"Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction is an action-adventure stealth video game, developed by Ubisoft Montreal. The game is part of the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series." - From Wikipedia.
Believe it or not, this is one of the first major stealth games that I ever played besides Metal Gear Solid, and let me tell you, it was an amazing example of a stealth game done right.?
The story for? Splinter Cell: Conviction is one that is typical of any Tom Clancy work, but has more of an emotional undertone than most of the other stuff he's done.?
Okay, so the story for this game takes place in 2008 (I presume). Sam Fisher, our protagonist, has left Third Echelon to go his own ways after murdering his best friend Irving Lambert, who was the director of Third Echelon before a new guy named Tom Reed steps in to take on the role. During this time, Sam's daughter Sarah was killed by a drunk driver and this (obviously) left Sam in complete distress. However, it's when Sam uncovers a lead that his daughter was intentionally killed that the story begins. Long story short, it's revealed that Sarah wasn't really killed, and that she was removed from Sam's life so he can focus more on finding a mole within Third Echelon. The kicker? This was all organized by none other than? Lambert himself! Now, during this arc, Sam also discovers that Tom Reed is part of some crazy conspiracy to replace the current president of the United States (who is female!) with her VP, who seems to be a secret agent employed by some antagonistic force known only as "Megiddo". In the climax, a ton of EMPs smuggled into Washington D.C. are detonated, Sam is reunited with his daughter, and the White House is attacked by Black Arrow, a military force hired by Third Echelon that would otherwise be the scapegoat should anyone manage to unravel the truth about the attack. The very end of the game has Sam traveling all across Washington D.C. before reaching the White House, where he and his associate Anna Grimsdottir take down Reed, the VP and Black Arrow while subsequently putting an end to the plot.?
In a nutshell, the story is a very engrossing political/techno-thriller, and actually managed to keep me interested to the very end.?
Rating: 8.3 out of 10
The gameplay of? Splinter Cell: Conviction is very linear and straightforward, but has its own knick-knacks. For example, the Mark and Execute system allows the player to mark multiple targets and, when the time is right, execute them? all in a single sequence. You can tell that that would come in handy, but the catch is that the player must have taken out an enemy with hand-to-hand combat to earn the ability.?
Other than the Mark and Execute system, there is a feature where if you're detected by any chance, a silhouette of Fisher will appear in the exact spot where he was last seen. I believe that it is called "Last Known Position". Regardless, it's a pretty clever add-on, and it is useful for the player if he/she is caught in a tight squeeze and needs to remember where they were spotted.?
Disregarding the specialties of the game, the gameplay is smooth, but awkward at first. For example, the left trigger makes Sam hide behind cover. You also need to? hold it down in order to remain in cover. Sort of strange, but you'll get used to it. The only thing I can say is... if you're playing a no-holds barred action game and then put in? Conviction, prepare to adjust consequently.?
Rating: 8.7 out of 10
Along with the great story come the great characters.
Sam Fisher - A very hard-boiled and bitter guy who doubles as a routine secret agent and killer. That already made me take a liking to him, but when I learned that he was voiced by none other than? MICHAEL IRONSIDE, I was nonetheless a huge fan of Fisher from then on. That aside though, Fisher has a good personality and manages to crack a couple James Bond one-liners with his own style of dark/morbid humor (*smashes guard's face against a wall* "Messy...").?
Anna Grimsdottir - There always has to be a chick involved in the scheme of things, but I was surprised to find myself an admirer of her character. She's ruthless, cunning and also shares a decent personality much like Sam. Despite being Sam's associate, Anna is still a part of Third Echelon, and the conflict of trust between the two also helped to build their characters.?
Tom Reed - Contemptible, evil and without mercy... the top three traits of a main antagonist. Tom Reed was a villain that I liked, but I felt that he just... wasn't all that sinister. Sure, he manages to wreck all of Washington D.C. and nearly kill the president (not to mention being the infamous mole that Sam and Lambert were after), but Reed just wasn't entirely what I'd call truly convincing. Despite these negativities though, Tom Reed manages to make himself appear evil and scheming, but overall, his villain rating is not magnificent.?
Victor Coste - Before I begin, Victor Coste bears a striking resemblence to Victor Sullivan from the Uncharted series... but that's just me. Anyways, Victor Coste... he's likable, funny and charming. He is also Sam's "operator" so to speak. He also serves as the game's narrator. Overall, there's not much I can say about him, but he's a decent side character.
Overall, I'd say the characters in the game are believable and well-developed enough to actually care about.?
Rating: 7.9 out of 10
...are alright. They aren't on par with Uncharted: Drake's Deception or L.A. Noire, but they're good enough. The drawbacks are that the shadows are somewhat pixelated and the lip synching is just... well, it's okay, but not mind-blowing.
Rating: 7.0 out of 10
The difficulty is well-adjusted, and there is an option to change it in the pause menu if need be. The three main levels are Rookie, Normal and Realistic, with Rookie being the easiest and Realistic being... well, the hardest. Believe it or not, I actually managed to complete the storyline on Realistic difficulty, but it took a long, long, long time with a crap ton of determination and planning. If you want to be frustrated and possibly hurl your controller, pick Realistic.?
That aside, each difficulty is leveled accordingly, and the spikes are slim to none.?
Rating: 9.4 out of 10
Slightly addicting. With the co-op mode having it's? own damn story? and a series of different game modes featuring tidbits of stealth opportunities, it is sure to provide hours of entertainment.
Rating: 7.8 out of 10
Surprisingly elevated. The only reason to go back to the storyline is when you want to complete the PEC challenges... or to see the second ending. Yes... there are? two endings, but they both end practically the same. Another possible reason to return to the story is to play it on Realistic difficulty and get the corresponding achievement.?
Replay Value:? Decent.
None I have encountered. However, there is one funny situation where you can make Sam fall into an abyss under one of the levels, but I pretty much discovered that by accident, and it's so discrete you won't even know it's possible.
Glitch Rating:? Very rare.
From the absorbing plot to the largely reeling gameplay, Conviction is guaranteed to provide entertainment for the most hardcore of stealth game veterans for hours on end. I give this game a...
8.2 out of 10.