Splinter Cell: Conviction Super Review

  • Co-op unlike anything you've ever played
  • Storytelling that's better than cinematic
  • Mark and Execution moves
  • Unrelenting difficulty
  • Mortal mistakes mean lengthy restarts
  • Not having a lot of patience

 Right now, you’ve got two factions of Splinter Cell: Conviction “fans”: Folks on message boards prematurely bashing it for “trying to be Modern Warfare 2,” and thus “not Splinter Cell” enough. And people like me, who called it their most anticipated game of the year precisely because it didn’t look like a typical Splinter Cell game. Looks like we all get to be wrong. Because much like the details of Sam Fisher’s daughter’s death, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.

Above: Less of this than you'd think

Personally, I was happy to see Splinter Cell deviate from the “Wait, wait, hide a body, wait some more” formula. While the series wowed initially with impressive visuals and realistic AI, the annual gameplay had grown a bit dull and lifeless, brought down by the weight of conspiratorial portent it so desperately wanted us to care about, it assumed we’d restart failed missions several billion times just to sit through more of it.

Above: Some nasty surprises await!

In that respect, things have changed for the better. Literally projecting Sam Fisher’s motivation on the walls rings true as a welcome new method through which games, like BioShock and Half-Life, unspool a narrative while you play, and not while you watch. However, we were all a bit misled to believe this was all part of a much larger change for the series. And this is where Conviction will get extremely divisive.

Above: Corridors of guys to kill - get used to it

You Splinter Cell purists bitching up a storm on the web: We see you. “You can’t hide bodies? WTFAIL!!1!” Okay… I suppose hiding the remains of your dead adds an element of realism. Thing is, we’ve never found the realistic aspects all that fun to play, so I missed stashing cadavers about as much as I yearn for more crate puzzles in a Tomb Raider game. After all, the last thing I want to in a game is clean up after myself (I recommend the whiners try The Sims.)

Above: Projected objectives and flashbacks leave out some cutscenes altogether

Things have been streamlined, thankfully. And while you can commend the developers for emphasizing the “action” in “stealth action game,” frankly, it’s not enough after Batman: Arkham Asylum kicked our collective asses with what being a cunning creature of the shadows should actually feel like in modern gaming. While the comparison isn’t entirely fair, one can’t deny that both should share the same goals, approach and intended appeal. Sam Fisher is pretty much Batman… if he were much slower, sucked at close-quarters combat, and all his dope ass gadgets were replaced with upgradable guns.

Above: Instead of a of stealh meter, the whole game turns black and white when you're concealed. Making the rare moments of light and color feel sort of like this:


More Info

Available Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal
ESRB Rating:


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  • mriopel - May 18, 2011 11:59 p.m.

    Why thy no make for PS3 :'(
  • Lionzest7 - September 12, 2010 7:02 a.m.

    While this review is old, I read it just for the sake of seeing how chris' taste was against mine, but I think even if he was a bit bais against SC itself, his rating was justified. This game isn't for everyone, but I think 8 suits it just fine. Loved the game though personally.
  • Triscuitable - June 19, 2010 4:08 p.m.

    @michaelmcc827 Can I say something in this? I LOVED the original Splinter Cell games. I played the first, Pandora Tomorrow, Chaos Theory, Double Agent, and Conviction. AND I LOVE CONVICTION. You'll find that it has probably the HARDEST difficulty setting in any Splinter Cell game. Realistic difficulty is not only brutal, but punishes you for every mistake you make. Sam is now nimble, and able to climb up and along objects in under 5 minutes, which is really nice. Also, not being able to hide bodies is a good thing to talk about. You weren't able to do it in Metal Gear Solid, and if a guard found a body, all hell broke loose. So making sure guards didn't reach a body was the first thing on your list. Same here. Plus, remember how long it took to hide a body? It took around 5 seconds to pick one up, and it slowed your speed DRAMATICALLY. I think it's better now. Also, to drive your fanboy gene INSANE, here is the list of platforms I played the games on, in order of the list I mention when I said I loved the games. Gamecube, Gamecube, DS, Wii, Xbox 360. Go beserk, you whiny little wiener.
  • Triscuitable - June 19, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    Just bought it the other day. HOW COULD YOU SPOIL THAT THE IRAQ LEVEL HAD YOU NOT PLAY AS SAM?! (I already beat the level before I read the review, but that is one of many brilliant twists in the game.
  • Stebsy - April 20, 2010 7:20 a.m.

    finished the single player and its not that hard. if you find yourself having to restart then change your approach, this deserves a 9.
  • wiitard07 - April 19, 2010 12:53 a.m.

    Great review Chris! I was expecting a bit more out of the singleplayer than you got out of it, but hey, whatever. Good to see that the Co-op is as great as it looks, can't wait to pick this one up for me and my little brother.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - April 18, 2010 12:52 p.m.

    Fanboy wars are fun to watch...
  • ColonelKc - April 17, 2010 12:25 p.m.

    WHAT? This game is not hard. You guys must suck at the game or something.
  • JohnnyMaverik - April 17, 2010 12:43 a.m.

    YOU ONLY GAVE IT AN 8 BECAUSE IT'S NOT ON THE PS3. SONY FANBOYS >.< Nah I kid... Nice review although seriously, Splinter Cell Conviction... coulden't give less of a fk. I can't wait for Ubisoft to stop making Tom Clancy crap.
  • J-spit - April 15, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    In the game the slap wasn't funny. Until he did it again. I had to ask why he was so hostile at the time.
  • TickleMimic - April 15, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    to clarify "it" in my last post i mean their opions. They are nobodys and have no journalistic credibility, like Chris does. Can't wait to hear about this in the podcast haha
  • lovinmyps3 - April 15, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    I've almost beaten the single player and so far my biggest complaint is that it hasn't changed enough. It's still a lot of waiting in shadows to get that hand-to-hand kill. I'm a hardcore Splinter Cell fan too (I even read those shitty books) and I was really looking forward to the pacing to be picked up. It's definitely changed but just not quite enough.
  • TickleMimic - April 15, 2010 9:51 p.m.

    Great reveiw Chris! I'm planning on picking up a copy because they changed the stlye of gameplay. I play video games because they are a way to escape reality therefore why should a game make me hide bodies. Anyways everyone should quit their bitching and go play the old games if thats what they like don't try and jam it down my throat. Cough*michaelmcc827*Cough
  • crazyqazqaz - April 15, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    Jesus I've never heard such a bunch of big headed whiners! Stop arguing pathetic little details and get on with your lives. Seriously, can't we all just get along?
  • CaseD - April 15, 2010 9:45 a.m.

    My problem is I want the co-op, but I hated the SP gameplay in the demo. I just can't seem to bring myself to paying £40 for half of a game, I guess I'll hope for a price drop at some point in the future, and that it isn't anything like MW2 in that respect (going up £5 in my local gamestation, WTF!?)
  • StoveToTheFace - April 15, 2010 9:23 a.m.

    come on really this game is great im playing it on the hardest level and its not that hard so if a negitive is how hard it is you suck at games cuz this isnt hard if anything its too a lil to easy..once you get the hang of it, you will be slaying everything in the room with a few well placed shots. same would beat the shit out of wayne btw if they both had no gear on...granted the new batman was better but both are amazing games this sound get a easy 9
  • Samael - April 15, 2010 2:46 a.m.

    Oh boy...I didn't know how to comment on this. I think I'm just gonna echo Aeshir's post, as he said everything I was going to say but said it better.
  • GoldenMe - April 15, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    Good review, ruined by a bitch-fest on the comments. (Example: michealmcc)
  • Silverstone - April 14, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    I lol'd.