Splinter Cell: Conviction Final Hands-On

With Sam sneaking into stores next week, we have a last-minute play test of Fisher's stealth-'em-up.

Next week, Sam Fisher comes sneaking back onto store shelves in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction. We've been playing through the majority of the single-player campaign and chronicled some of our exploits prior to its release on April 16.

From the get-go, Conviction treats you to some great visuals, with a fancy title menu leading through to a meaty and memorable opening sequence. Conviction uses "projection storytelling," which is a new and innovative way of driving the plot forward without cutscenes. This technique is used to advise players on what to do and where to go by highlighting key areas to climb or use for cover. After the second chapter, the tips stop appearing as often, leaving you to work things out for yourself. The mechanic doesn't feel as intrusive as tips appearing up on the screen, leaving the projections to highlight Sam's emotions, key story points, and mission objectives.

The main campaign will apparently last up to 12 hours and can be replayed in a variety of different ways. Each time we replayed a level, there were different routes to be explored and new strategies to execute. The inclusion of the persistent elite creation system also encourages you to try out all sorts of play styles, such as performing silent headshots or repeatedly pulling mercenaries out of open windows. If these PEC objectives are completed, Sam is awarded points that can be spent on upgrading weapons and gadgets, as well as unlocking uniforms or accessories for the game's co-op mode, Deniable Ops.

While you start off with a variety of silenced pistols, the assortment of weaponry soon develops into submachine guns, shotguns, grenades, mines, and even a portable electromagnetic pulse. These offer Sam a good range of equipment and a choice to storm a room using firepower or to sneak in to kill targets silently. There are three other core features: mark and execute, last known position, and the light and shadow filter. Mark and execute really changes the Splinter Cell formula. It may have come under fire from longtime fans of the series, but mark and execute makes a carefully planned assault feel immensely gratifying once pulled off. For example, while infiltrating a building, we marked three guards under a door before dropping into the room from above, taking out a guard in the process before tapping the execute button to watch Sam swiftly take out the remaining guards using headshots. The last shot always slows down time, which lets you truly appreciate the planning and perfect execution.

Last known position makes the stealth action more accessible. The feature gives Sam the ability to sneak away into the shadows once spotted, leaving an outline of his last known position on the map. There are several points in Conviction where Sam is pitted against large groups of guards, and if you are not keeping an eye on each of them, then you risk being detected. Of course, if you are quick and can break the line of sight, last known position can work to your advantage, letting you take out any curious guards who happen to investigate. The light and shadow filtering switches the colour scheme to black and white, indicating that you're out of enemy sight. It is slightly reminiscent of Velvet Assassin's colour change feature, but Splinter Cell still highlights certain objects in colour, such as explosive barrels, traps, and targets. You know instantly when you're not in the cover of darkness because the screen reverts back to full colour. While it's a simple feature, it certainly makes a difference to the gameplay and regularly saved us from being detected.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is shaping up really well, but for the final verdict, be sure to check out our upcoming review.

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

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Discussion

95 comments
dkyletaylor
dkyletaylor

@haris9211 It's possible, but if you were trying to sell a game you wouldn't want to make it look worse than it could be.

dodow1234
dodow1234

agree with poster below me, great game plague with stinky drm, no way Im gonna pay for this game if they keep putting it. I'll just "obtained" the game through other means if you know what I means, I'll still play the games, but I'm not paying it for this violation of consumer rights. Shame on you Ubisoft

octoberwind2007
octoberwind2007

Hmmm, released for Pc tomorrow. I should be excited, but I'm far from it. I purchased Ubisoft's giant smelly dog-turd of a game Silent Hunter 5 day one. Enough said ? I have fond memories of the first 2 splinter cell games. Then came Chaos Theory with the BS DRM Starforce, which after all this time and even after dropping Starforce from thier future games, Ubisoft STILL has yet to release a patch to remove this dangerously intrusive DRM. Then came the bug-ridden Double Agent, Again NO PATCHES FROM UBISOFT ! It's pretty obvious Ubisuck does not care about legit paying customers such as myself and tons of others if you read up on these games. Gamespot is pretty much a brown-nosing enabler to company's like Ubisuck and do not sufficiently warn their readers. I for one will NEVER buy another Ubisoft game due to this treatment and due to the new DRM. Some of us do not live at mommy and daddy's house where we have an internet connection ALL OF THE TIME. Some of us (your customers) pay bills and have family's of their own. F*** UBISOFT ! They've lost a customer who has Paid full price for every one of their past games, usually the first day they were released. No More, Good Riddens SWINE !

Rich949
Rich949

"Variety of silenced pistols"? There's TWO in the beginning of the game.

leemass21
leemass21

this is a good game but too short and can be abit dodgy control wise i just bought it today and have completed it today took about 7 hours on normal which is poor really i was expecting more, but on the other hand it does have multiplayer and a coop campain.

gameslayer2010
gameslayer2010

Pass the Java, I'll be up all nite, til the break of dawn. SC Conviction looks great. I only hope it the control scheme is not bad, like the demo. But either way im gettin the game.

thevoyce
thevoyce

i find it strange that no one is mentioning the akward control scheme in the game. i played the demo and the control scheme had me stumbling through the whole thing. it just doesn't feel natural. i hope they have an option to change the config otherwise this game is not going to work in my books.

prince
prince

Apparently this game wasnt popular enough here to have a "Midnight Launch." Thats such bull - cant wait to play this later todat though!!

haris9211
haris9211

@dkyletaylor sometimes demos make a game look worse so maybe the real splinter cell conviction is even better than the demo!

mosE_D
mosE_D

It's going to be like the other 3 Splinter Cell games - A+

dkyletaylor
dkyletaylor

Amazing demo Im hoping the full game is as good but can a demo be better than the real game? Well any way Im so excited looks awesome!!!

nubowner
nubowner

i feel so sorry for gramkos, ive seen him get beat up in EVERY single special for splinter cell, and i cant wait to do it my self in the full game.

shakensparco
shakensparco

As someone who has beaten all the games, I'm nervous about the game being too easy. But I'm very angry they took the best feature out of the game: Spy VS Merc gameplay.

-Fable-
-Fable-

I've played the demo multiple times - epic game!!! cannot wait to get my hands on the full version!

flowjo69
flowjo69

looks very average , definitely not buying unless the online stuff proves worthy, either way meh lost planet 2 is my next biggy

SouL-Tak3R
SouL-Tak3R

Just put the rest of my money down the the 360 bundle. Tonight I'll be staying up late for sure.

muzmyyster
muzmyyster

i think haters are making to big a deal its worthy of the splinter cell name and its time to move on but if u don't want to u can still play it like you used to your just more brutal such as interrogations and mark and execute aside from that and last known position nothing has really changed you can still play whatever way you want to play. Haters get over it or stop posting annoying negative comments.

prince
prince

Has anyone else noted how much controversy the games length has been having in forums and internet sites, or is it just me? It is kind of getting ridiculous - I mean, the final game has not even been released yet (p.s. can't wait for tomorrow, im gettin it right after my exam) and commentators have been pegging this as "bullS*$t". Even if it is short, the replayability sounds fantastic - I mean, a lot of people on this forum have played the demo multiple times and can't get enough. The game is going to be great, no doubt! I can not wait and I think the heat on the length of the game needs to be seen in a wider and more refined perspective. This is defintiely going to keep me preocupied until the beta for Halo Reach get released...

advanracer
advanracer

IGN rated it 9.3! LOL. They must of hired "Smarter Non Biased Staff Members" unlike..this..Gamesput.site.

advanracer
advanracer

TOMORROW!! I CAN'T WAIT!!! GONA BE GOOOD!!..BOOMBOOLAH!

funnysplay
funnysplay

-haddydimer- ive also played the demo like 10 at least loved it, one thing that did kind of annoy me was the last known location thing. when in a fire fight and you dont feel like sneaking away it still constantly pops up getting in your way when your behind cover trying to pop out and blast the enemys, it is clear but still hope when the final game releases it doesn't appear so often.

haddydimera
haddydimera

I've played the demo countless of times and I can't wait. Come on Xbox don't Red Ring me tonite!

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

I've never really been a huge "stealth" fan for games. But I'm currently deep into "assassins creed2" on the PC. Considering the advances in gameplay for both that and - what appears to be - Splinter Cell (yes, I know there are a lot of haters who are put-out by some of the rebuilt mechanics of this franchise), I must say, I am now really, REALLY looking forward to playing this. ... possible first day purchase for me now I think. I am intrigued

Mills79
Mills79

I don't understand why some people think this game will suck? They fixed the cover system and they improved the controls so it does'nt take away from the action. This is how a SC game should be. Can't wait!

Tuppe666
Tuppe666

I thought this was delayed to 30th day? I need some more time on AC2 and then I can get on this :D Got my money ready, but I will check out the reviews first becase its multiplatform game.

Excedra
Excedra

9.3 IGN WOOT!!!!!!!!!

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

@bochap76: Sorry, that was uncalled for. Maybe my previous comment was a little too harsh. You do make some ridiculous assertions though.

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

@ bochap76: I gave you a thumbsup by accident. I therefore feel compelled to comment on the fact that you're an idiot. While I enjoyed the previous SCs, it was the plot and character development that I enjoyed, not the utterly arduous trial-and-error gameplay. That doesn't make me any less of a hardcore SC fan, it simply means I'm not a masochist, like you clearly are.

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

It kinda feels like gamespot's going overboard with spoilers again. There's a respectable allowance for spoilers in previews and a half-serious warning in the video before hand doesn't give you a free pass. I think too many people are griping about a game that is clearly very good. So what if it's different from previous SCs? The stealth mechanics in the old SCs were all flawed. This actually improves on the basic stealth, plus adding some (optional) tactics that make the action part of the game more viable. It's a fun experience. STFU or go be a ***** on IGN.

FearXecutioner1
FearXecutioner1

Man cannot wait to get my hands on this game. Iam a huge fan of splinter cell series

Georg_Maximus
Georg_Maximus

You can name your dog Cat, but it's still a dog. They can name this game Splinter Cell, but it's still anything but.

Vishant
Vishant

I like the fact that Sam Fisher, Ex-Navy SEAL is now harder. He's an ex SEAL gone rogue, so what were you expecting? He is angry, so no more Mr. Nice Guy

Vishant
Vishant

I like the fact that Sam Fisher, Ex-Navy SEAL is now harder. He's an ex SEAL gone rogue, so what were you expecting? He is angry, so no more Mr. Nice Guy

heyguysitsme
heyguysitsme

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Dr_McTeabag
Dr_McTeabag

Zeniftan, the people bashing the game are previous fans of the series, so your halo comparison doesn't work. Bungie actually pleases and listens to its fans, unlike Ubisoft who doesn't know how to sell a good game without dumbing it down and adding a million explosions. We are "bashing" it because it is not what we want our favorite series to become. This is a terrible direction for this franchise and it is becoming less unique by the minute. I too will wait and see for sure, but it's not looking good for a lot of us.

dakan45
dakan45

This game gets too much hype. I hope its worth it.

alucardme87
alucardme87

I got the game early, don't ask me how. Till now i've played the game for quite more than 6 hours, appreciate all the aspects of one mission then move to the next but i keep thinking i come back for more. I've just got to Third Echelon HQ. The game is pretty sweet, the story is told very innovative and clever, thank to the project scenes without mind blowing graphic, who need god graphic when we have a style to make thing right. The cutscenes are sick. I like the way Sam get more and more equipments. At first yes i fell movements of Sam are too fast, but it's not too fast, it's fluid, there's nothing like those @bochap76 guy said, like step in the wrong direction. We're in another day and age, awkward control should be reduced. And no, you can't go rambo the hell out of the enemy, you want mark and execute, you have to earn it by take down enemy. The enemy are more crowd now, so mark and execute is even to them. Who don't like it, don't use it, creep in the shadow like the old day, no more complain. I don't know what waiting for me in the op mission and multi mode. As far as i progress, no such thing like disappointment pop in my head.

EnzoF66057
EnzoF66057

the game seems pretty sick, but I'm just really not a fan of the color scheme changes according to shadow and light. I prefer to see everything in full color, not black and white. Maybe it will be helpful, but I foresee it bugging me in the back of my head

zeniftan
zeniftan

I'm getting the feeling that the SC series is another one of those series, like Halo, where it becomes almost popular to rag on it even when the version that they're ragging on hasn't even come out yet and they're simply doing it to be a member of the herd. I prefer the "wait and see" approach, instead of the "rag on said product, and then change my mind once I've played the game. Claiming I always thought that they'd do a good job in the first place."

solbadguyxx
solbadguyxx

I liked both CT and DA and i also liked to play the demo of Conviction. I don't know what's wrong with these people complaining so much about the game,if you don't like the new direction that the game is taking,then go play CT for the rest of your life.What these guys want? The same kind of game,over and over again? For God sake,at least they're trying to change,trying to do something different than its predecessors,why this need to be a bad thing?

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

I'm really looking forward to this game, playing the singleplayer (which has been amazing on previous SC games), the co-op mode(which i love the idea of), and i don't know about multiplayer, but if it has one(and if it works, unlike DA's) then i will look forward to trying out that to.

Vorthar
Vorthar

If you want your precious knife, go play DA or CT. I think it's good it changed a bit.doesn't always have to be the same.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

@ bochap76 i played and really enjoyed CT & DA which were both great games. you may be right about some of what u said, but i think it looks like it will be a good game, with some interesting new features. i would really like playing on co-op on this game, and am hoping that they will get the multiplayer right on conviction (unlike DA), but i wouldn't want that to compromise on the singleplayer, which for me is what SC is all about.

bochap76
bochap76

This game is a huge step in the wrong direction; hardcore SC fans beware! Let me start by noting Sam Fisher is older , but yet he is moving about like prince of persia( the hand over hand ledge running is unrealistic and distracting for true fans. I like the LKP in the previous installments, (it was there but with no transparent silloette. I am no graphic whore, but honestly some of the objects (i.e. vehicles) looked dated and out of place compared to other models. Other than the resolution being higher, there isn't much difference between Double Agent. and Conviction graphics wise. Overall it feels like a dumbed down experience that has shifted toward co-op and multiplayer. This is no doubt so Ubi can capitalize profits with DLC, but it may cost them the franchise when people acutually play it and discover that it is Splinter Cell only in name alone. Even though Sam is more ruthless in this release the hand to hand combat feels weaker and the absence of the knife for close combat and stealth kills is a huge disappointment. Sam may be more violent in conviction, but felt way mor lethal in CT and in DA. To each his own, but those that loved CT & DA, with their Clancy inspire stories may want to avoid conviction; it is not the game that we have come to love.

dvdjedi
dvdjedi

@ endersgone It does say before the video even starts that there's spoilers.