This game is a mashup of 24, Bond, and Bourne. They haven't left any room for Splinter Cell.
Then they announced the Conviction we have today. At first I was hopeful. Light and Shadow stealth, infiltrating restricted areas, avoiding confrontation. Just like SC as I came to know and love, right? Wrong.
Ubisoft, for reasons I still can't figure out, decided to bring Maxime Beland on as the Creative Director for Conviction. His goal was to fix the series. He failed.
He said flat out in interviews that stealth is boring. Sneaking around is no fun. For whatever reason he assumed that the whole time people have been playing SC that they were really wanting to play a 24 or Bourne game. So, that's the game he made.
Story - Absurd. SC1 through CT had excellent stories. Well told, filled with twists, and what made them great was that they were all plausible scenarios. Gripping, espionage thrillers. Well deserving of the Tom Clancy name. With Conviction, they tossed it all out the window. The story itself is a complete ripoff of 24, including how it is told. The breakneck speed they're trying to tell it at makes everything about it fall flat on its face. The pacing is horrible, there's no tension, it's full of plot holes, and is downright silly (not in a good way) at times. Awful writing.
Characters - Sam barely resembles the Sam from previous games. His two main emotions throughout the game are mad and very mad.
Grim looks nothing like the old Grim, and has somehow transformed from a computer hacker to a field agent. The only thing familiar about her is the voice.
The villains - Villain really fits them a lot better than antagonist does. They're all flat and uninteresting, which is actually surprising considering they look and act like they're ripped out of a comic book. The soldiers you're up against are the most annoying enemies I've ever been up against in a game. They NEVER shut up, and every other word spewed out of their mouths is profanity.
Gameplay - This is what counts the most, and this is where they did the worst job. It plays nothing like old SC games. This game is a shooter. It's not about sneaking around, it's about blowing **** up. The stealth is extremely shallow, and just feels tacked on to make the shooting a bit more interesting. It even rewards you for being detected most of the time, since the last known position feature makes the bad guys run mindlessly towards it while you walk right past them or take them out one by one.
Mark and Execute makes the game unbelievably easy. You barely have to aim (auto-aim is way too compensating, and you can't disable it). Just push a button on them to target them, and push another button and they're all dead.
This game feels like it's catering to 13 year olds with ADD. There's almost no thinking required. It's just explosions, gunfights, and hand to hand combat for 5 hours (yes, it's that short). If it slowed down gameplay in previous games, it's not in Conviction. And considering the old SC games were about slow, deliberate movements, that's almost everything.
Even if I put aside the fact that it's supposed to be a Splinter Cell game, it's still mediocre at best. It's very unoriginal and poorly executed.
The final Tom Clancy series has been ruined. Great Job Ubisoft.