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Xbox 360 Review: Splinter Cell: Conviction

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Sam Fisher is back and cannot be stopped in Ubisoft’s latest installment in the Splinter Cell series. Once again you step in the shoes of our favorite emotionally tortured agent as he searches for his daughter Sarah’s killer. After the events in Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Sam was out of the spy game which means that this time there are no fancy gadgets to help you along the way. That does not seem to stop Sam because there is a new “mark and execute” system that is more than enough to find out what happened to her.

Mark and execute lets player’s get instant kills as long as the meter is full, marking a target or several targets with a press of a button, then finishing them off for quick and easy kills.  The only way to get the ability to mark though is by earning it via hand-to-hand kills. 

The game starts out with Sam receiving information regarding Sarah’s death. He then goes into action and hunts the killer down. After a couple of twists and turns, he comes face to face with many people from his past. Throughout the game’s story line there are times at which Sam needs to perform special activities to get information, this is know through the new gameplay element of interrogation.

Don’t think of interrogation as some normal question-and-answer section. No, this is a world in which asking nicely will get you nothing. The only way to interrogate someone is to beat them and to use environmental objects on them.  If you choose the right objects there are special rewards in the game for doing so. So, choose wisely and you will be rewarded.

Fans of other Splinter Cell games may be taken aback with this new system of gameplay. The mark and execute style may make the game too easy at times allowing an instant kill of up to four people.  At times the whole thing seems more like an action game since there is a lot of running and shooting. Unlike the other Splinter Cell games, the player is not able to move the bodies of those Sam eliminates and losing this ability makes stealth very difficult.

Ubisoft Montreal, the development house behind Conviction, found special ways to tell the story.  Instead of taking the player away from the game with cut scenes, the walls, floors and ceilings display the information that is needed to know at the time.  This is the first time they have attempted this and it was very rewarding.  However, the game is not without cut scenes; at the beginning of every stage a mission brief is shown with the outline of the building or environment that is your mission objective.

In order to help you along the way, a weapons case is given to you at checkpoints throughout the game. This weapons case refills your ammo and lets you choose different weapons as they are unlocked. This is also the only way to upgrade weapons for more power, greater range, and more stability. However, there is a limit to upgrades of three times total and only once per category. Everything can be upgraded that is found. Pistols, rifles, automatic guns, shotguns, and grenades — once looted from the dead bodies of your enemies, they are unlocked though the case.

Single player is not the only thing that this game has to offer. There are several different multiplayer modes that are available. These modes can be played both online and offline via split screen. The co-op story takes plays before the single player story starts and takes each player though how the events move towards the single player happenings. One key feature of this mode is that weapons that are unlocked in this mode and in single player mode are the only way that weapons in the case that can be used. The other modes include trying to kill enemies in the different stages without being detected and defending a post from enemies destroying it. Each stage can be played at any time and do not require a method to unlocking them.

This game also features Ubisoft’s U-Play. It is a system in which all of their games have special tasks and once these tasks are completed you are rewarded with points. The points are then collected for unlockables in the U-Play store. The games in which points are earned don’t matter since points can be collected from any game for downloadable content. When it comes to downloadable content this game has a lot of it. So far there has been weekly content in the forms of maps, guns and different costumes.

This game is a great addition to the Splinter Cell series. It features a lot of new gameplay mechanics in addition to those that players have already enjoyed in the Splinter Cell franchise. This game gives players several different options when it comes to playablilty. Even though this game is a change of pace from the other games in the franchise, it is a welcome change. Fans of the series and newcomers alike will love this game.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language . This game can also be found on PC.

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