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CES 2010: Splinter Cell Conviction

Posted by: John at 1/15/2010 7:28 PM
Splinter Cell Conviction was just recently announced as being delayed for another few months but that didn’t stop me from getting a peek of it at CES this year. Ubisoft had a setup at the Dolby booth

Now, the new thing shown at the show is Deniable Ops. It’s the third type of game you can play in conjunction with the single player story mode and co-op mode. Deniable Ops is split into four game styles: Hunter, Infiltration, Last Stand, and Face Off.

Hunter and Infiltration are similar except for one aspect. In both of these modes, you traverse the map hunting down your enemies. X amount of enemies need to be eliminate before you can advance to the next part of the level but getting discovered will bring forth more enemies to deal with. In Infiltration though, being discovered means game over so it’s all stealth in that mode. The amount of enemies can only increase once per level in Hunter mode so if you are discovered again after the first time, there won’t be any more additional reinforcements.

For Last Stand, you have to defend a certain object on the level from the enemies. You’ll need to use various techniques to try and distract the enemies away from their target and this can be done in different ways both alone and with a partner. It sounds like an interesting concept to have your partner get discovered on purpose so that he can try to lead them away from their objective.

The last mode is Face Off and it’s you against another but with enemies in the level that will attack both of you. They’re not going to discriminate so not only do you have to content with the other person on the map but also the AI as well. I can see many ways to try to screw the other player and utilize the enemy AI to your advantage. For those that just love to mess with your friend or someone else, this sounds like the mode for you.

The first three modes can be played in single or co-op mode while Face Off needs one other to play with. What I was shown was Hunter mode in solo mode and let me tell you it was a blast to play.

The levels shown were a combination of outdoor and indoor styles that offered various architectures and designs. As Archer, you have various tools in your arsenal to try and eliminate all the enemies. One that should be familiar to Batman: Arkham Asylum players is the EMP. A signal fans out from Archer and any enemies that it contacts will show up on screen. To prevent players from constantly having it on, like I did with Batman, the signal degrades as you move making it hard to see anything on screen. It’s only when you are standing still that it’s clear to see. I think this is a smart decision as it forces you to not just play in a mode that makes it easy to spot the enemies.

One really fun feature I played with is the execution mode. To be able to use this you first have to take down a few bad guys by sneaking up and doing a close quarter execution. After doing this a few times you can then tag enemies that you want to eliminate. If one or two are in line of sight, pressing one button can take them out quickly with your firearm. It’s a pretty handy feature should you want to eliminate multiple enemies quickly and easily.

I was pleased at how Archer moved throughout the environment. He easily hopped through windows and over obstacles. One of the cooler things to see was Archer sliding into cover and it becomes helpful when there’s a few folks firing at you. You can hang on ledges or on pipes above your enemies which then lets you do a drop down kill.

For a game that relies on you to hide in the shadows, Splinter Cell Conviction has a nice visual cue to let you know when you are hidden. The graphics will turn black and white from color to let you know you’re in the shadows. It’s a simple and effective way to notify you of your visibility to others.

The game does look gorgeous and I love how there are instructions that are a part of the environment. I tried to play both stealth and action mode and had fun with both. Yeah, it was a lot harder to take down the enemies when you aren’t sneaking around but it was a different style that was interesting to try out. Splinter Cell Conviction’s looking pretty damn solid and a title that I’m anxiously awaiting. It looks like it’s got three solid gameplay modes to keep you busy for many, many hours with what sounds like a solid story mode and some fun multiplayer modes. Let’s just hope the game isn’t delayed too much longer though.