I never played much Splinter Cell multiplayer—in fact I haven’t been back to the series since the third game way back in 2005. After playing the Splinter Cell Conviction
demo at PAX East I think I’ll have to get back into it. Splinter Cell Conviction is shaping up to be a bold new direction for the single player campaign, but it’s also bringing the cooperative mode back with some new tweaks.
I played about a half hour of the co-op and the first thing I noticed was that the flow was a lot smoother. Splinter Cell has always, for better or worse, involved a lot of trial-and-error. While you still can’t go hog-wild in a level, emptying clips in a mad frenzy, you don’t have to be super-sneaky either. Getting detected is not the end of the world; in fact, killing enemies is an expected part of co-op now. You and your teammate can engage large groups of enemies tactically, back to back if need be, and still make it out alive.
If you go down during combat, your teammate can revive you with a quick jolt from the shock paddles. When incapacitated you aren’t helpless, though. After taking a disabling shot you’ll lie prone, and enemies will think you’re dead. Once they’ve passed your “corpse” you can sit right up and shoot them in the back, then continue to pick off other thugs until you take another hit or your friend gives you a zap.
Of course, stealth is still quite rewarding. Methodically working your way through a room, performing silent takedowns and headshots is very satisfying, especially when you and your buddy work together to distract a guard and maneuver him into a great kill position.
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with Conviction’s co-op but from that small taste it feels like a much more intuitive, manageable experience. It doesn’t have the stop-start nature of the previous games and the teamwork allows you to adaptively work through even bad situations where you’re surrounded. I’m definitely readying my load-out for the game’s April 13th release, and I look forward to playing through it with my brother.