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Looking for conviction

This latest title has a fresh ideology, but lacks good gameplay and graphics.

tech reviews Updated: May 11, 2010 17:37 IST
Avinash Bali

Sam Fisher has changed. The man who once was a loyal secret agent now finds himself on the run from the same agency he dedicated his life serving. After his daughter’s death, he is very bitter and angry. Free from the moral chains that restrained him, Fisher can now be brutal. It’s this aggression that’s been captured well in his latest outing, Conviction. This has caused the series to play around with its ideologies, but if you have an open mind, you may appreciate the new direction Splinter Cell has gone in.

Change in demeanour
For Conviction, Ubisoft has made Sam more predatory. Not only does he move faster, he’s more agile and aware. In older versions, getting spotted triggered an alarm. Here it ties into new gameplay mechanics called Last Known Position (LKP). Interrogation techniques are good to look at but disappointing to pull off. The one aspect that pulls the game down is its brain dead Artificial Intelligence. On normal difficulty, guards were oblivious to my presence. Also, the age-old niggling issue of becoming invisible when in shadows raises its ugly head here. This gameplay was fine in 2005, but definitely not today!

These drawbacks are not as cumbersome in the co-operative campaign. There’s also a versus mode where you go up against a level full of enemies. It’s fun as long as you find a server to play on. The co-operative campaign can be also played solo.

Visually, Conviction is a mixed bag. There are times when the game looks nice while some levels aren’t very good. There’s also screen tearing, and while Sam’s character design is top notch, the enemies look generic. I have no qualms about the new direction this franchise is headed in. I do, however, have a problem with the gameplay, which felt repetitive, restrictive and boring. I loved the new Sam Fisher and the brutality he brought to the table. This game may be a bittersweet pill but for action junkies, it’s worth trying out.

What we like
Sam Fisher is a completely changed person
Co-op mode is a blast
Is visually a mixed bag
Slick presentation
Mark and Execute looks cool

What we don’t
Interrogation techniques are a bit of a letdown
Gameplay can get repetitive
Brain dead AI totally kills the experience be too simple for fans of the series