Stealth games and I generally don’t get along. Most games in the genre require its players to figure out the ideal route through every scenario and execute to perfection. Anything less leads to instant failure. Even if you’re a stealth game savant, most of these scenarios require a ton of trial-and-error to master. This is a process I cannot stand.
So why would I even bother with Splinter Cell: Conviction; the latest instalment of arguably the premier stealth series? Over the last year or so, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mark of the Ninja warmed me up to the genre a bit more. I’ve heard that this latest Splinter Cell has a more action focus to it, which is definitely a selling point to me. Also, it didn’t hurt that I scored it at the bottom of a bargain bin for a mere $10. Did the gamble pay off?
With this being my first foray into the franchise, I can’t really speak to how this one relates to previous entries in terms of story. What I can say is that I really like the story beats as they pertain to the moment-to-moment action. Everything I did felt like it contributed to the bigger story arch, which I really appreciated.
I was really hoping that Conviction would have a stronger emphasis on straight-up action, but it’s still very much a stealth game. I quickly got overwhelmed and frustrated by how precise I needed to be in order to progress. Dropping the difficulty down to easy helped, as I was able to forge my way over half way through. On easy, I felt like it was still very challenging without forcing me to be perfect. Then I hit a level where I was required to be perfect for a long stretch of time. I died repeatedly; stumbling over virtually every guard as I encountered them. Eventually, I grew frustrated with the whole thing and just quit.
I actually liked what I experienced of Splinter Cell: Conviction a lot. It played like a really great stealth game. The crux of the matter though is the fact that it’s still a stealth game and I still suck at them. I think at the very least I got my $10 worth, though this is ultimately not something for me.