Sam Fisher kills people. Indiscriminately kills people. He does it in the fastest way possible - like some sort of Jack Bauer (24) meets Bryan Mills (Taken) meets John Preston (Equilibrium) character, Sam Fisher moves at a billion kilometres an hour, and when he gets where heís going it doesnít seem like he has a real plan.
Itís a vast change from the Sam Fisher we knew before. Certainly he was more inclined to end lives in Double Agent, but there was a time when hiding an unconscious man in a puddle of water might result in a mission failure.
Now though Samís main draw is his Gun Fu style execution kill ability - after successfully completing a hand-to-hand kill (and these are kills as well, usually involving a Judo attack combined with a bullet to the head) Sam can mark targets with the RB button and execute them all in the space of a second by pressing the Y button.
The difference is jarring at first, but itís justified well and it sells the idea that Sam Fisher is angry. And when Sam Fisher gets angry people start dying. Like Jack and Bryan and John, Sam has a unique set of tools and he has the will to do what is necessary - the catalyst being the death of his daughter in the last game.
The forward momentum afforded by the gameís new emphasis on killing takes its toll on the stealth element in the game, which has been reduced to a binary option - youíre either hidden or you are not. Youíll know youíre hidden when the world turns black and white - only targets are illuminated in colour.
Actually, the demonstration of this effect is beautifully recreated in a scene very reminiscent of Max Payne - as you tuck your daughter into bed, you explain to her both the stealth mechanics and the use of the environment as a weapon.
The sense of gravity Sam feels about protecting his daughterís safety is reinforced once more when thugs break into the Fisher residence while Sam is still tucking her in - he doesnít hesitate in killing them to defend his family.
Actually the character of Sam Fisher is expanded upon greatly in SC:C - much more than it ever has been before. Youíre taken through numerous sequences in Samís pre-Splinter Cell life, which has the effect of making his sixth outing the deepest and most personal.
The game plays out beautifully as an action stealth title on the normal difficulty, leaving you to run and gun quite a bit if you mess up. On the harder difficulty it feels much closer to previous Splinter Cell games - ironically I think it misses the point a little bit.
The puzzles in the game arenít especially difficult, meaning after a playthrough on normal (as the game is meant to be played) you could definitely get an experience similar to old school Splinter Cell by cranking the game up to hard.
Speaking of hard - while the single player game lasts only six hours youíre also given a full coop story - a prologue to the events in the normal game. Featuring agents Archer and Kestrel it expands on both the story and the gameplay nicely - and it lasts around four hours.
The other cool element in the game is the persistent items - weapons you earn and upgrade in the single player carry across to your other game modes, so you can use your scoped, silenced MP5 to burst fire sniper fools in the coop as well.
You earn points for upgrading your weapons by completing certain challenges - killing 10 people in a row without being seen, executing four people at once and the like all earns you points to spend on weapon upgrades.
It encourages you to play correctly, but also gets you to take some chances. To complete one challenge I found myself hanging from a pipe, marking enemies with the RB, completing a ĎDeath From Aboveí kill by dropping onto an enemy with the Left Trigger and then executing my marked enemies with the Y button. It looked cool as hell.
Most issues I have with Splinter Cell: Conviction rise from the story itself - Sam falls too easily back into the role of obedient servant for a man who is ready to kill anyone in his quest for the truth.
The crescendo of the plot builds to a ludicrous point - the influence of (now cancelled) 24 is extremely apparent, but as the one-man-army that is Sam careens towards his final goal the narrative goes a little over-the-top - not Metal Gear lunacy, but certainly a climax uncharacteristic of the series.
The other issue I have is the lack of grounding present in the game - too many concessions are made under the premise of Ďhey, itís a video gameí. When youíre seen by the enemy a white silhouette will appear, marking Samís last known position.
The AI will attack this silhouette while you flank and murder them. Their knowing your existence is pure fourth wall breaking game mechanics - itís designed to give you a chance to escape. The takedown and execute mechanic is simple - thereís no reason as to why Sam needs to Ďearní execution kills, it exists simply to provide a modicum of challenge to the game.
In Chaos Theory meanwhile, the emphasis is realism over gameplay - you might remember the conversation sequence between Sam and his
Sam: Let me guess, 3 alarms and the mission is over?
Lambert: Of course not! This isn't a video game, Fisher!
The AI isnít fantastic even when they arenít shooting at ghosts - like in previous games itís very easy to watch the bodies stack up by picking a suitable vantage point and simply waiting for the AI to investigate their dead friends. Shoot one, another comes over to check him out - shoot him and the next guy comes over to have a look.
For all itís issues though, they detract only a little from the game - overall Splinter Cell: Conviction is a great action stealth game, even if it is more action than stealth. Itís far too easy to play on anything less than normal, but thereís enough replayability in revisiting the game on hard and playing it with a friend to make it worth the price of admission.
its an ok game but i hate that when your in cover its black and white.. wheres the colour? at least a little would be nice! he moves like spider man since when can a 53year old man move like that? to be honest im really disapointed in this compared to the last games... dont bother people..