Right now, you%26rsquo;ve got two factions of Splinter Cell: Conviction %26ldquo;fans%26rdquo;: Folks on message boards prematurely bashing it for %26ldquo;trying to be Modern Warfare 2,%26rdquo; and thus %26ldquo;not Splinter Cell%26rdquo; enough. And people like me, who called it their most anticipated game of the year precisely because it didn%26rsquo;t look like a typical Splinter Cell game. Looks like we all get to be wrong. Because much like the details of Sam Fisher%26rsquo;s daughter%26rsquo;s death, you shouldn%26rsquo;t believe everything you hear.
Above: Less of this than you'd think
Personally, I was happy to see Splinter Cell deviate from the %26ldquo;Wait, wait, hide a body, wait some more%26rdquo; 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%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;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. %26ldquo;You can%26rsquo;t hide bodies? WTFAIL!!1!%26rdquo; Okay%26hellip; I suppose hiding the remains of your dead adds an element of realism. Thing is, we%26rsquo;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 %26ldquo;action%26rdquo; in %26ldquo;stealth action game,%26rdquo; frankly, it%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;t entirely fair, one can%26rsquo;t deny that both should share the same goals, approach and intended appeal. Sam Fisher is pretty much Batman%26hellip; 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: