A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

Splinter Cell: Conviction – In Progress/Impression


Here’s my first In Progress/Impression combo piece! I was fortunate today to have an opportunity to play some of the new Splinter Cell game on PC. I must say that I’m very impressed (with a few caveats, of course). I don’t know if I’ll get back to playing it, but I’m still at my friend’s house and he’s finishing the ridiculously hard mission that I had to stop playing for a bit because I’ve been playing for hours and I really needed a break. Er… hence, the following text is very current to my play experience.

First of all, the story is really cool and the gameplay is very fluid. The game seems to reward cautious gameplay, which I do exceedingly well at because in some games I’m a very timid player. Especially in Splinter Cell.

Some points about the game are as follows:

  • Sometimes when I right click to roll while I’m moving, Sam will instead go for the nearest cover and stick to it. It’s awkward sometimes but you get used to it, complain a bit, and move on.
  • The guards and such are REALLY talkative. Extremely so. It gets annoying fast, unless you start responding to them, in which case it can be hilarious. (I do miss the classic “Who turned out the lights?” from Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.)
  • Speaking of guards, they’re really freaking skittish in this game. The slightest thing tips them off and they start talking A LOT. On the plus side, that makes them easy to predict because they try to figure out two things: 1) what just happened and 2) where did the problem come from. If you’re not careful, that group of guys clustering around where the light just went out will look to see if there’s a muzzle flare from your next attempt to take out a light. Smart, but annoying too. Understandable.
  • When you’re in stealth mode, the screen goes black and white. After a while of this black and white, staring down at my shirt is actually a relief. *laughs* It’s green right now. Enemies remain in color and so do certain interactive objects.
  • The mark-and-execute mechanic is a lot of fun but you have to be aware of the scenery. Plus, it’s a good idea to watch the patrol routes of the enemies to see if they’ll come across some obstructing scenery that will foul up your M&E. It’s really satisfying when you get to pull one off successfully. I enjoy the death-from-above move followed by a four kill M&E. Really cool.
  • This game requires a lot of patience, tempered with occasional aggression. By that I mean, take your time, but don’t be a pansy when you need to get rid of some threats. Sam can take some hits (on the easiest difficulty level) and sometimes it’s preferable to take a hit or two rather than stop to fight (like for the latter half of the Lincoln Memorial stage). Other times it’s more important to stop, think, and then tackle the enemies (like for the latter half of the National Mall stage). Then you get the opportunity to just stand and fight off a bunch of bad guys (like at the end of the White Box stage… lots of bad guys there).
  • The game operates on a checkpoint system. Thus, no more quick saves. This sucks because I’m such a save monkey.
  • The guards use the F-word a lot. A LOT. I think this game is rated M, but I don’t recall because it was purchased on Steam by my friend.
  • Never has there been a game series that has emphasized the destruction of light sources more than Splinter Cell. Just putting that out there.

So anyways, my overall impression of the game is that it’s really fun. The parking garage in the basement of some place I won’t mention is a real pain to get through. I managed to do the first little bit of it, but then I HAD to take a break or I was bound to get frustrated. My friend is currently trying to get through it, but keeps getting found. Who knew that shooting out lights in a parking garage was so frowned upon by security agents with shotguns? Every time he reloads from the last checkpoint, the lights come back and he’s forced to shoot them out again. His response: The janitors are really quick.

Yeah, lots of fun, good graphics and engaging gameplay with only a few hangups here and there.

Until next time, keep to the shadows.

– Elorfin

P.S. For the record, I managed to write this whole thing while my friend was busy working on getting past that insanely hard parking garage level. He’s still working on it as of the time of this submission.

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