|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|
Of course, if you use 'Execute' and still have bad dudes to deal with, it's not the end of the world. Scoring stealth headshots is very easy, so you'll be able to deal with remaining enemies quickly, regardless. In fact, Splinter Cell: Conviction, in general, is surprisingly simplistic. While this may seem like a knock against the game, it's actually a testament to just how bad-ass Sam Fisher is (and feels) and keeps the game from ever bogging down. Still, any serious gamer should be playing this title on Realistic difficulty in order to get the true experience-unlike most titles, Normal is not the most balanced difficulty setting. If truth be told, enemy AI doesn't really pick up to the level it needs to be at until you rock it on Realistic. Even so, you'll still run roughshod through the opposition and finish the single-player portion of the title in 5-7 hours.
Thankfully, the single-player story is just one aspect of Conviction. In fact, Sam Fisher's tale, while full of great gameplay moments, doesn't really recount the most enthralling story and serves more as a lengthy tutorial for the endlessly playable multiplayer side of the game. Splinter Cell: Conviction lets you play through several different game modes with friends on the couch, via LAN, or over LIVE. There is even an interesting prequel co-op campaign that will have you and a friend take up the role of Third Echelon's 'Archer' and Voron's 'Kestrel'. Playing as these two operatives is essentially the same as playing as Sam Fisher, but the lone wolf tactics are now supplanted by team-driven challenges and scenarios.
Presentation in Conviction is outstanding-the environments are all perfectly detailed, you'll never really feel like you're taking on clones, and the resolution is very crisp. Animations really shine, too. Whether you're going in for a melee kill, brutalizing a hood during an interrogation sequence, or plinking shiny domes with lead kisses, the characters react naturally and believably to the world around them. Heightening the visual experience are the superb sound effects, the goofy, mid-battle goon taunts, and the excellent main cast voice acting.
Splinter Cell: Conviction may not be what the series' following expected, but it's definitely a great game that's worth any Microsoft gamer's time. Whether it's worth your money or not depends on what you're looking to get out of it. Paying $60 just for the single-player campaign might not merit a purchase, but getting all the in-game challenge awards, unlocking the U-play rewards, upgrading all your weapons, enhancing your multiplayer agent, and teaming up with buddies to take out baddies rounds out the package nicely, giving it my seal of approval!
CCC Editor / News Director