Splinter Cell: Conviction Impressions

Splinter Cell: Conviction is such a weird, weird game.  I’ve never seen a game like this before.  How does this game work?  How does it function?  Where did it come from?  Where was this game birthed?  Who decided the birth?  And how did anyone decide to let it become birthed?  So amazing.  I was playing it the other day, trying to figure it out.  Some part of it made complete sense.  I was rolling from cover to cover.  I was picking targets, deciding who lived and who died, finding targets and then hitting one single button and making these targets fall to the floor.  I was hiding in the shadows.  I was moving like a panther from place to place.  It was sheer, wonderful genius.  I understood that part.  This was stealth.  This was the Splinter Cell I loved and loved more than anything.  Then, just like that, I was shooting people in Iraq. There were no shadows.  There was no way I could hide.  I was basically playing a really, really bad war game that I did not, at all, pay for.

That is the problem with Splinter Cell: Conviction.  This game has no idea what it wants to be.Part of this game wants be like its predecessors.  The first Splinter Cell was ground breaking.  The sequel, Pandora Tomorrow, kept the tempo and added a multiplayer element that was beautiful.  The third game, Chaos Theory, was a complete, perfect work of art that can’t be denied.  It was a wonderful game.  The fourth game, Double Agent, was horrible.  How do you follow up a game as wonderful as Chaos Theory?  You strip the game down and risk failure.  Conviction does this.  And the risk was worth it.  Mostly.  The game falls to pieces when the game wants you, needs you, to act in some violence.  Conviction forces you to harm.  No other Splinter Cell made you do this, at least not this much.  The other games wanted you to be sneaky, to dodge conflicts and get in and get out unseen.  Conviction wishes for you to kill all that walks on two legs.  This game demands you torture. You even hit a woman.  Twice.

Part of this is the story’s fault.  This story sucks.  It is terrible.  I don’t even want to talk about it.  All the Splinter Cell stories were amazing.  Even Double Agent had a compelling narrative with espionage tension you could cut with a sharp, clean knife.  Conviction has something do with EMPs, the President, betrayal and Dick Cheney.  Yeah. Dick Cheney.  You’ll just have to play the damn game.

For the most part, however, this game is worth the Sixty bucks.  The multi-player shares much with Chaos Theory’s co-op game type.  You and a friend versus an AI that hates the inside of your bodies.  Kzilla and I battled the game and each other.  We laughed. We cried.  I called him and idiot.  So, hence, the co-op works properly.  And the single player is worth the time as well.  Splinter Cell: Conviction tries to do something different in a market soaked with the same old crap.  That alone deserves it an “A” for Effort.

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2 thoughts on “Splinter Cell: Conviction Impressions

  1. Good impressions! I particularly agree on the sequel-to-Chaos-Theory bit. It’s fantastic in so many ways – so much better than I dared to hope – but on the other hand, man, it’s insanely different. Too different? I’m not sure. Would a light meter and hiding bodies have ruined the tension? Why am I shooting everyone? Is that the new sticky camera? …It *explodes* now!? Man, does everyone really *need* to die? And what’s this… NO SPIES VS MERCS!? WHAT THE F-

    …okay, okay, deep breaths, deep breaths… whew. Sorry, sorry. You know how hard it’s been man. This kind of loss just hits me hard. Too hard. I’m still in denial.

    So yes, Conviction is fantastic fun, and maybe, just maybe, the best Splinter Cell yet – but I honestly can’t say what I want more from the next Splinter Cell; Conviction 2 or Chaos Theory 2? I suppose it’s a testament to Conviction that I could even have that debate against one of my favourite ever games. If I were a game reviewer, I’d be looking to award, at the very least, 9.2/10

    Oh, by the way, sorry we didn’t get a chance to play this weekend. I might be online this weekend instead; if you catch me online, by all means throw an invite in my direction.

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