The stealth war is heating up, with Kojima Productions announcing Metal Gear Solid: Rising and Ubisoft showing off Splinter Cell: Conviction at this year’s E3 2009, it begs the question ‘Who’s going to remain top of their game?’
“What Happens Next is up to You”
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction follows the story of Sam Fisher, an elite operative who used to work for a top secret government agency. But, when Fisher finds his daughter Sarah dead, things might not be so clear cut as first thought. Fisher cuts all ties with his former unit, executes his boss and former friend and goes on the path for vengeance.
At this year’s E3 Maxime Beland and Alexandre Parizeau showed us the first ever ‘Live Demo’ of Conviction, which begins in a graffiti run down toilet somewhere in the beautiful Republic of Malta. This is the first time you see Sam, and things are about to get ugly as Fisher slams his target into a wall and begins with the new interrogation mechanics of the game. Sam will use a wide array of moves to obtain important and crucial information from his subject by slamming them in to hard surfaces such as sinks, doors and glass mirrors. You will also begin to see Facial swelling, bruising and cuts from the complete destructible environments and models. The end justifies the means.
From the outset you’ll see an important part of the game, which has not before seen in the SC Universe. In Splinter Cell: Conviction you’ll notice that Ubisoft have used a ‘wall projection’ method of updating your mission objectives and cut-scenes, keeping you fully immersed with a cinematic feel to the game. When a loading screen appears, even the most hardcore of us gamers feel the need to put down the controller and put the man who invented loading screens on their hit-list. In Conviction, you can put down your pen and notepad as Ubisoft have created full High-Definition movies to keep you occupied, which not only keep you connected with the game but provide insight into ways of completing your mission, by locating possible enemies, possible entrances’ and other neat features that will enhance your game time and time again.
“Like any man, when he is pushed to his limits, he’s capable of anything”
Being an elite operative you’d expect Sam Fisher to have high quality gadgets to help him along his way, unfortunately even a top international spy can’t afford such equipment without the financial backing of his former agency. Luckily one thing the agency taught you was your powers of observation your willingness to adapt to a situation and to improvise. Our first glimpses of improvisation were when Fisher smashed the wing mirror of a car to use as a low-tech peaking tool, like the fibre optic cable found in previous titles. Don’t fear though, when Fisher returns to Washington later in the game, we’ve been promised some very special gadgets.
Completing your mission objectives can be achieved in a wide array of ways, you can approach a building via the front door, back door or climb the building and find an unlocked window. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to scope out before you proceed. When going through the front you can distract guards by setting off Car Alarms and hide amongst the crowd. In the Live Demo Fisher decides to ascend the side wall in complete darkness, open the window and use a new feature to the franchise – Mark & Execute.
Whether looking under a door with Snake Cam having the enemy in your ‘Line of Sight’ or hanging from a cold metal pipe, Mark and Execute will give players the chance to lock-on to a target, and with the press of a button, mark their target, and with a pull of the trigger execute with speed and precision, giving you your very own Jack Bauer moment. While this may sound easy, Ubisoft have made sure this is a balanced feature, which players will have to ‘earn’ by performing special kills on unsuspecting enemies. Each guard will have a dot above their heads indicating whether you can lock onto them (Grey) or if you can perform a move (Red), once this turns red you know they won’t be in the next Splinter Cell as you send blood squirting across the marble floors. (Poor Cleaners)
In previous Splinter Cell games, your amount of stealth was monitored by a Meter, which would allow you to see whether you were in complete cover or may be exposed if an enemy should happen to look your way. Thanks to modern technology and Ubisoft’s commitment to bringing you a fully immersive package, you’ll now be able to see just how stealthy you are by the Light and Dark options. When fully exposed the game will become very bright, letting you know that you may be spotted. When you are fully hidden the game will almost go Black and White – giving you complete control over your game with no need of a Heads up Display (HUD).
One of the coolest features in this writer’s opinion is the Last Known Position. When an enemy may have or definitely has spotted you, a white silhouette will appear next to Sam. Once this appears it will give you split seconds to hide in wait and be patient for an enemy guard to patrol your Last Know Position and take him by complete surprise. If hiding isn’t something you like, why not wait and take the guard hostage and blast your way out of a sticky and most violent situation, or flank an enemy and come up behind him. Conviction gives you the choices that you crave, giving the player a fully diverse and replayable experience.
“He’s looking for Answers for the Truth. The man who played by the rules who listened to the voice in his ear. He’s gone, so watch your back; I can’t stop him – No One Can!”
His daughter has been murdered, he’s been betrayed by the ones he had served with merciless conviction and professionalism. He will not sleep. He will not stop and he will:-
STAND BY HIS CONVICTIONS!