Above: Share Marks and save your buddy!
If we seem overly negative here, it's because we really hoped for more from the single-player mode. However, as anyone who's followed the series knows, Splinter Cell's multiplayer modes are always the better half anyhow, and Conviction's multiplayer co-op campaign is a saving grace if there ever was one. For all the dev team's assertions of tactical strategery, co-op is the place we saw the most evidence of it, plus it’s more fun than any moment you’ll play by yourself.
Anove: This is what we wanted
Here’s where you and a friend will play as through a completely different storyline as Third Echelon agent Archer and Russkie badass, Kestrel. For some reason, these are the levels that open up and truly showcase how quick and deadly you can be, whereas the rest of the game gradually shrinks and strips away features until your just barreling down a crowded tube full of men who can survive headshots. In case you’re wondering how much fun we had orchestrating kills and sharing execution moves with friends, know this: The game would’ve scored a point lower without Co-op.
Batman: Arkham Asylum?
Oh, hell no. And even an entry-level Bruce Wayne makes Sam Fisher look weak, Power-puff spy by comparison. During most missions, all Fisher has at his disposal is the ability to crouch. Whereas, Batman owns the darkness, Fisher is dependent on it, and his ability to shoot out lights just goes away after a while, seemingly for no other reason than to make each hallway harder. For Batman, the stakes are even higher: If he’s seen, he’s dead. Yet, Splinter Cell: Conviction had me nearly snapping the controller in two following every restart after agonizing restart. Plus, there wasn’t a moment I didn’t feel like grappling out of a situation.
Modern Warfare 2?
No. But then, why should it be? Let this be the last time we have to say this: Splinter Cell: Conviction is not a shooter. In fact, Sam Fisher isn’t even all that great with a gun. Spray and Pray is nowhere near an option here, and firing automatic weapons should generally be reserved for a last ditch effort to survive. If you were looking reasons to dislike Conviction based on a tenuous comparison to MW2, don’t bother, ‘cause it ain’t there.
Splinter Cell: Double Agent?
We think so, even if the internet has proclaimed Conviction’s inferiority without having played it. Even if you aren’t a fan of a streamlined approach, it’s hard to ignore the evolution in the latest entry is more than befitting of the term “Next-Gen.” Add to that, the latest game continues to tell Sam’s story, which should be goofy and outlandishly unapproachable by now, both masterfully and believably. Don’t call it cinematic... because it’s actually better than that.
While co-op kicks an unholy amount of ass, the Fisher campaign wasn’t the drastic departure from the series’ punishing trial and error we were all expecting. Fans may mourn the loss of certain aspects, yet there’s still a commendable evolution found within an experience much richer in player choice and consequences they shouldn't ignore. Outside of the occasional moments where the game starts ham fistedly projecting Fisher’s emotions on the wall (FRUSTRATION!) the storytelling takes full advantage of the medium in a way that few games ever do.
Apr 13, 2010