Will Preston

Sam Fisher’s only conviction: He could be a vampire?

by on Apr.25, 2010, under News

Splinter Cell Conviction - 3

Sam Fisher: About to suck someones blood through their neck? Almost...

There’s one thing that me and Sam Fisher have in common; we both do our Splinter Cell-ing in the dark. When I Splinter Cell (verb) it’s in the dark confines of my room in front of the XBOX, mind. Everyone’s favourite Solid Snake for people who don’t like ‘Metal Gear Solid’ returns in the second game to the series to actually have a storyline. I was shocked myself. Whilst the first three games were generic and concerned itself with an over arching mission than a strong narrative, ‘Splinter Cell Conviction’ gives a progressing story with some indulgent cinematic moments. The whole game plays out like a long episode of ’24’ rather than a typical Tom Clancy game. The story continues directly after the last game, ‘Double agent’, where Sam has left his NSA branch Third Echelon due to frankly being fed up over the death of his daughter (run over in a drunken hit and run accident), as well as shooting his long running boss, and “friend”, Lambert in the face.

Now on the run from Third Echelon and other forces of interest, Solid Sam finds himself in Malta after getting a tip about more information on his daughters killer. This cues an intervention from being bullet ridden dead by Anna Grimsdottir (“Grim” for short), a long running character who will be as familiar to players of the series as a picture of the New York sewer system painted pink. So we no have a guy constantly using his mobile phone in pursuit of a killer whilst a tech support girl yells things at him down a phone; yes, it’s basically the new series of 24, complete with added “interrogation scenes”. And by “interrogation”, I mean “torture”. And by “scenes”, I mean “mini-wrestling match”. Even Michael Ironside’s vocals for Sam bear a slight resemblance to Jack Bauer. Thank go he wasn’t chasing a bomb as well. Actually he kinda was, but it was an EMP weapon. Does that still count?

Anyway, away from potential copyright infringement and onto the game play. It’s rare that a sequel to a game is made simultaneously simple, yet difficult. Gone are the gadgets that made every single level of previous games a walk through if you knew what you were doing. Also gone is the light sensor. Instead, if you enter pockets of darkness, the screen turns black and white whilst enemies stand out brightly in colour, something that reflects on Sam’s trained ability at hiding in shadows and working in the dark. Which brings to question about previous games: Why did he even uses the night vision goggles as all? I was never able to enjoy the graphics of the early ‘Splinter Cell’ games due to viewing every level in grainy black and white “enhance-o-vision”. The levels could have been rendered on a an Atari and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference due to the fuzzy vision and the screen being 80% pitch black. But now that graphics have improved to such an extent, the developers couldn’t bear hiding their lubberly rendered work behind Sam’s shite-vision goggles. The graphics do look nice, but nothing much has improved since ‘Double Agent’. Except maybe a tweak on frame rate. But really there is no dire need for a major graphic overhaul.

There has been a gameplay overhaul, however, in the form of the “mark and execute” mechanic. Now instead of aiming clumsily to take out a group of bad bastards in a hurry, you can plan ahead and let Sam do the rest of the work. He’s nice like that. The only eyebrow raising aspect of it is that Sam needs to perform a hand to hand take down in order to “store” an execution. The executions themselves are fantastic, providing you have “marked” a good amount of enemies. It’s got the same appeal as the VATS system from ‘Fallout 3′; an option to automatically kill your enemies stylishly without having to worry about direct input. Sam’s new super power hasn’t bored me yet. So he’s hiding in the dark with super-human vision and gaining superpowers by doing unspeakable things to peoples necks? Is he a vampire? No. Not yet. I think they’ll save that for the next one. Hopefully.

After completing the twisty-turny-twentyfour-y plot, the game treats you to more extra co op and skirmish missions than any other splinter cell game. The only thing lacking is a sufficient multiplayer death match mode. Mano a Mano is the flavour, but you can choose to have grunts litter the place with snappable necks. The co op missions themselves follow a prequel leading to the main story. With a friend, you take the role of two other splinter cell agents with action man faces and an alternative costume wardrobe that questions how seriously they take their missions. You can infiltrate a heavily armed Russian embassy in your bloody jeans and tee shirt. I’m not complaining about the casual nature of the clothing, but if you’re going to offer an unrealistic alternative costume, then why not go the whole hog and allow you to engage in a gun fight dressed as Adolf Hitler in a nappy. I refuse to buy another Ubisoft game until my suggestions are taken note of.

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