2010 Reviews

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

  • Review Date: 2014-05
  • Release Date: 2010-04
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Rating: 6.5

The last Splinter Cell game I played was released five prior to this one - Chaos Theory. Not a bad game, but not one I'd ever return to either. Double Agent was actually released in 2006, but it was horribly optimised for PC and not worth attempting beyond the first level.

Conviction takes a different direction, which clearly pissed a lot of stealth players off. Metacritic developer average - 83%. On Xbox up at 86%! User score average - 48%. That's a big difference! And further evidence that Ubisoft buys it's ratings, because there is no way in hell Conviction is deserving of an 86 out of 100. It simply isn't that good. The problem is Conviction doesn't really know what it is - a stealth game or a shooter. If I have the choice, I'll pick shooter every time rather than patiently creeping around in shadows. So there were a few sessions of shadow crawling in Conviction, but 95% of the time I was shooting my way through. But as a shooter, Conviction is no fun! The main weapon of choice, your silenced pistol, is an inaccurate piece of shit. If you try long range you'll often use 40-50 bullets before actually hitting your target. Bullets will miss by meters every shot, even though the crosshairs are directly on the enemies face. The more you fire, the more inaccurate the shots become. Enemies, meanwhile, have no such issues. It's probably done like this to force you to play stealthily to avoid enemies, but you do end up with annoying and frustrating combat.

There are the odd frustratingly difficult sections as well, usually when you're pinned down. One was where you're stuck in a small room herds of enemies come at you from doors and lifts for a few minutes. Then there's the White House at the end with you stuck in a room with about a dozen guys coming at you all at once. If I'm having great difficulty with it then it means it's unbalanced. I'm playing on PC, on Easy difficult at this point, and I've played 100s of shooters, so if I find it too hard then how the hell is the casual console gamer going to get past this section?

Checkpoints were also too spread out sometimes. If you're going to develop a stealth game without quicksave, you better make damn sure the checkpoints aren't spread out. A few times I was repeating the same sequences several times over, including listening to the same unskippable dialogue over and over again, just about read to check the game down the toilet.

Overall the stealth is far less a feature in Conviction that previous games. No dragging bodies, no meter. Many parts of the game you won't even be able to play stealthily.

The design of Conviction is okay, but nothing special. It's all very linear. Lighting is a high point, but stealth games should always come with superb lighting.

I can't really be bothered going into the story. It's the usual American agent gone bad, now using an EMP to stop all electronics in Washington to kill the president. Oh and Sam's daughter, apparently dead all this time, is resurrected.

I'm not a big fan of stealth games, so the movement towards more run-and-gun is fine with me. If only the shooting was actually fun. Another overrated Tom Clancy game.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction