Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction Hands-On Preview

We went hands-on with the E3 demo of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction.

When Ubisoft unveiled the new-look Splinter Cell: Conviction at E3 in July, it immediately topped many people's "Best of Show" lists. Despite being a hands-off demo, it was impressive enough to beat out Halo: ODST and Mass Effect 2 to win GameSpot's own "Best Xbox 360 Game" award, as well as the "Best Action Adventure Game" award. So we were fairly excited when we received an offer to actually go and play the game for the first time, and after getting firsthand experience of the action, we drooled over in Los Angeles.

Our hands-on demo covered exactly the same ground as the E3 build--a spectacular 10-minute set piece that sees rogue agent Sam Fisher infiltrating a mansion to hunt down a man connected to the death of his daughter. If you're unfamiliar with the demo, read our E3 coverage or check out the E3 stage demo to see it in full. There was only one problem with the E3 demo--seeing the game producer effortlessly blast through the game doesn't really compare to the final experience you'll have with it. During our play test, we used a number of different playing styles, from stealth to guns blazing, and also tried to do some crazy stuff to test the game engine.

Long-time followers of Splinter Cell: Conviction may remember that when the game was originally unvelied, the developer emphasised the crowd dynamics and how non-player characters will react to your behaviour. The beginning of our demo level contained a crowd of people going about their business--walking around the market and drinking in the coffee shops. We decided to draw our weapon and fire into the air, and sure enough, it resulted in panic spreading through the civilian populace. It also resulted in guards coming to investigate what was going on, which means we were killed shortly after.

Ubisoft production manager Andreane Meunier was also on hand and emphasised that the guiding principle for the team was to avoid frustration. "You should feel like the ultimate predator," she said, bringing up an image of a panther on her presentation slides. As part of this revised design consideration, dead bodies can no longer be dragged and hidden from other guards because Sam's just too badass to worry about such trivialities. We tested this new gameplay mechanic out on two guards outside the mansion. We sneaked up and executed the first guard, then got out of sight before the other patrolling guard found him. He approached the dead body and exclaimed, "F***, he's been killed!" before altering his patrol pattern to scout the rest of the area. In another nice touch, he peeked around corners and became more frustrated as time went on, calling us a "douchebag" to try to tease us out of the shadows.

Our session also revealed that Sam's trademark night-vision goggles--which have been the iconic imagery of nearly every game in the series--will not feature prominently in Conviction. Instead, when you're hidden in shadow, a visual filter will help distinguish enemies and interactive objects. Meunier hinted that the night-vision goggles will make a limited return later on in the game, but they will be supplied along with other gadgets by your new network of allies. These include the sticky camera, which allows you to queue up "mark and execute" assassinations, and electromagnetic pulse grenades, which can be used to take out lights so you can hide more easily.

Finally, we got to play around with Sam's new hostage-taking capabilities. If you approach enemies and hold X, you can hold and interrogate them, and you can then press X again to execute them. You can also push forward and X to throw hostages into enemies, disorientating a number of people while you either take them down one by one or run for cover. Performing executions like these allows you to build up points for the aforementioned mark and execute move, allowing you to use your camera to scope out an area and then take down multiple enemies at a time.

While it was fun to uncover some of the mystery behind the flashy E3 demo, Splinter Cell: Conviction was still at its best when played as the ruthless assassin. The developers have done a great job of making you feel like a predator, and thanks to Sam's increased athleticism, you can be hanging from window ledges, sliding open windows, and pulling enemies out to their grisly deaths in minutes. We were unable to draw Meunier on any multiplayer details, but we're sure Ubisoft is planning a seperate reveal in the future. We'll be sure to bring you more news as we have it.

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

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Discussion

145 comments
thenephariouson
thenephariouson

rockgirlDMC, Its by the same team that made the original and 'Chaos Theory', therefore it will most definately be better than 'Double Agent'.

rockgirlDMC
rockgirlDMC

This game look good, better than Double Agent. Hopefully better! but I gonna miss cut scenes!! :(

masters89
masters89

Can't wait !! and For crying out loud enough with the delays. I really Like Ubisoft & Naughty dog games.

yamato_musashi
yamato_musashi

I dunno why, but after completing Batman Arkam Asylum and watching the demo for Splinter Cell Conviction. I'm beginning to see some similarities bewteen the two games such as mixture of fast-pace action with stealth elements. I think this is a good combination because pass Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid games basically left you too vulnerable, like if you get spotted your basically dead because the chracter controls so clumsily.

irwin888
irwin888

If anything, this game has only gotten better since it was first announced. Can't wait to hear what they're doing with it next!

billaboy69
billaboy69

loved Chaos Theory.didnt like Double Agent.this looks like a whole new reformat of sam fischer gameplay.I enjoy the stealth...and of course,hearing my knife sliding into someones back..this game looks promisiing.,very DIFFERENT,especially with no night vision...lotta changes,lets hopel...pray with me...

Turk130
Turk130

This looks seriously good, can't wait for it!

chkmode
chkmode

but roof climbing is almost same as assasin creeds

chkmode
chkmode

assasin creed didnt appeal m much..but that looks fantastic

chkmode
chkmode

i cant wait to get may hands on it

pakdad
pakdad

Is he really Sam Fisher or a new character with the same name?

RonTorque
RonTorque

Was a fan since and still a fan.

techzilla77
techzilla77

I'll be so glad when this is finally available.

phantomonlygame
phantomonlygame

I love this game. The splinter cell series is a famous series in my country. I’m from iran .all of Iranian gamers love this series. Wait is hard , but ….

JB2B
JB2B

Love the series and I think this one will give a whole new spin to it.

CRYSIX
CRYSIX

I LOVE THE SPLINTER CELL SERIES. BEST STEALTH EVER.

brain20035
brain20035

I don't just get it, is this coming to PC or not???? first they said that Microsoft has said that this is an Xbox360 exclusive, now they post a preview for it on the PC page! WTF??!! I mean I will be so happy to see this coming on the PC but I want to know if I have to keep waiting or not!

ShadowRayden
ShadowRayden

They killed his daughter, don't be surprise if that spur a man into action well beyond his means. In that sense I have no problem with Sam's new abilities in spite of his being older. Game looks great.

snake3rules
snake3rules

the footage in the video above looks great ... dont know if it was in the E3 demo, as I didnt see it, but this makes it look way better than the caps I saw from E3 Although its really dark... Maybe its the recording method GS chose, but it is almost too dark... And I dont see why they've essentially removed the night goggles and stuff ... the 3 green lights is like the series' signature trademark, and the newly implemented visual system sounds unnecessarily unrealistic -- This isnt GRAW.... or even batman AA, which still requires bats to don a visor to see such info... And I agree about hiding bodies .... if they want to make the game less frustrating for some people, thats fine-- but removing major stealth options to do that is NOT, especially in a splinter cell game for cryin outloud But dont get me wrong, Im getting this either way.... (although I wish it were on ps3, too-- better more precise controls, IMO)

Jim60360
Jim60360

id rather they delay it over and over so they get it perfect rather than playing a half ass version.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

A stealth game that require body hiding sounds like fun and realistic.

CRYSIX
CRYSIX

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS ONE. GREAT STEALTH GAME.

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

why not on PS3!!?!? FINE!!! ill buy a 360 again... just gota wait till i get paid ...stupid ubisoft....i thought u were my friend!!! :( cash_chabuk i totaly agree with you, ubisoft has taken off eventho it is part owned by EA i still think Ubisoft Montreal is the developer to rule the world!!!

tntgrunge5
tntgrunge5

looks great, but hidding bodies is imperative.

Cobretti1818
Cobretti1818

Game sounds and looks great......but...... not being able to hide bodies is lame.

cash_chabuk
cash_chabuk

I think Ubisoft is the best games developer now.

Meejoe27
Meejoe27

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

id_phantom
id_phantom

The previous games in the series were only the Beginning.This is what we've been waiting for.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

Patience is a virtue. Good games are like fine wines, it requires time and shouldn't be rushed. I look forward to playing this while other games will be out before then.

BrendanBox39
BrendanBox39

It would be so dank if Ubisoft came out with this game, and then a revamped Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory with like 20 extra levels. I want to play this new Sam Fisher, but I also love the old sneaky-sneaky stuff. Too bad I've played CT like 15 times...

KentTalbert
KentTalbert

By the way, anyone else think it's hilarious that the older Sam gets, the more bad ass he becomes?

KentTalbert
KentTalbert

So it's all about killing, now, is it? At least in the other games it provided an option not to kill most opponents, now it seems Splinter Cell glorifies violence. There are so few action games that offer this choice and I can't help but feel sad that they've gone the way of most developers. Plus the story seems to have been heavily inspired by Taken, another story that glorified violent judgment. Oh well, I suppose there IS another MGS game coming out so I can't frown too much.

xtremeflem2day
xtremeflem2day

Dont worry that it is pushed back, it takes time to make a bad@ss game. Would you rather be playing a glitchy, shallow game in 2009 or a bad@ss fast paced stealth game in early 2010?

lathan94
lathan94

This game looks awesome, If the multiplayers is amazing, meaning they change up the spy vs mercenary formula. This is a day one purchase.

Serpens_Solida
Serpens_Solida

Looks arcadish. He's too agile. This saga has lost it.

maximan99
maximan99

it says that it is going to be on ds, is that true? i hope it is

FeltNormal
FeltNormal

geart stealth work wonderfull ways to kill enimeis

gedbyz
gedbyz

I wish I had it already.

JoshZA
JoshZA

Whether he's going to revenge or avenge his daughter lol, one thing is for sure... This is going to be one good game. Lets face it, after all the years creeping in the shadows... maybe it's time for Fisher to show a his ruthless side. A side I've been waiting to see for a VERY long time! :)

ukogmickey
ukogmickey

I dont like the look of it at all, It looks like a better version of Kane and Lynch and even thats kind words. It just dont look like a Splinter Cell game. Only my opinion Im not sure how other fans of the series feel.

-ScorpionKing
-ScorpionKing

i mean revenge his daughter (sam's daughter) (^__^)a.lolz

Metalprofi
Metalprofi

@ScorpionKing...REVENGE YOUR DAUGHTER???...what the f#$%...