|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|
Clearly taking inspiration from hit TV show 24's Jack Bauer - that name comes up about once every five minutes when speaking with developers on the game - Sam resembles much of the character progression that Bauer goes through over the course of the series. He begins working with a government agency and all of the restrictions and rules that entails. But soon he's cut loose, and all of the raw power, skill, experience, and vengeance combine to form a truly terrifying individual. Sam Fisher is supposed to be a man unhinged - an attack dog without a controller.
Gameplay reflects this change in Sam's overall psyche. By and large, the game feels much more brutal. This isn't the same game that had you gently knocking out guards and placing them in a secluded corner. Don't get me wrong, stealth is still paramount, but Sam isn't pulling his punches this time, and his body count is going to reflect that.
In past games, Sam often felt (somewhat nonsensically) fragile; as though he would get the sense beat out of him if he was so much as seen. Conviction gives Sam a fighting chance, and the game won't end just because you were seen. On multiple occasions, we were able to run up to a guard and take him out with brute force. The down side to this is that you run the risk of the enemy noticing you too soon. If they're allowed even a second to prepare themselves, they'll block your attack and raise a weapon on you while calling for help. Loose cannon or not, that's a situation with which Sam's going to have problems.
Despite some controversial decisions in the past, Splinter Cell is one of the most vaunted series in all of video gaming for a very good reason. Ubisoft doesn't compromise when it comes to the quality of this series. This game has been looking extremely good for months now, and the recent delay into April 2010 will give Ubisoft even more time to polish up the latest iteration to make sure that it's up to the quality standards of this legendary series.
CCC Freelance Writer