It only takes a few minutes with Splinter Cell: Conviction to realize that Sam Fisher is a new man. He’s done knocking out enemies, hiding their bodies, and working solely in the shadows. What we get in this departure from Ubisoft’s previous efforts is a far more cut-throat, revenge-driven experience than what the franchise has been known for in the past. For the most part, it comes as a welcome change, as Conviction offers a tightly-scripted, intense campaign, and multiplayer features that combine to make it an unforgettable experience.
Splinter Cell: Conviction likely has the highest amount of profanity of any recent release. When sneaking around, expect enemies to ceaselessly shout expletives and derogatory remarks. The cursing is even more exaggerated and pointed during firefights. While many mature gamers may have become accustomed to a lot of foul language, Conviction also crosses new territory in its approach to violence. Most of the missions are designed so that Sam arrives at his “target” at the end. This is usually a character who needs to be interrogated. To be blunt, this involves torturing them until they talk, though Sam’s brand of torture mostly consists of bashing them into nearby objects. The fact that these “interrogations” are at the end of levels has the effect of glorifying the violent, revengeful nature of each situation. Indeed, Sam’s journey here is soaked in blood and riddled with cursing. He is a character drawn to appear equally deadly hand-to-hand or at gunpoint. The game is full of situations that demonstrate this point, and they are all verbally and physically graphic.
Ubisoft has allowed Sam Fisher and company to lead the way with this installment. Conviction has the look and feel of a new chapter in the franchise, and it’s refreshing to see the developer not try and keep things within the confines we’ve come to expect. Yes, this adventure is far grittier and less graceful, but it manages to preserve just the right amount of stealth, opening itself to a wider audience but not alienating the long-time followers. The theme of family works very well, and though the extreme language and violence will push many away, it’s easy to sympathize with Sam and understand his motivation. Conviction may be a stark departure, but don’t assume that you know where Sam Fisher will show up next or what he’ll be doing. He has a way of catching people off guard, and that’s something that’s not likely to change with the times.
» By Devin Wieland, Plain Games. Published 6/3/2010 11:03:03 PM.