Tag Archives: Splinter Cell

Splinter Cell: Conviction

It’s rare to find a game that’s gone through as many delays, redesigns and overhauls as Splinter Cell: Conviction has and still turns out to be any good – it’s not called ‘development hell’ for nothing – so imagine my surprise to find out just how good this game is. My main complaint is that it’s not Chaos Theory, which remains one of my favourite games ever – I lost an evening to it just the other day – and while I can forgive that because very few games are that good, the fact that it doesn’t try to be is my problem.

I guess it’s the same thing that has happened to Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six, both once unflinchingly realistic and now barely recognisable near-future Hollywood blockbusters of games. I’m still waiting for a ‘proper’ Splinter Cell in the vein of the Xbox games, because both Double Agent and Conviction have tried to do something new. Sam Fisher has slowly changed from a Solid Snake knock-off to his current form as an amalgam of Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer. Not the most original character, I’m slowly realising as I type this, but regardless, the series has always been a favourite of mine and now it’s barely recognisable.

But taken on its own merits, I had a brilliant time with Conviction. It was a short time, admittedly – seven hours or so by my estimation, without starting on the co-op campaign – but I stand by my conviction (sorry) that I’d prefer a great 6-7 hours to the same thing stretched out to fill 12 or more. I was satisfied by the end of it.

So it’s not bad; it’s just different. There’s no non-lethal option here beyond avoiding encounters entirely, so it’s far more of an action game, and indeed some sequences, whether a foot chase through Washington DC in broad daylight or a straight shooting sequence in Iraq, simply would not work within the framework of the original trilogy. As long as you can forgive the fact that this is not your usual Splinter Cell, but rather a new take on the same story that’s a good game in its own right, you’ll find an interesting experience. Really there’s nothing, least of all the official Bourne or 24 games, that makes you feel like such a hard bastard.

Regardless of your opinion of Splinter Cell old or new, I guarantee that you will crack a smile when you get the drop on a room of five enemies, mark four of them, and then quickly follow a headshot on the fifth with a tap of the ‘execute’ button to take down the others before they can react. It’s incredibly satisfying when it works like that, and even without the impetus to push for perfection in your playthrough that always pushed me through the previous games and the best in the genre, it’s good to finally have Fisher back.

Now let’s just have a proper new one, okay, Ubisoft?

Busy Times…

Just a quick post, really, to say that I’m still around and this site isn’t dead, and with any luck I should be back to business as usual before too long. A mixture of moving house and having to get Internet access sorted, deadlines at work, and not actually playing that many games for a combination of the aforementioned reasons has conspired to keep me away, and the relative dearth of news hasn’t helped. But with a return for a series that I have an affinity for next week – I’ve already been through the demo several times, and I’m chomping at the bit to get my hands on the full thing – as well as some potentially interesting developments, I foresee plenty to talk about.

In other words, reports of my disappearance were an exaggeration. More soon.

Best of 2005 #5: Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

Metal Gear Solid may have popularised the stealth action genre but I’ve always thought that the Splinter Cell series did it better, with all the post-modernism thrown out and a fully 3D camera, which I find essential to any game requiring the awareness of your surroundings that a stealth game does. The camera was the main reason I gave up on MGS3, as without the radar but with the anachronistic camera I found it frustrating beyond belief to have to keep switching to first person to see beyond the top of the screen.

Pandora Tomorrow expanded on the first game and added that fantastic multiplayer mode, but suffered from annoying difficulty spikes that detracted from things. By handing development back to the original team for Chaos Theory, we got significant improvements to the gameplay as well as some of the best graphics of that generation. The campaign was long and had variety (the Seoul level is a particular standout moment, and its setting in an urban war with you as a neutral shows similarities to MGS4), and the way that you were ranked on your ability to go undetected and avoid killing anyone encouraged perfectionism that’s unusual for me, actually getting me to go back and replay the game when I’d finished it.

When you factor in an improved version of the multiplayer and an entire co-op campaign with online play, this is one of my favourite action games ever made. Splinter Cell Double Agent is going to have a lot to live up to now and I really hope it can manage it.

Splinter Cell 4

While checking my newsreader today I was naturally drawn to the screenshots of Splinter Cell 4, which is looking rather impressive, and considering how good Chaos Theory was I’m definitely interested.

What really blew me away here was that I thought those screenshots were from the Xbox 360. I noticed that they weren’t in 720p and that they looked quite poor on some sites, but I just assumed they were leaked or something because the texturing and lighting was so nice. Imagine my surprise then, when I found out that those shots are from the Xbox version. I can only assume that the 360 one is just going to look fantastic (if not completely next-gen), and I really can’t wait to see how phenomenal one written from the ground up for the 360 – presumably Splinter Cell 5 – will look. Hopefully the apparent change to the gameplay and setting won’t be detrimental and won’t just try to turn into a clone of Chronicles of Riddick, no matter how good that was.

Chaos Theory Review

My review of Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is available here, finally released from the half-written purgatory where I left it. Anyone who’s seen my previous comments about the game probably realises that the score was something of a forgone conclusion but I hope you still find my thoughts on the game interesting.

Splinter Cell Rocks

The wait for the PAL version of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is killing me. I should be able to get it tomorrow, in advance of the official UK release, but it’s still too long. I wasn’t even looking forward to it that much until it started getting incredible reviews but now I’ve gone back and finished Pandora Tomorrow (got pissed off with the Jakarta level on my original playthrough), played the demo a couple of times, and watched every video I can find of it.

If you don’t hear from me for a few days chances are I’m somewhere behind enemy lines. This whole series is brilliant.