Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Splinter Cell: Conviction Demo Impressions

Yeah, so I’ve played this demo through 17 times now. 17 times, and it’s been different, invigorating and exciting each time. The interesting thing is that while it still has the ambient feel of a Splinter Cell game it plays completely differently and, dare I say, it’s the way I’ve always wanted to play Splinter Cell.

Sam Fisher has become a complete badass. In previous installments he was almost like Spiderman, hanging from above and making funny quips when he takes guys out. Sam Fisher liked his job and he had fun with it, sometimes it was like he was toying with guys for the lols. Now he’s angry and he doesn't have time for screwing around.

Spiderman would have said something like "Ouch, that can't be lucky" Or some shit. Moments later Fisher just kicks this guy in the beans.

The main difference is the ease in which you can take enemies out, but also the strategy you must employ to do so efficiently. You have the ability to ‘mark’ up to three targets and then, should you put yourself in a position to have an unobstructed line of sight to each of them, you can simply press a button to have a slow-motion head shot take down before they can react. They don’t even have to be in the same direction. If there’s two in front and one behind Sam he simply shoots the last guy by crossing his arm under his armpit and shooting without even looking.

Okay, so he looked this one time. I promise that usually he's so badass he doesn't have time to look. This was just like, an off day or something.

The caveat is that to refresh the ability to execute in that fashion Sam must get his adrenaline pumping by taking someone down in hand to hand combat. Let me tell you, that stuff is just as efficiently brutal as anything you’ll see in God of War. I would really rather not be punched in the throat with a gun.

So the puzzle of Splinter Cell is no longer one of hanging from a rafter waiting for the guards to pass so you can sneak into the missile silo. The puzzle is sorting out how to eliminate all of the guards in the most efficient and deadly way possible. See, as far as I could tell you can’t pick up bodies and hide them as in previous version. I guess Fisher just doesn’t care anymore. So what you find yourself doing is attempting to kill everyone in the most efficient manner possible. With the new Sonar vision you can actually size up an entire warehouse and plan out how you’re going to go about enacting swift death with about 3 seconds of sonar viewing. Then, you leap from the shadows, break a man’s neck, shoot a locking mechanism dropping an engine chassis on 2 guys and then one, two, three guys with silenced bullets in their head. When the Foreman comes out to see what the hell just happened he gets a kick in the knee and two bullets through his ribs. I guess Sam Fisher just like, owns the warehouse now. That's how it works right? It's his.

Aw man, now we can't even rent it out for parties or whatever.

The stealth mechanics feel just right. It’s forgiving while still being challenging, especially on the realistic setting. And it’s much clearer whether you’re hidden or can be seen. The game feels gritty and angry and you find yourself both flinching at the brutally but nodding with grudging respect as Fisher removes every obstacle in his path in his search for the man who murdered his daughter. In fact, if you’ve seen 2009’s ‘Taken’ then you’ll know exactly how the game feels. I for one will be pick this gem up come April 13th.

Until next time, remember that two deadly assassins are better than one.