Mark and Kill
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is the latest in a series of games endorsed by spy author Tom Clancy and featuring the character Sam Fisher, part James Bond, part Jason Bourne, part Batman.
Making use of guns and shadows, Fisher blends in and out of plain sight, dispatching enemies with ease and precision in order to complete his aims.
To this end, Splinter Cell: Conviction features a superb new feature, “mark and kill” which allows the player character to mark targets for execution before the command to kill them is issued.
In addition to the single player missions featuring Fisher, co-op and multiplayer games are also available; these take place outside of the single player narrative, and all three gaming modes require your PC to be online.
Plot and Series History
The main game plot centres on a mercenary company performing private security jobs and how this ties into an attempted coup d’etat in the USA.
Once again, it falls to Sam Fisher to uncover the plot and stop it, with the help of a few good people in his service (none of whom he can trust.)
Previous games in the series include Splinter Cell: Double Agent (2006) and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005), each of which feature the combination of stealth with completing missions, and Conviction seems to be a promising sequel to those games. Leaked files in 2007 revealed a very different early design for Splinter Cell: Conviction, and following the somewhat over-sophisticated gameplay of Duuble Agent it seems that Ubisoft have got the franchise back on track.
System Requirements and DRM
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is published by Ubisoft, and as a result features their much-criticised new DRM (digital rights management). Basically if you don’t have an internet connection, you won’t be able to play Splinter Cell: Conviction; and if you do have a connection, it needs to be reliable and fast.
Minimum system requirements for Splinter Cell: Conviction are quite low, with either an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz or Athlon X2 64 2.4 GHz processor as the low end CPUs. Depending on your operating system, the minimum RAM is 1.5GB RAM on Windows XP or 2GB RAM on Windows Vista or 7, while the game requires 10GB hard disk space.
The DRM requires at least a 1Mbps always-on Internet connection, with 2Mbps recommended. Problems with Ubisoft’s DRM on their other games this year have led to criticism of the system and while some early teething problems seem to have been resolved, it has nevertheless become a key aspect of any decision to purchase the game, and will no doubt lead many to avoid buying the game.
Splinter Cell: Conviction is available on several platforms including Xbox 360 and iPhone.
Graphics and Sound
Like many games, Conviction takes advantage of Unreal Engine 3, resulting in some fantastic lighting, physics and realism.
Initial impressions of Splinter Cell: Conviction reveal a game that is quite developed from the one first hinted at in 2007; redeveloped from the original leaked preview version, this game features good character design, realistic colour and a pleasing use of monochrome when Sam Fisher is in “stealth mode”.
The game’s soundtrack once again features Hollywood actor Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall, Terminator Salvation, among others) voicing the player character of Sam Fisher, while Amon Tobin contributes music to key scenes. Tobin’s work on the game is available to download from iTunes.
Convinced by Splinter Cell: Conviction?
If you don’t have a reliable or high speed internet connection, making the decision to purchase Splinter Cell: Conviction for a PC is an easy one; you won’t be able to play it, even in single player mode, without an always-on broadband connection.
This is a shame, as the game looks set to be one of the top action games of 2010. The stealth/kill/mark feature is particularly interesting and it certainly looks as though Splinter Cell: Conviction has got the Tom Clancy games back on the right track.
(Screenshots by author)