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    dkirschner's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (360)

    [November 11, 2012 11:53:29 PM]
    Last one for this batch. I haven't played a Splinter Cell game in some time, but Sam Fisher is different than he used to be. He's faster, more Ezio with the ability to climb around on pipes and window ledges, assassinating people from various positions. He also feels a bit supernatural because of this new "marking" mechanic. So in this game, after you kill an opponent in melee, you can mark up to 4 enemies (depending on your gun). Then you push Y and Sam pops out and headshots all of them. It's really cool to do, and you use it very strategically, say, when you come upon a tough-looking room with 4 or 5 enemies. Well, find the one who is a bit isolated from the rest and melee kill him. Then mark the others, and bam, cleared room. But it feels a little impossible. Yeah, Sam is a badass agent, but really? He can pull off 4 headshots on elite super soldiers in a split second without being even shot at? Skepticism aside, the rest of it is more realistic.

    There is a new cover system in Conviction. I admit to disliking it initially, but it grew on me. You hold LT to take cover. Then if you look at some other color, a contextual icon will appear showing that you can move there. So push A and Sam scurries to the next cover. It's cool, but far too constraining. For one, you can only move to the edge of cover. You can't automatically run to the center of a barrier, for example. Two, you can't move to cover unless the game says you can move to that cover. The cover must be very near. So I can't move to cover that is like 10 feet away or more. I have to get up and run there. I'm not sure why the range is so small. Third, a lot of the stuff you can take cover behind, you can't move to with the autocover button. I'm not sure why only certain cover objects were included. Fourth, if you just want to move around a corner, you can't really do it. You need to 'move to next cover' around the corner, which means looking from the right angle at the right spot at the wall 1 foot away and pushing A. So, this new cover system, it's cool when it's available. Otherwise, it's rather useless, and it would be easier just to have a more conventional cover system that incorporated the player choosing what counts as cover. Sam does crouch all the time, so he moves low. This is a plus at least.

    The enemies are not particularly difficult, and they don't get much more difficult from beginning to end. Actually there are only a few different types. The game is really really short, so there's not much room for additional enemies. Basically the only thing I had to think about was 'helmet or not?' If no helmet, pistol headshot. If helmet, machine gun headshot. They'll try to flank a bit and throw the odd grenade. It's weird that they don't have more tools available to them. Meanwhile, I have sticky bombs, which you can use to scout an area with a camera, or to make noise to attract enemies, or to explode like a bomb. For my part, the noisemaker function never worked. No one was ever attracted to it and I don't know why. I also had remote mines, EMP grenades, frags, smoke and flashbang.

    Sam gets his famous goggles, though improved to see through walls and detect enemies and interactable objects. These also felt a bit overpowered and superhuman to wear. Oh, hey, I can see through walls now. And I was warned, "the elite enemies will have these goggles too." Unfortunately for them, I am smarter than they are, and so even though they can see me, I kill them first. You can also mark enemies through walls with the goggles on, which made it pretty simple to keep track of where they were at all times. This worked like how I recall Far Cry working to tag enemies through binoculars. There were usually several ways around a level to take out or avoid enemies. This was fun and worked to the game's advantage for staying interesting. Often I'd die doing something one way a few times, then go try a different method to see what happened.

    There is another cool thing Conviction introduced called 'last known position.' When enemies spot you, this silhouette of Sam remains in that position, your last known position in fact. You can move away and enemies will converge on where they last saw you. This allows you to flank them, slip past them, and just mess with them in general. For example, get spotted, drop a remote mine, run away and watch them gather there, detonate remote mine. One thing I spent a long time doing on an early level was hanging outside some windows, getting spotted, then sneaking up and pulling an enemy out the window, climbing somewhere else, getting spotted, pulling another enemy out the window, etc. Great fun.

    Story is good, a bit less confusing than these conspiratorial Tom Clancy stories tend to be, which I appreciated. It's all about Sam's daughter and some lies and deception within Third Echelon. The game's presentation has some especially noteworthy innovations. Your objectives are shown in the environment. How to explain? Say you have to get to the White House. When the level begins, the words "Get to the White House" will be displayed on the side of a building or something. Then say you make it to the White House. You go inside, and directly ahead on the wall you see, "Rescue the Vice President." Then perhaps a little audio scene plays through your headset explaining about the VP and the situation within the White House. Bits of video, maybe what is happening to the VP or whatever, will flicker on the wall in front of you. Objectives can be on the sides of cars, anywhere. In fact you can push Select to display your current objective, and it just like plasters it onto whatever surface you're looking at. It's really neat. This isn't a HUD gimmick. It's more like an artistic touch on what's normally presented via menus. I would love to see this idea carried out in other games.

    That's about it. Died a lot, yet not particularly difficult. Many deaths just due to me screwing around. However, any actual hard part was doable usually by going into a corner and shooting whoever ran around it. Felt kind of cheap, but hey. The only part I legitimately had trouble with was the end after I find the Vice President in the White House. A bunch of enemies burst through a couple sets of doors and it's just overwhelming. I tried hiding in a corner (too many enemies, got frag grenaded and flanked), tried tossing all manner of grenades (still too many enemies and they enter in waves), tried opening fire with giant machine gun (too many enemies come too fast, flanked), and finally with some luck I got them by a combination of remote mines, mad machine gun spraying, and trying to suppress one entrance.

    In the end, solid enough game, not my favorite of all the Splinter Cells, also recently enjoyed the Rainbow Six: Vegas games more. Very, very short. And I didn't find anyone on Xbox Live, so I dunno how many people are playing.
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    dkirschner's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (360)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 10 November, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 11 November, 2012

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Good so far. Didn't like the cover system at first, now think it's better. ------- Fun game, short, simple. Very cool environmental objective displays.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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