Splinter Cell: Conviction Catch-All

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I'd say it was looking good, but I wouldn't lie like that. The game is looking AMAZING. Hyperbole? Not when Splinter Cell is easily on the top of your favorite franchise list as it is for me.

Ubisoft has given a sneak peak video out showing what looks to be the first portion of the game. They show tons of the new features that really help to both speed up gameplay and make it more intuitive and easy to navigate. There's the new interactive "cutscene" bits (no, not QTEs), Sam's increased agility to climb and scale objects/buildings, the kill "queue" system for quick enemy kills (also useful for taking out lights and other things), the ghost of Sam appearing where enemies last saw you (instead of having you guess, and fail guessing where you think enemies will move) for when you're doing your stealth bits and the projected story telling technique where they simply project mini-cutscenes, mission information and objects straight onto the environment. The wait definitely looks worth it for this one, they even turned him back into regular, non-emo Sam!

Gameplay walkthrough.

Non-emo? Thank you, Jebus!

The kill queue and the last known location ghost are blemishes on an otherwise fantastic looking game. I'm not a fan of games automating actions, or getting really hand-holdy.

The AI of Chaos Theory was very good about tracking down Sam in a way that was very intuitive, scoping out sounds and changes in the environment, as well as searching for Sam based on his last known location rather than psychically zeroing in. I'm not really sure what purpose the ghost is supposed to serve that wasn't already present in the form of enemy speech, actions, etc.

This game wasn't even on my radar until I saw the gameplay videos, and now it's pretty much a day one purchase for me. The combat looks brutal, and the use of makeshift gadgets instead of fancy spy gear is pretty neat. The projection stuff is a cool idea that seems to be executed well.

Want.

Fantastic!

I liked the mark-and-execute feature. To me, the fun of these style games is in the planning of a room takedown, rather than the execution. I like the idea of spending my time figuring out the correct order to nail guys in order to pass through without raising an alarm, and then just issuing the go ahead. The aim controls are never up to the quality of what you find in Halo or CoD, so I'd often prefer to just let the game make the 2 rapid headshots that I have specified. If that strikes you as too hand-holdy, well, don't use it

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

The kill queue and the last known location ghost are blemishes on an otherwise fantastic looking game.

Agreed. Seems too much like a cheat or a gimmick in a series that doesn't do gimmicks like Max Payne's bullet time. And those projection things on the walls will probably be as distracting and annoying as hell.

I'm so glad they did a rethink on this game. Must have been a hard decision to abandon their 'crowds are the new stealth' approach.

The new trailers have all the things I wanted from a new Splinter cell. Back to the classic Sam Fisher look, great animation (I hated the animation in splinter cells 3 and 4) and familiar stealth play but with a slew of new mechanics. Conviction has gone to the top of my want list (although it's fighting for the top spot with Assassin's creed 2 and Mass effect 2.)

Can't wait.

Wow - incredible. Love the new elements...neat to see the franchise not only carry on but with fresh ideas.

Mr Crinkle wrote:

I like the idea of spending my time figuring out the correct order to nail guys in order to pass through without raising an alarm, and then just issuing the go ahead. ... If that strikes you as too hand-holdy, well, don't use it :)

I also like planning out my approach to a situation. One problem with this is that with the speed Sam can automatically and accurately fire, it doesn't matter what order you do things in. It's the necessity of calm execution that lends the planning stage its relevance. But you're right, it's almost certainly something I can pretend isn't there. And Ubisoft is pretty good about customization of interface, so there's a good chance I can turn off the ghost as well.

The projections I'm on board with if it means I don't have to watch cut scenes or mission briefings. I'm all for seamless.

I haven't played a Splinter Cell game since the first one was released on PC and this was very impressive. It looks like they took out pretty much all of the stuff I didn't like about the original and did it in ways I couldn't have imagined.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:
Mr Crinkle wrote:

I like the idea of spending my time figuring out the correct order to nail guys in order to pass through without raising an alarm, and then just issuing the go ahead. ... If that strikes you as too hand-holdy, well, don't use it :)

I also like planning out my approach to a situation. One problem with this is that with the speed Sam can automatically and accurately fire, it doesn't matter what order you do things in. It's the necessity of calm execution that lends the planning stage its relevance. But you're right, it's almost certainly something I can pretend isn't there. And Ubisoft is pretty good about customization of interface, so there's a good chance I can turn off the ghost as well.

I just loved the 'shooting two guys from the window' moment but, the more I think about it, the more I think the mechanic could take away from the rest of the game. It doesn't seem to be restricted in any way (In Rainbow Six a similar mechanic was just for breaching rooms wasn't it?) Gun fights could become way too easy or too gamey. As you say though it could be ignored.

I don't mind the ghost, although you could lose it and still have guards go to the point where you vanished.

Higgledy wrote:

I just loved the 'shooting two guys from the window' moment but, the more I think about it, the more I think the mechanic could take away from the rest of the game. It doesn't seem to be restricted in any way (In Rainbow Six a similar mechanic was just for breaching rooms wasn't it?) Gun fights could become way too easy or too gamey. As you say though it could be ignored.

You could target two guys in Rainbow Six Vegas in a similar way, but it was just to communicate to the other characters who you wanted shot. The main character did not automatically take out targeted enemies.

Amazing.

The projected objectives presentation is crazy-fresh.

Like others have said, this went from "Oh yeah, there's a new Splinter Cell on the horizon." to "Day ONE!".

Reaper81 wrote:

Fantastic!

No, it won't be "Fantastic" until we get some more of your fan fiction. I still laugh recalling those. Especially the interviews of the "survivors" of one of your team's slaughterous missions.

I'd link to them but I am lazy.

It doesn't seem to be restricted in any way (In Rainbow Six a similar mechanic was just for breaching rooms wasn't it?) Gun fights could become way too easy or too gamey.

I could be wrong, but it looked like he could only use the auto-kill technique when he wasn't already in an active combat situation.

To me it seems like the action game equivalent of driving assists in racing sims. It's there to let a less skilled player approximate the effects of being more skilled, and lets them feel like a badass. More skilled players will likely find that the automation doesn't always achieve exactly the desired effect, though, and will choose to turn off the feature (if possible) or simply not use it and instead retain full control of the encounter. So assuming the designers do things right and don't create scenarios that can only be overcome through the use of the auto-kill feature, this actually could have the opposite effect of dumbing the game down. The developers can continue to create challenging and interesting scenarios that will be engaging for hardcore players secure in the knowledge that less skilled players now have a tool that keeps complex content accessible to them.

What's more, like Forza's "line assist" it could potentially serve as a learning tool for those who actually care to develop the skill set demanded by this type of game but lack the constitution to do so on their own. If I am correct and you can only get the mark/execute to happen when you have the drop on the enemy, then the system essentially encourages a player to behave as closely as possible to the ideal in order to set up their kills, and then rewards them for doing so by automating the execution of the plan (and making them look cool even if they lack twitch shooter skills). This will help new (and clueless) players find the right way to behave, and then if they want to take the next step it's very easy to progress from there to working on developing the ability to do the precision aiming and firing on their own.

Holy... that looks so much better than what they were planning before! Crap, there are far too many games coming out soon(ish). Is the 2009 / 2010 season the new 2007?

zeroKFE wrote:
It doesn't seem to be restricted in any way (In Rainbow Six a similar mechanic was just for breaching rooms wasn't it?) Gun fights could become way too easy or too gamey.

I could be wrong, but it looked like he could only use the auto-kill technique when he wasn't already in an active combat situation.

To me it seems like the action game equivalent of driving assists in racing sims. It's there to let a less skilled player approximate the effects of being more skilled, and lets them feel like a badass. More skilled players will likely find that the automation doesn't always achieve exactly the desired effect, though, and will choose to turn off the feature (if possible) or simply not use it and instead retain full control of the encounter. So assuming the designers do things right and don't create scenarios that can only be overcome through the use of the auto-kill feature, this actually could have the opposite effect of dumbing the game down. The developers can continue to create challenging and interesting scenarios that will be engaging for hardcore players secure in the knowledge that less skilled players now have a tool that keeps complex content accessible to them.

That makes sense. You could well be right.

Am I the only one disappointed by this? The old version of Conviction looked really cool and fresh, like a mix between the Hitman games and a modern urban "Assassin's Creed". Three years later and we get just another generic action game. I liked the different look he had. Heaven forbid we control a character that isn't yet another Duke Nukem ripoff in our games.

Aaron D. wrote:

Amazing.

The projected objectives presentation is crazy-retarded.

Like others have said, this went from "Oh yeah, there's a new Splinter Cell on the horizon." to "I'm not getting this because of gignormous objectives the size of f'ing skyscrapers".

Fixed. Nothing ruins immersion more than billboard sized objectives displayed all around the environment. WTF was Oobisoft (why does everyone pronounce it this way) thinking with this design? Why can't Sam pull out a PDA and get the objectives like a true operative? Trying to be different here fails miserably and honestly, it's probably a deal breaker for me. I'll rent it...but only because I truly enjoyed all of the previous installments except Double Agent.

93_confirmed wrote:

Why can't Sam pull out a PDA and get the objectives like a true operative?

And who's going to be sending him these objectives? Sam's working solo, remember? He's not an operative anymore.

The PDA method is much more immersion-breaking for me, since it usually plays out in one of two ways:
1) You're forced to watch the character stare at the PDA, preventing you from interacting with the world while this occurs.
2) Suddenly the game UI is replaced with some giant fake PDA screen, pulling you out of the game entirely.

On the other hand, the projection method seamlessly integrates with the game world, removing the need for any cumbersome and unnecessary interruptions. It's also an interesting way of visualizing Sam's goals and thought processes, since this time around he's choosing his own objectives. Last, but not least, it's new and unique. I've stared at pip-boys, PDAs, cellphones, etc. in far too many games already. It's time for something new.

I'll have to respectfully disagree on that one.

While the PDA assignment-giver is more realistic, it's nothing we haven't seen before...even more so for objectives that magically pop up on screen as text in other games. I find this presentation in SC: Conviction incredibly unique and aesthetically interesting. As such, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for the pure innovation presented. It seems to flow so seamlessly in the game world, that it feels as though the gamer can just flow though the levels without interruption. This makes me consider the idea that it actually may be more immersive because the user isn't encumbered with stop/go menu navigation in order to follow directives. Instead, the player is constantly moving and pressing on inside the game world, for lack of a better descriptor...based on the demo at least.

To me, it's an authentically artistic take on the Dead Space/Fable II bread-crumb trail navigation system, esp. when you factor in the story narration that is also going on with this same projection feature.

Who's to say if it will grow thin hours into the game, but I have to give genuine props for something so seamless and unique.

Is this developer walkthrough on Xbox Live? I simply have to forward it to a buddy of mine who won't catch it online (PC).

muttonchop wrote:

It's also an interesting way of visualizing Sam's goals and thought processes, since this time around he's choosing his own objectives.

This was my impression, too. They're trying to communicate to the player what is going on in Sam's head in a way that isn't too obstructive. Like when they shot a little reel of his daughter's crash, and Sam climbs right over the wall it's being projected on. I thought that was pretty evocative of how he would be getting these little bursts of emotion, but pushing through them to remain relatively level-headed.

I was sold. And I haven't gotten into a Splinter Cell since Chaos Theory or Pandora Tomorrow.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

The kill queue and the last known location ghost are blemishes on an otherwise fantastic looking game. I'm not a fan of games automating actions, or getting really hand-holdy.

The AI of Chaos Theory was very good about tracking down Sam in a way that was very intuitive, scoping out sounds and changes in the environment, as well as searching for Sam based on his last known location rather than psychically zeroing in. I'm not really sure what purpose the ghost is supposed to serve that wasn't already present in the form of enemy speech, actions, etc.

I hate to say that you just don't get it when it comes to the kill queue feature, but I know how you play Splinter Cell (very similar to the way I play it) and it's simply not a feature designed for stealth purists. On the other hand, people like a friend of mine, who play Splinter Cell practically like an action game with a convenient way to hide from enemies when you need to reload. That's who the feature is designed for. That doesn't really excuse it, and if it becomes a necessity to progress then it will be an issue, but it fits in line with making the game more fast paced and action oriented (or at least providing much better options for that path.)

I like the idea of the ghost, but more importantly I like what looks to be better tracking of Sam by enemies when spotted. The Chaos Theory AI was good, but like every stealth game I've played it could turn into a crap shoot during any situation as to whether or not enemies would find or track you in a really sensible and believable manner. And when you were spotted in Chaos Theory, it was almost always an instant death (even more so on the harder difficulties.) I'm hoping the ghost is another one of these optional features, if only for purists. It does serve as a nice pat-on-the-back feature like the line-assist in Forza as noted.

Rat Boy wrote:

And those projection things on the walls will probably be as distracting and annoying as hell.

It looks like they only appear when you're in a non-enemy situation or during the interactive cutscene bits. If they start playing them while you're trying to focus on tracking enemies, it will definitely be a problem, but it doesn't appear to be that way. I really like the way they're trying to cut down on the HUD or rearrange context sensitive actions onto the enviroment in a more intuitive way. Infinitely better than having a box in the corner with 5 options to choose from.

kuddles wrote:

Am I the only one disappointed by this? The old version of Conviction looked really cool and fresh, like a mix between the Hitman games and a modern urban "Assassin's Creed". Three years later and we get just another generic action game. I liked the different look he had. Heaven forbid we control a character that isn't yet another Duke Nukem ripoff in our games.

I think Ubisoft passed the social-stealth torch over to the Assassins Creed team (which was arguably poorly implemented and hopefully fixed in AC2, but thats another thread.) There's also no word on whether the social stealth segments have been eliminated, or if they're simply one of the increasing amount of options you have to deal with a situation.

I was extremely impressed at what little we saw, definitely on my radar and I think I'll give SC: DA another try - unfortunately I never made it past the first level. This definitely reminded me of the Bourne movies and what the game should have been.

kuddles wrote:

Am I the only one disappointed by this?

Apparently. NOW GO TO YOUR ROOM!

Well, maybe I misunderstood (or was too ADDish to pay attention to the developer commentary) but I was under the impression that Sam was getting those displayed "objectives" from some one or some organization. If those are his thoughts and desires instead then the projection does make more sense.

Definitely some good looking stuff in there. Some stuff I'll have to be convinced about though. *wink wink*

muttonchop wrote:

And who's going to be sending him these objectives? Sam's working solo, remember? He's not an operative anymore.

Yeah, that'll last about 5 minutes.

I just dug up and dusted off my Collector's Edition of Chaos Theory. This game was beyond awesome for it's time and still holds up well compared to action/shooters on the 360. The scriptwriting for Sam and the enemies is priceless and it really adds to the desire to interrogate anything that moves. I really hope Ooobisoft can return SC to it's older days and recapture the glory lost in Double Agent.

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