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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

A nocturne of shadow

Grade: B

Rugged, stealthy and most likely a quasi-ninja, Sam Fisher is the essence of man. The Special Forces operative once again sneakily takes away hours of player's game time in the latest addition to the franchise, Splinter Cell: Conviction.
Solid Snake's American counterpart has once again seen major success in the latest iteration of the Splinter Cell series. Yet, while this game has a lot to offer in the areas of stealth and assassinations, the length of this blockbuster makes the game a questionable buy at best.
Conviction, is not for everyone. In fact those still entranced by Infinity Ward's latest work, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, will perhaps be turned off by the distinct difference between their beloved run-and-gun shooter and this stealth-laden series.
The game does revamp what made their old games good in order to make this chapter of the franchise great in order to appeal to a much wider audience.
For many gamers, Conviction is worth renting just to get some hands on experience with the incredible "Mark and Execute" feature. Imagine, Fallout 3's V.A.T.S. without specific body part targeting, but can be extended to multiple enemies. A few clicks to mark the targets, press the execute and voila, up to 4 enemies are on the floor.
The game would be too easy if this feature was available all the time, so to make this skill harder to obtain, developer Ubisoft decided to require a hand-to-hand kill for each "Mark and Execute" command.
Another new aspect of the game is the "Last Known Position" marker. Once detected by an enemy, a white outline of Fisher will appear where he was last spotted drawing all nearby soldiers to that spot. This becomes useful later in the game when the player can be seen, disappear into the ceiling, and drop down behind the unsuspecting guards for a quick and easy kill to get another chance to "Mark and Execute."
The plot of Splinter Cell: Conviction picks up three years after the events in Splinter Cell: Double Agent. For those who skipped the last chapter, Fisher's daughter was gunned down, and he's not happy about it. The search for the killer won't be an easy one, as treachery and deceit are two of the core principles of Third Echelon - Fisher's former employer.
Those unfortunate enough to be caught by the player will undergo a plethora of enhanced "investigation techniques," a term used very loosely in this game. This may involve bashing a skull into a car door, smashing them through windows, or if they're lucky, a bullet to the brain.
Although these feats are easily executed by the powerhouse that Sam Fisher is, this Superman mentality will be torn apart seeing how a few bullets can effortlessly bring down the protagonist.
The A.I. of the enemies can be incredibly inconsistent. They are either incredibly smart and will not be easily fooled by the player's trap or they'll literally stand still as Fisher knives a half dozen of the unobservant enemies.
However, that's not to say the game isn't hard. The game will test the player's intelligence and skill, as most of the environments in Splinter Cell: Conviction are full of noise producing objects. A few misplaced shots into a fire extinguisher can absolutely ruin a so far tranquil killing environment.
The game is not very forgiving to players who choose to follow the way of a normal action game, and death is imminent to those who mistake Sam Fisher for Master Chief. Therefore this game is limited to a very specific style of gaming, making players who want to mow down enemies feel like a n00b as they have to repeatedly listen to the same annoying check point dialogue over and over again.
For those new to this Tom Clancy inspired realm, this game is definitely worth a rental, but for those who relish stalking their enemies in the comfort of the dark, Conviction is absolutely worth the pick-up.




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