Splinter Cell is a franchise near and dear to my heart. It was the first game I bought because I thought it looked interesting, even though none of my friends really wanted to bother with it. But, the moment I put Splinter Cell into my original Xbox, I knew I would play games completely differently. I was willing to sit next to a wall and wait.
And wait for that perfect moment. Yeah, I got bored. But, I mean, I was a spy! Spies wait! After Double Agent, we all knew that Splinter Cell needed a whole new look, a whole new feel, a whole new game. Splinter Cell: Conviction is that new game. With the demo out, I was able to finally see what the goodness was about for myself. It is good. It is very, very good. Here are the changes that I enjoyed the most and some of the crap that I enjoyed the least.
Cover: Oh, wonderful cover. SC:C allows you to move from cover to cover much like Gears of War does, but with some marked differences. You can hide behind cover by holding the left trigger, so you aren’t hooked to it. When you look over to another piece of cover, hit A and you can move right to it. You can jump over cover and you can run and slide into it. It feels fluid and sharp and you have some nice control over all the action, which is refreshing. It is apparent that the game wants you to move and adapt, and not just sit behind a wall and wait for a bad guy to walk past.
Mark and Execute: I was skeptical about this at first. I am now a believer. This whole, “Mark and Execute” thing is nice! You have to get close to a guy and do a beat down in order to get two “Marks”. Once you get them, you can Mark two bad guys and then hit Y to fire off two quick shots. You want this. You want this because it is easier than just shooting. Head shots are harder to pull off now, and are less accurate. But it is difficult to get that close up beat down and it is even harder to mark the targets right and fire off the execute in the right order. When it works, it works very, very well and it becomes a mini-game in itself.
The Next Step in Stealth: This game just looks great. If feels perfected. Every time I moved, every time I hid or fired a shot, I felt like I was in control. When I was spot, it was my fault, not the games. I made a mistake, and I was punished for it. Yeah, the dialogue and character models weren’t the best I’ve ever seen (Pony tale? Really?), but I’ll push through that if I can have a game experience that makes my heart beat heavy again. Welcome back, Sam Fisher. Believe me when I say that I missed you.