Random scribblings by a prick. Enjoy.

E3 2009 – Microsoft Conference: Splinter Cell Conviction

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Sam is officially back and it would seem after a three year hiatus and a couple of reinventions along the way, that he has brought a cracking game back with him as audiences at E3 were treated to their first in-game demonstration of the next forthcoming instalment in the storied Splinter Cell franchise.

The first and most noticeable thing about Conviction is that this really isn’t so much a Splinter Cell sequel, but rather the 24 game (in all but name) that you wish Sony could have delivered way back in 2004. Sam Fisher channels Jack Bauer excellently, with the brutal (and seemingly freeform) interrogations on bad guys to reveal information through to the breath you see the character exhale before nipping around a corner and killing a hostile in one or two seconds.

The brutal interrogations seem especially intriguing, with Sam able to drag the hapless baddie around the room and using various points of the environment (such as the wall, a urinal and other hurty solid things) to slam the guy against in an effort to get the guy to ‘fess up with any information he may have. In addition to this, Sam is able to mix up the environmental interrogations by using any combination of strikes or throws to further convince the guy that holding secrets (especially ones regarding his dead daughter) from a trained renegade NSA paramilitary, really isn’t a good life choice at all.

The similarities to good ol’ Jack continue through to the pre-emptive targeting system that Sam now possesses and just like when you see Jack size a room up of bad guys and then clinically kill everyone with precision head shooting, the 24 fanboy inside me cries with joy as it now becomes obvious that Sam can do the same. For Sam however, it all works in a delightfully simple manner; if he is concealed from his enemies Sam can prioritise which targets to kill first (not at all unlike the enemy ‘tagging’ system from the R6: Vegas titles) and then after he exposes himself time slows down for the player to kill the the prioritised targets with swift, deadly efficiency.

Visually besides being up there graphically with some of the best this generation of consoles can offer with spot on lighting effects and other graphical wizardry, an interesting style choice was taken regarding the mission objectives and story elements. In a fashion somewhat similar to amphetamine-fuelled action film Crank, photo’s of people and events from the story find them superimposed on surfaces in the game, almost as if Sam is projecting his thoughts directly onto the environment. Examples of this are when Sam is sprinting along a hallway when a grainy picture of a newspaper flickers across a wall he is about to climb up, or when he is climbing across a ceiling, the mission objective text appears on the floor in light sourced letters. It’s an interesting design choice for sure, but in terms of the mission objective stuff, I hope that it can be toggled as I’m not sure I would want that kind of information (that I would already know) in my face all the time.

Conviction further distances itself from the rest of Splinter Cell games by actually encouraging you at times to go in guns blazing. A case in point being at one interval in the demo, Sam spied under a door and saw enemies tipping over desks as makeshift cover for Sam’s imminent arrival, and arrive he did. As the first guy approached the door, Sam kicked the door so hard that it tore right off it’s hinges and as splinters exploded into the guy’s face, Sam whipped out a trusty shotgun and began tearing the place up. The encounter came to a climax when Sam grabbed a thug as a human shield, used his pistol to take out a few more guys shortly before throwing said human shield out of the window. This was then succeeded by Sam jumping out the window himself and shimming across a ledge and back in through another window, only to be cornered by a group of special forces rappelling in from the ceiling bringing the demonstration to an end.

Whilst details were thin on the ground regarding multiplayer modes or other missions within the campaign, Splinter Cell Conviction was out to impress and impress it did. Hopefully, we’ll get some more information on this reformed stealth title in the near future.

Splinter Cell Conviction is due out this November on 360 and PC platforms.

Written by bitsnark

June 3, 2009 at 2:08 pm

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