|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 13, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
February 4, 2008 - Those who follow the Splinter Cell storyline were quite riled up by the end of Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Although there were several endings that were possible through different actions in the game, they all led to one conclusion: Sam became a wanted man. Double Agent's multiple endings were all quite tension-filled, and made many fans thirty for more. And that is where Splinter Cell: Conviction comes in. Originally slated for a holiday 2007 release, Splinter Cell: Conviction has since been pushed back to Q2 2008. Although no information has been revealed as to why this dramatic delay has occurred, there has been some new information about the game made available in recent weeks.
First up, it has been confirmed that the game will take place two years after the events of Double Agent, and the majority of the game will take place in the city of Washington D.C. We will find Fisher trying his best to keep a low profile in this massive city, and up to this point he has been doing a pretty good job. However, one of his former Third Echelon co-workers, Anna Grimsdóttir, seems to have found herself in a bit of trouble, and the only one who can help her happens to be our main man, Sam Fisher.
So as you can see, the story this time around is pretty interesting. But what about the gameplay? Since Fisher has been stripped of his title and is now roaming the streets of Washington DC, the gameplay won't feature the usual stealth kill approach that was the centerpiece of the former games. Instead the game will focus almost exclusively on environment-based hiding and attacks. Nearly everything you see in your environment can be used to your advantage to either hide in or attack with. And as someone who has lived in the DC Metro for quite some time, this idea is not too far-fetched. Early video of the game shows Fisher utilizing a table and chairs to dispatch of enemies. Of course you will be able to pick up weapons, or use the good ol' fists to do damage, but I think the real hallmark of the gameplay will be the environmental weapons this time around, mainly because they add an element of freedom and unpredictability to the gameplay. You'll be able to have a lot of options when deciding how to take someone down, and there will be unlimited opportunity for kills, no matter where you are.
Another new facet of the gameplay is the idea of "Active Stealth" which will function differently than the stealth maneuvers that Splinter Cell fans are used to. Instead of running from big crowds the idea here will be to use crowds to your advantage. By using Active Stealth to blend into a crowd, you can escape from enemies rather quickly. This facet of the game definitely lends itself more to the realm of reality as it is much easier to hide in a crowd then it is to hide by yourself. And now that Fisher has the shaggy hair and beard look, he can easily slip into a crowd of faceless Joes and make an escape rather quickly.
Another thing that got me really excited from the early footage was how realistic they made the city of Washington DC. I realize that many people make a pilgrimage to the city at least once in their life, and for those who have not, this game looks almost exactly like it. The main part of the footage takes place in the arts district of the city, near the National Mall. You can even see the Washington monument if you look hard enough. The sidewalks and cityscape are recreated almost flawlessly, and major landmarks like the Smithsonian and the Jefferson monument are visible on the skyline. If you have not yet been to Washington DC, you can definitely use this game to take a virtual tour, because it is reproduced extremely well. And for those who have had the pleasure of going through the nation's capital, you'll probably get your bearings rather quickly.
One thing the Splinter Cell series has always been known for is its killer visuals, and Splinter Cell: Conviction looks to further this facet. Early footage looks like it is running in full HD at around 720p, but I can almost bet that 1080i will be supported in the final title. Characters, especially Fisher, are presented in striking detail, and look stunning in both cutscenes and in-game footage. Environments, as I've stated before, are very lifelike, and feature true-to-life details that will leave you breathless.
One facet of this game that is still shrouded in mystery is the multiplayer mode. Ubisoft Montreal has been very tight-lipped about any new features or modes in the multiplayer realm, which has left many speculating. Since the gameplay this time around is so vastly different, it is hard to imagine that the multiplayer wouldn't change with it. I personally could see smaller-scale multiplayer options, with a stronger focus on co-op or mission play rather than traditional multiplayer. Of course, this is just me speculating, and no one knows for sure what multiplayer options will be available when this game is finally released.
Splinter Cell: Conviction is most certainly a hot title for those entrenched in the Splinter Cell mythos. The story of Sam Fisher looks like it is taking a very dangerous turn, and one can almost guarantee that the events of Splinter Cell: Conviction will be quite explosive. Although no date has been officially announced, we're expecting this one to come in during the late spring or early summer. So get ready, Splinter Cell fans, because this one looks like it will be the best entry in the series yet!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer