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Splinter Cell Conviction PC is a sell out

Posted on 16th Jun 2010 at 16:38 by Harry Butler with 43 comments

Harry Butler
When Joe reviewed Splinter Cell: Conviction on the Xbox 360 he thought it a highly entertaining spy stealth ‘em up that was, like main protagonist Sam Fisher’s victims, stunningly executed. On PC the game has also received plenty of similar acclaim but after playing it through myself, I can’t help but disagree.

For me, Conviction is Splinter Cell dumbed down to an infuriating degree with much of the stealth and careful approach of its predecessors chucked in the bin for a bodycount that even Jack Bauer would be impressed with. In short, I think it’s sold out everything that made the franchise special. Here’s why - with spoilers.

1) Ze Goggles, zey do nuzzling: Sam’s iconic night vision/infared goggles have been dumped. Instead, in the dark the screen is just black and white. This means that you can ALWAYS see in the dark, reducing much of the sneaky feeling I used to love about Splinter Cell. Now it’s either colourful for 'you’re about to get lit up' and monochrome for 'hiding.' However, if seeing in the bloody dark unaided isn’t enough, later in the game you get magic see-through-wall sonar goggles too.

Splinter Cell Conviction PC is a sell out Baz's rant on Splinter Cell: Conviction PC
Sam Fisher is now a Jack Bauer rip-off

2) Marked and executed: Shooting people in the head is one of gaming’s many joys. Lining up the shot and watching your foe go down in one is always satisfying. With Conviction though Ubisoft has taken even this simple pleasure away, thanks to the game's mark and execute feature. This system allows you to mark enemies (even through walls!), placing an arrow over their head.

Perform a Melee kill and you get the chance to execute, hitting one button that prompts Sam to automatically headshot any marked enemy in range. This might feel great for console users used to clumsy joysticks and for whom a headshot is a rare occurrence but on PC where we have that handy mouse thing, pointing and clicking on bonces is something I’m perfectly able to do myself without the all-powerful magic execute button.

3) Killerman Slaughtermaster: In previous games Sam has been up against North Koreans, Russians and all manner of terrorists but the emphasis of the game was always on stealth. You were encouraged to incapacitate enemies rather than gun them down, or just to sneak past entirely unnoticed. Arguably one of the previous Splinter Cell games’ most satisfying moments was making it through a level unseen, undetected and having left a trail of guards none the wiser to your presence.

However, clearly Ubisoft decided that players today have no patience with this stealth stuff and instead want a pile of corpses because trying to play through Conviction without actually killing anyone is impossible. Want to sneak through a section? Nope, you’ll have to slaughter the staff on duty first. Want to interrogate that gun runner? You’ll have to massacre his army of bodyguards. Sure, have a few levels where all the bad guys have to die but Conviction plays more like a run and gunner than it does a stealth ‘em up.

Splinter Cell Conviction PC is a sell out Baz's rant on Splinter Cell: Conviction PC
Forget sneaking about, just shoot everyone

4) Tools of the trade: In his review Joe commented on the drop in Sam’s gadgets and I’ve little problem with that. It does make for a more focussed game. What I do have a problem with is the removal of basic abilities like being able to move the bodies of enemies you’ve taken out. This means that wherever that terrorist whose spine you snapped falls, that’s where his mates will find him. And then come looking for you. Even if there’s a cupboard or ledge in/over which you could stash the body. This is just plain lazy.

5) Uplay: The Ubisoft save game/DRM system is pretty controversial, but as I have a reliable internet connection, the online sync isn’t really an issue and isn’t one I want to discuss. What does infuriate though is that the game uses universal checkpoints to log your progress, not unique individual save games.

Things that these save games won’t record are which lights you’ve shot out, or where enemy corpses are, or which windows you’ve smashed. This means that at points where you retread your steps, you’ll run into a corner expecting it to be bathed in darkness only to find the guards going nuts, or jump back through a window you’ve opened earlier only to dive through glass - mind you, it's not that this has too many consequences with the new murder-a-thon gameplay.

Right, I think that’s the rant out of my system. To its credit, Conviction wasn’t completely lacking in fun, and as to be expected from a high profile release with Michael Ironside the presentation, voice acting, and writing are all top notch. I just feel that with this game the developers and Splinter Cell have sold out to the run and gun action crowd, and forgotten the game's shadowy roots.

A fan of the Splinter Cell series? Played Conviction on console or PC? Think Michale Ironside is badass? Let me know in the comments.

43 Comments

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pimonserry 16th June 2010, 17:50 Quote
Massive fan of the series, and I agree that Conviction is more of an action game with decent stealth credentials, than a stealth game.
However, I still enjoyed it, and even bought the DLC.
I'm sure they'll reboot it with the next game.

The main bit I am massively disappointed by is the infuriating matchmaking system which can never find anyone, almost ever.

Also, an option to swap the B&W effect for a stealth indicator would've been welcome, the B&W effect hurt my eyes a little and the environments were much nicer in colour I thought.
licenced 16th June 2010, 17:51 Quote
Thanks for letting me know I'm not missing too much - I'm not buying Ubisoft again until they drop the new DRM, but was sad not to be able to get this game
matee 16th June 2010, 17:55 Quote
Haven't played the game yet, but it seems they ruined it. Hiding bodies was very important and I loved it. I'm off to play some Pandora Tomorrow.
Veles 16th June 2010, 18:04 Quote
I'm not too fussed about scrapping the trial and error checkpoint system of the old games. I found it annoying that when you cock up slightly you'd have to go all the way back to the checkpoint and repeat the entire section again, only to find that bit you found easy before is a royal pain in the ass because you keep rushing it to try and get back to where you were before.

I do agree with some of your points though, but I guess Ubi saw that the old style splinter cell just wasn't selling that well any more. I can see why too, I played the first one, really enjoyed it, but after that the sequels just didn't grab me.

I do wish they allowed for more stealthy gameplay, but I like how they've greatly reduced the trial and error aspect of it by allowing you to run and gun more often.
Hovis 16th June 2010, 18:07 Quote
They went the same way with Rainbow Six. I sometimes think gaming intelligence works on reverse evolution, you start out with a game for intelligent human beings, then within a just a few generations, you've got something that wouldn't trouble a helper monkey. I hear for the next Rainbow Six game Ubisoft have done away with the traditional control pad system and replaced it with a plate sized red button bolted to the desktop that you mash repeatedly with your face.
acron^ 16th June 2010, 18:21 Quote
Was a great article until you got on your anti-console horse.
pimonserry 16th June 2010, 18:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by acron^
Was a great article until you got on your anti-console horse.

Well how precise are you with an analog stick? Headshots are a lot easier with a mouse.
Hugo 16th June 2010, 18:47 Quote
Quote:
Ze Goggles, zey do nuzzling
1. Nuzzling with an 'l' - oops.
2. The quote is: "My eyes, the goggles do nothing."
bob 16th June 2010, 18:50 Quote
I saw my mate play this and points 2) and 3) are exactly what I thought.
Yemerich 16th June 2010, 19:03 Quote
I have to agree that "night vision" part.

And the part that this edition is much focused on "shoot'em'up".

What about that sticky camera? It plays a music! That is so strange that even the guards doesn't come close to it! Every time you press c to make the camera "sing a song" makes the guards to walk randomly, and more than 50% of the time they don't even get close to it so you can make it explode.

I also miss that "knock-knock" Fisher used to do in the wall to attract the enemies to a point where we could grab him.

When I was playing, at some point i thought to myself:
"No way they just erased the hide body ability" - and started to press every key in the keyboard (after checking the key config).

To my "half" disapoint, one need to press and hold "c" in order to use the enemy as a human shield and kill him in the shadow.

In the plus side the is those things you can do with a human shield, like throw them (particulary fun when throwing them off edges), bash doors and knock out enemies.

I concur with almost every aspect of this article, but I also agree that the game is great fun and deserves the 8~9 Joe gave to it.

And I am trying to stealth every single stage with hand to hand kills

On a side note "WHERE IS HITMAN?????"
_Metal_Guitar_ 16th June 2010, 20:10 Quote
Conviction was a fun game, I play it every now and again...but it was not a Splinter Cell game. Your character could of been anyone, it certainly wasn't the precise and efficient Sam Fisher.
Nodule 16th June 2010, 20:12 Quote
Hmm, my experiences are totally the opposite to you Harry. I found the game to be fun, but then I accepted it as just a game that happened to be called Splinter Cell rather than a straight remake of a previous game (what would the point actually be of that?) Additionally, although you don't want to talk about the DRM issue - tough. I too have a reliable fast connection. I don't have a problem with the Ubi concept of DRM, I do have a problem with its implementation - utter pants. How many times did I get the irritating box flashing on my screen - I even Alt-Tabbed out to check my connection to find no problem, and on one occasion managed to leave a whinge on the uni forums while the game was having a tantrum.

All in all, I'm not sure what the point of your article is. Your site has reviewed the game - you're not even posting a PC review. You don't want to discuss one of the core issues with the game. What a waste of time for you and people who read it.
GravitySmacked 16th June 2010, 20:23 Quote
I personally haven't got the patience for all the stealth, lose if you step out of a shadow, stuff. I may well pick this game up.
Fizzban 16th June 2010, 20:47 Quote
While I did miss the stealth that the previous games had, I still enjoyed this. It was good fun.
WildThing 16th June 2010, 20:52 Quote
Beautiful rant Harry, there's just nothing like a good old rant! :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodule

All in all, I'm not sure what the point of your article is. Your site has reviewed the game - you're not even posting a PC review. You don't want to discuss one of the core issues with the game. What a waste of time for you and people who read it.

It's not a review, it's a Blog, and in this case a rant. The point is for other members of BT staff to be able to voice their own subjective opinions on whatever they want. Especially if they didn't do the review. Joe did the review, and Harry is just sharing his perspective for those of us that are interested.
Unknownsock 16th June 2010, 23:22 Quote
I bought this the other week along with AC2, although its playable its just dull, too simple and boring in my eyes.

Also the mouse lag this game has is horrible, combined with terrible FPS..
pimonserry 17th June 2010, 00:48 Quote
Turn vsync off.

At least, that's what is the problem 99% of the time I get a new game and there's mouse lag (eg Far Cry 2).
popcornuk1983 17th June 2010, 02:36 Quote
It's not and anti console rant. Harry only mentioned he played it on the PC. He didn't mention a console apart from the opening paragraph!

Agree with most points.

I thought the insta-kill button was a bit pants and it felt dumbed down. Like the developers didn't think I had the skills or brainpower to take down a room full of people. Not having the goggles at the start was a major no no for me. It's a core part of any splinter cell game. Like the crowbar is to gordon freeman.

The tools and upgrades felt totally pointless too. I always ended up using the same guns as there just wasn't enough variety between them. By halfway through the game I just stopped upgrading as it was getting too easy!

It was still an enjoyable experience and they include some nice features.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 17th June 2010, 02:41 Quote
Ah come on nobody likes Splinter Cell: Modern Convictionfare 2. What else did you expect from Losersoft?
spectre456 17th June 2010, 03:26 Quote
Some of your points are fair but you can't really expect them to release the same game they released four games ago. it's good to have things get shook up a bit or else it just gets stale. Look at what happened to the Tony Hawk series. It's a joke now.

Also, the multi-player does look a bit more "stealthy" so i suppose you could get your fix there :/
CardJoe 17th June 2010, 09:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by popcornuk1983
It's not and anti console rant. Harry only mentioned he played it on the PC. He didn't mention a console apart from the opening paragraph!

Agree with most points.

I thought the insta-kill button was a bit pants and it felt dumbed down. Like the developers didn't think I had the skills or brainpower to take down a room full of people. Not having the goggles at the start was a major no no for me. It's a core part of any splinter cell game. Like the crowbar is to gordon freeman.

So if Episode 3 doesn't have a crowbar then it'll be rubbish? Pfft.

Too much weight can be put on this 'iconic' parts of a game. They should be done away with when they are done with. Personally, I'd have preferred Splinter Cell with no goggles and less tech. It would make more sense.

Insult swordfighting is the iconic part of Monkey Island series, because it was in the first game. Still, the best MI game is the one which doesn't have swordfighting at all - Monkey Island 2 - and the worst is the one which attempted to modernise and reintroduce it - Monkey Island 4.
impar 17th June 2010, 10:13 Quote
Greetings!


The game suffers from consolitis and Ubisofts DRM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
So if Episode 3 doesn't have a crowbar then it'll be rubbish? Pfft.
Episode 3 will have a crowbar.
montymole 17th June 2010, 10:19 Quote
could not agree more this sam fisher has been sold out, the game is nothing like the original series, it is not a stealth game you can finish it in day and not everyone wants to play online, if the single player game is so bad why would i want to carry on playing a game that has a built in cheat system (marking head shots trough walls) for me the is a wall hack and a aim bot rolled into one not something i have ever needed i trust my logitech MX518 in a firefight.
As for the DRM ubisoft games are now banned in our house. My copy of conviction went to the local game station , I really enjoyed Assassins Creed 2 but it was such pain i will not be playing the next game so Ubisoft have lost my business, i tend to only buy games through Steam
CardJoe 17th June 2010, 10:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar

Episode 3 will have a crowbar.

It'll more likely be an ice pick.

Bear in mind, Episode One didn't have a crowbar until near the end of the game, when Barney gives it to you. By that point it was more of an in-joke than an actual weapon, since you'd already got every other gun you could.
impar 17th June 2010, 10:40 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
By that point it was more of an in-joke than an actual weapon, ...
You got it anyway. ;)
HL games will have a crowbar.
CardJoe 17th June 2010, 10:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
By that point it was more of an in-joke than an actual weapon, ...
You got it anyway. ;)
HL games will have a crowbar.

Actually, the crowbar wasn't added into HL2 until the very last minute. As I said, it was an icepick before that and it was used mainly for navigation and climbing in the original versions and betas, which included the overall plot of the episodes.
_Metal_Guitar_ 17th June 2010, 10:52 Quote
CardJoe, but they did put the crowbar in though, didn't they?
CardJoe 17th June 2010, 11:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Metal_Guitar_
CardJoe, but they did put the crowbar in though, didn't they?

NO U!

;)
Nikols 17th June 2010, 11:58 Quote
The points mentioned in this blog definately add to the feeling of being shepherded through the game. A lot of the decision making is done for, you, you can sense the designers willing you to use stelth to improve your attack vantage point. You're definately not supposed to get through unnoticed, it's only a matter of time that a guards path dictates a corpse will be discovered. On one hand this adds to the urgency but on another your job as acplayer is to enter room, kill, next room.
chimaera 17th June 2010, 12:18 Quote
I hate to be the voice of dissent but I really enjoyed this on the PC. I was a big fan the original games but was a bit bored of them after four games with the same mechanics and just different scenarios - so from that point of view alone I was glad to see they changed things up in this one.

It was indeed more actiony but I had fun with that - playing though I would amuse myself by trying to take out as many opponents as possible utilising a combination of gadgets, execute and environmental factors in a single move.

The additions to the game (such as the cover system and the co-op stuff) I really enjoyed. In fact the one thing I really miss at this moment is Spies Vs. Mercs which I'm holding out hope we'll see as DLC at some point...

Oh and as far as the Ubisoft DRM is concerned, while I'm sure the first time I have connection issues it will royally piss me off, but so far its been no more obtrusive than Steam has been for me, so I have no real issues with it at this point.
Skiddywinks 17th June 2010, 13:27 Quote
I'm glad I read this. I have been intrigued by SC's new approach, but as much fun as it does look, it doesn't look right. The fact you can't move bodies is shocking, and probably the clearest indicater that they really have dumbed down the game.

I quite like the idea of Mark and Execute though, even on PC. I don't know what difficulty you are playing on, but I kind of had the impression that with the addition of M&E, they would add times when it was really needed to progress efficiently (say there are too many people to kill one by one). If, however, they have kept a similar design, and simply added M&E as a gimmick, rather than a fleshed out feature, well, that sucks.

TBH, the only thing that really looks good to me is the co-op stealthing. It looks awesome.
pimonserry 17th June 2010, 16:13 Quote
Oh by the way, Zero Punctuation (Escapist) pretty much agrees with the article:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/1684-Splinter-Cell-Conviction
Tsung 17th June 2010, 17:14 Quote
To me splinter cell conviction on the PC is an extremely lazy and messy port. All the points Harry made are true, but I'd like to add the following annoyances..

Setting up a multiplayer game is far more complicated that it should ever be. They even forgot to put any form of communication between the two players (I believe voice chat is now in there, but still not typey chat).

Changing controls every time I load the game, is quickly getting very boring. I sent UBIsoft support a ticket stating this must be a Bug and the response was.. Post in the forums, where we can ignore you there.

The Afgan level to me felt totally un-nessecary and turned what should of been a stealth 'em up into Call of Duty clone. Almost like the developers were thinking "yes we can do a modern warfare as well". I suspect the next splinter cell will have the ability to reverse time and wall running.
_Metal_Guitar_ 17th June 2010, 23:01 Quote
@Tsung...the Afgan level was soooooo bad. It demonstrated perfectly why they should have kept the game stealthy...the shooting sucked! It was hugely unsatisfying. Shooting in B: BC2, the guns feel and sound powerful, in Conviction, it felt like exactly what it was, a mouse click.
javaman 18th June 2010, 01:14 Quote
Ive saw the reviews of this game and reviews seem to love it. Yet the community seems divided. I agree with all the points it seems ubisoft have destroyed what use to be a fantastic series. Still want to get this one tho to see how bad it is tho. Kinda like every sims game I get lol
altdoom 18th June 2010, 02:12 Quote
I'm done with ubisoft they are sellouts as a developer nowadays
Aragon Speed 18th June 2010, 07:13 Quote
I have to admit I think the series topped out with Chaos Theory, and has been on a steady downhill slide since. Seems that the developer actually gave this title a helping shove down the ice though.
spenillo 18th June 2010, 15:55 Quote
After reading this, I totally agree they took all of the best aspects of the Splinter Cell Stealth Genre out. I installed Chaos Theory, last night and started playing it again, I love sneaking in the shadows, listening to conversations, moving dead bodies, whistling to distract guards, and the list goes on and on. While Conviction is "Ok" Chaos Theory is really what Splinter cell was about.

You guys should do a "Games I Own" or "Games I Like" on the older Splinter Cell games, I love reading the Blogs, it makes me whip out those classic games, install and play them!
tupera 18th June 2010, 21:03 Quote
Thank you for the insight. I wasn’t going to buy the game based on the DRM, but your review removed any doubt I had about eventually getting the game…well, maybe until the price drops to $5.

This series lost me at double agent when, much to my chagrin, I was not able to upgrade my hacking tool (and other things) due to PC bugs. I did not see a patch that fixed that when I was playing through and once I finished the game, I never looked back. This seems like another prime example of a company willing to leave their PC fans to appeal to the console crowd.
popcornuk1983 19th June 2010, 00:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
So if Episode 3 doesn't have a crowbar then it'll be rubbish? Pfft.

Too much weight can be put on this 'iconic' parts of a game. They should be done away with when they are done with. Personally, I'd have preferred Splinter Cell with no goggles and less tech. It would make more sense.

Insult swordfighting is the iconic part of Monkey Island series, because it was in the first game. Still, the best MI game is the one which doesn't have swordfighting at all - Monkey Island 2 - and the worst is the one which attempted to modernise and reintroduce it - Monkey Island 4.

Fair point Joe. Agree on you with the MI comparison. I didn't explain my point very well. I didn't mean that SC should have the goggles just for goggles sake. As Harry mentioned, instead of relying on your goggles to see in the dark. The developers removed this option by giving Sam owl o-vision. To me this seemed very unrealistic and would have preferred that the goggles stay in the game as a main gameplay mechanic. As IMO, this was an enjoyable part of the previous games. Well up to chaos theory anyway....
Achilleas.k 30th June 2010, 13:56 Quote
WOW! I had no idea. I fell in love with the series from the first game and I knew there were changes coming in conviction but this is ridiculous.

No goggles, no stashing corpses/unconscious people, no real stealth, moronic save-game system. I'm staying clear of this game thank you very much.
Nippaditty 20th October 2012, 22:12 Quote
I just started to play this game a month ago. I have some questions.

(1) in my game ( PC ) I'm playing on Rookie, but yet I have like 2 to 3 Bad guys on every level. When I go on the YouTube walk Through they have 1 or none bad guys in the Garage. This tells me even If I picked Rookie,, I'm playing a higher level game.

(2) How do I get my guy to do Roll overs and Slides across the floor ?.
it does not have this in the manual. Is there a site I can get these options ??.

Thanks
Nippaditty 21st October 2012, 01:53 Quote
i have been playing this game in the last month. i have a few questions.

(1) in my game ( PC ) I have playing level at "Rookie",,, yet I have bad guys everywhere. When I go to Youtube walkthrough It shows like one bad guy or none ( In the Garage area ) . My game has at least 6 bad guys. So I think,, even if I have it set on Rookie , I'm playing some higher level.

(2) How can I get my guy ( Sam ) to do Roll overs or Slides across the floor?. It says nothing of that in the manual.
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