Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Splinter Cell Conviction

Anyone could make a unique game. Here, I’ll make one know, it’s called Mixy Advenutres and you direct a dying rabbit through the woods and into suburbs, in search of a vets. Along the way your senses slowly decrease and I’ll right the whole thing off as a metaphorical critique of capitalist society. I’ll get Johnathon Coulton to add an ironic, feel good pop song finale and I’ll use communist colouring to appease the art crowd. Sorted.
But making an action game in 2011 that not only works but is fantastic is quite another thing. The market for shooters is far beyond saturation and the ultra-competitive world of triple A video games mean taking this risk could ultimately bomb your entire studio.
 Conviction is the latest entry in the popular stealth franchise Splinter Cell, following Sam Fischer foil a coup on America, y’know, like every other Tom Clancy game/book/film/board game. This title however updates the formula, you no longer have to be stealthy, but playing loudly will get you killed quickly. It’s a fantastic pay off instead of being forced to arbitrarily be quite to want to stay silent. When you’re detected the ensuing shit storm is appropriately frantic and difficult without being cheap, and it’s this motivation gives the game much of its appeal.
Instead you’ll want to climb and hide in places and slowly pick off the bad guys, which is fantastic fun. The mechanics don’t work so well in real life, if you shoot someone and the survive you have telegraphed your location, but a combination of melee, shooting and gadgets give the game a one of its kind guerrilla feel. Within the game it’s implementation is absolutely superb. You always feel outgunned and like you’re relying on your wits, and as you skulk around messing with the guards you realise this very unique experience. I guess it has a lot in common with the excellent Arkham Asylum, but replaces the adventure aspect with tight action sequences and a faster moving narrative. That’s not to say the game is restrictive, it gives you a location or objective and lets you make your way there.
This game also has some of the best game design in the business. Everything from unlockables to achievements to multiplayer to even the menu system is a breeze to navigate. It has the A.C.Es style system from Vegas 2 that encourages you to play the game inventively, varying your style. These points carry over everywhere and landmarks are rewarded with achievements. This game goes out of its way to make sure you exploit its fantastic mechanics to the fullest.
The co-op is also superb; it’s basically a mini campaign that is involved with the single player story but with less emphasis on interruptive story.
I cannot emphasis what a breath of fresh air this game is, delivering a joyous experience greatly missing in today’s market. The gameplay has infinity depth and by my time with this game was through I was effortlessly breezing around the map having a great time. Even if you don’t like stealth Conviction is a fantastic experience as is well worth picking up. I happily put about 30 hours in so it may be more of a purchase than a rent.

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