without being seen, a ghostly vision of Sam also appears to show your last known location. You can then flank enemies and take them out as they shoot at thin air. Later on in the game you also get sonar goggles which let you see enemies through walls but unfortunately not much else. You end up switching them on and off frequently which again can be another unwanted distraction. Can I have my night-vision goggles back please?
Where Conviction delivers is in its tight, streamlined missions and atmosphere. There are some really fun highlights in the game but Sam does seem to have lost his athletic edge. No longer can you straddle between two close walls and drop on enemies or hang from pipes with your legs and grab people by the neck. Now the emphasis seems to be more on using brute force to make your way through the levels. You can also interrogate people using your surroundings to get info out of people but this requires no more than a button press when told to do so.
You’ll actually find you’re just getting into how to play the game the way it’s meant to be played just as the campaign ends so it’s probably worth a second play through. You can also do the chapters individually to try and do the levels the best way you can.
As well as the short single player campaign there are the Deniable Ops missions where you play solo through a number of small missions with set objectives and the co-op and multiplayer modes where you can play as a different story designed for working together or a number of other games where two is most certainly better than one. It’s these that may keep people playing the game long after they’ve had fun with the single player mode.
In all Conviction is an excellent game but it may take some getting used to if you’re already set in your ways when it comes to how to play Splinter Cell. It gets an excellent 7 out of 10.