I’m not an original Splinter Cell player because I was a Nintendo owner. The original two were on the Xbox. The first Splinter Cell I played was Chaos Theory on the Nintendo Gamecube. I gave up on Nintendo when the Xbox 360 came out and got to finish Splinter Cell: Double Agent. I actually still own this game because I’ve enjoyed the multiplayer part of it and have started the single player story again. Splinter Cell: Conviction came out on April 13th, 2010 and I got the Limited Edition for the same price as the regular because of some mess-up with the USB memory stick. I’ve finished it, played part of the co-op story, and some of the multiplayer modes in both split-screen and online. How does it stack up to the other Splinter Cell games?

I’ve got to say that I enjoyed playing Splinter Cell: Conviction. The story was interesting… except for a flashback… and co-op was fun to play with a friend. Being able to customize my character and weapons also added a lot to the games. I don’t want to get into the game features and what it was about, because you can read that on just about any review site. I actually had some issues with the game after I finished it.

Like I said, I enjoyed Splinter Cell: Conviction… for what it is. After finishing it and giving it some thought, it could have had any other name and would have still been the same game. It turns out that Conviction is a departure from what fans of Splinter Cell enjoy about the series. Splinter Cell is about stealth, hiding in the shadows, sneaking past the enemy, and using all kinds of great technology. On the surface, Splinter Cell: Conviction looked like all of this, but it really changed what I liked about Splinter Cell.

I guess I left that guy hanging there. Just one of the many non-controllable sequences.

First off, I really lost all the control that I enjoyed in the Splinter Cell games. You’ve probably seen all the exciting moves that you could make when taking down the enemy in Conviction. I especially liked the one where he takes the knife and puts it into the enemies’ hand. Quite a move, right? Well, no… it was more of a context sensitive move.    This was done with a main character in every chapter. You fight or sneak through the enemies until you get to this main character. Then it switches to you walking around with the character and finding something to bash him into. This can only be done after some dialog and after the B button shows up on the display. Hit the button and you interact with whatever you happen to be standing in front of. Got a stove, stick the enemies’ face on the hot element. Bathroom sink in front of you? Smash his face into the sink. If it looks like it would be great for bashing, smashing, or slamming, you can probably do it… just without any control on your part, except for standing in front of it and pressing B.

What did we all play Splinter Cell for anyway? It was for the stealth. If we wanted a run and gun shooting game, we have many others already out there. At first glance, it looks like stealth is back in Conviction, but it doesn’t really work. One of the main reasons is your weapons. Your arsenal is full of guns and explosives. Yes, I know, Sam Fisher is out for revenge, so he needs all this. But now it is really not a Splinter Cell game. I do get a sonic headset that can detect enemy through the walls, but it really does not work well while moving. I also get a remote camera that can spy on the enemy, make noise to attract them, and then explode to take them out… but I didn’t use it once to get through the single player game.

Weapons abound in Conviction. You have your pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, and shotguns. You can add scopes, silencers, laser sites, and better ammo. Sounds like your normal Call of Duty game except it’s not. Where are the shocker shells or blunt bullets that knock your enemy out? Sam Fisher is a mean fighting machine in this game. Just call it Sam Fisher: Revenge and take out the Splinter Cell.  I played the game because of “Splinter Cell” in the title. Hey, I still enjoyed the game, but just forgot that it was a Splinter Cell game.

One of the few stealth actions. Is that an assault rifle on Sam's back?

Another couple of problems I had were with stealth and the enemy. I could lurk in the shadows and quietly take out the enemy, but I could not do it without leaving evidence that I was there. No longer could you move the bodies in Conviction. Take out an enemy and they just lay there for others to find. I just wanted to get that last body hidden in a barrel or behind a desk, but now the enemy would find it and be alerted to my presence.   And the enemy will not shut up when they find you. They talk the whole time until you clear out the area of enemy. Yelling at you or talking to the other enemies are all you hear and they start to repeat their dialog. I always liked the guard who would quietly try to find you and maybe yell a couple of things when he saw you. Nope, not in Conviction. You want to clear the area just to get them to shut up!

One part of Splinter Cell: Conviction, that seemed tacked on, was the use of lasers. One of the uses for your sonic headset is to help detect the location of trip lasers that will set off explosives when you pass through them. In later levels, this changed the whole game. You have vertical lasers, horizontal lasers, and any combination of these that move up and down or side to side.  Remember what I said about the sonic headset? It works great when you are not moving. Now you have these lasers that you have to MOVE by to get through the level and you can only see them with the sonic headset. So much for depth perception. I had to turn every which way to see if I was under or between the laser beams. I made it through after a few tries and memorizing their locations.  Lucky they didn’t spawn any more enemy when you had to do this.

I’m not bashing the Splinter Cell: Conviction game. Like I said, I finished it and enjoyed it. It just made me want to go back and play a real Splinter Cell game now, like Double Agent. I went into it wanting to play another stealth action game and ended up playing it like a run and gun game. I guess I’m just bashing what it was trying to be. It just doesn’t work for me as a Splinter Cell title.  It almost could be considered a Splinter Cell game for beginners. If you start with this game and want more of the stealth part of the game, go and pick up Double Agent. If you can find the old Xbox Chaos Theory game, you may want to try it too since the Xbox 360 can run old Xbox games.

If you want to play a good game that has a lot of customizable weapons, interesting gadgets, and loads of enemies waiting to be taken out, then you should try out Splinter Cell: Conviction. If you are hoping this will be another Splinter Cell game like Chaos Theory or Double Agent, then you may want to skip over it. I may just go back and play Double Agent again.

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