Nick's Gaming Blog

Youtube Video of The Day 2-22-2010 (Splinter Cell)

Now that I’ve spent more than enough time and posts discussing a certain title’s continual delays, perhaps it’s appropriate to discuss one that, as things stand, might actually arrive on time.  That’s not to say that Splinter Cell: Conviction hasn’t had its share of scrapped release dates, but they have at least kept to their current one of April 13th (my birthday, interestingly enough) since it was announced in late December 2009.

Zander’s been hankerin’ for this game for a while now, and I can say with great certainity that he’ll be picking this up near/around launch.  How?  The kid had the infinite patience to play through Splinter Cell: Frustration Embodied Double Agent. When he told me that with his “money to throw at video games” fund running low, he was going to pass on Mass Effect 2 for now in favor of Splinter Cell: Conviction, I knew this was something worth looking into.

So…I dug up this recently released “Story” (which I’m certain must be an acronym for multiple explosions of varied size over the course of two minutes) trailer.  As its emphasis is narrative, they don’t take the time to highlight their interesting “plot objectives/info coating the walls” mechanic, or the “Last Known Position” tactic, which leaves a ghost of Sam wherever he last left the enemies line of sight…allowing for flanking tactics.  It’s there, but you have to know what you’re looking at.

What?  Oh, yeah, the trailer’s about narrative.  And by “narrative” I mean that…well…*SPOILERS FROM PAST Splinter Cell GAMES*

…remember how his daughter’s death was an accident?

What if it wasn’t?

Ooh.  Feel those shivers down your back?  That’s the result of thinking I was going to throw some deeper plot twist of intrigue your way.  Of course, this conspiracy is only a microcosm of a larger menacing one at work…which Sam will inevitably be forced to tackle as well.

Anyway, let me throw the video your way…and join me after the Youtube-y goodness for some extra thoughts on this.

Okay.  Done watching?  Good.  Now can we all agree that this looks like a much more refined and polished The Bourne Conspiracy?  Let me be clear, I’m not calling Splinter Cell: Conviction a sheer imitation of Ludlum’s creation.  That would be utterly anachronistic.  I just see some of its close-quarters combat borrowing from the Bourne films/game.

And that’s a good thing.  It’s brutal, and visceral, because, ultimately fighting isn’t about looking good.  It’s about making sure that the other person isn’t given the option to murder you.  The stealth seems to borrow from the Batman: Arkham Asylum mentality that “stealth is best, but if something comes up, we’ll allow for some leeway.”  I firmly believe that Batman: Arkham Asylum really brought the concept to fruition that one can actually be “the hunter” and not “the hunted” in a stealth title, and if Conviction can build on that, so much the better.

Stealth done right; when crouching is followed seconds later by a royal ass-kicking/pistol-butting/blackjacking

The comments on the video clearly reflect that there’s been a divide with this title…some are quite anxious at the prospect that Sam Fisher might be abandoning his hiding/stupid gadgets/creeping roots.  We’ll see if it’s just an easing up of the stealth or a full blown abandonment of it (though the new mechanisms clearly seem to indicate such isn’t the case).

And you know what?  I’d be perfectly fine with a Taken Liam Neeson-esque “I’ll do whatever it takes” sense of brutality/craziness.  The man’s got nobody left to live for, he might as well play like it too.  If anything, it’ll give all of us with pent-up rage at the difficulty of past titles a sense of catharsis.  I want him to be reckless, and possibly a bit insane, if possible.  The “Bourne-esque” danger of having a grade-A agent bringing the fight to those that trained him  (Yes, I know he was a SEAL before a member of Third Echelon, but you get the idea).

*SPOILERS REGARDING TAKEN* Hey, remember when he shot this dude's wife...during DINNER? That's what I mean when I say "crazy."

Finally, what is the deal with all these video games/movies that have people in their forties and fifties being total badasses?  Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s just kinda scary.  Apparently the only “mid-life crisis” these kinds of people have is that there aren’t enough people to kill.  I mean, freaking Solid Snake (YES, you CRAZY Metal Gear fans, I know it’s accelerated aging) is just two steps away from playing bingo and shuffleboard at an old people’s home at the end of MGS4.

Anyway, old people be crazy.  On minute they want you off their lawn, and the next they’re tossing hand grenades and aiming rocket launchers.  When they said that it’s important for senior citizens to stay active, this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

OH, AND I ALMOST FORGOT, let’s go over the moments I LOVE in this video

–Around the 35 second mark, Fisher asks a guy, “Who killed my daughter,” and a half second later, before the guy can even remotely respond, punches the man’s face into a urinal.  Like, did the guy, as he saw his life flashing before his eyes think to himself, “I guess that was a rhetorical statement?”

–Sam Fisher apparently hates movie-esque cliches too, around the 45 second mark, someone remarks to him that, “This is bigger than you…this is bigger than both of us.”  To which Fisher kicks him off a ledge, along with the American flag.

–EPIC LOCKER PUNCHING OF FRUSTRATION at the 1:16 mark.

–BEST MOMENT, at 1:28 somebody tells Fisher (while Fisher is clearly holding him by the neck) “You can’t touch me, I’m bulletproof,” to which Fisher instantly tests this hypothesis using the scientific method, capping him in both knees…theory DISPROVED…with bullets.

–1:50 to the end, I know this is the more light-hearted part we’re supposed to laugh at, but…like…is the secretary still in there when he blows the place up?  Like, this worries me more than I know it should, but…come on.

Anyway, what do you guys think; about the game, the trailer, any of this, or about stealth gaming in general.

2 Comments

    JUSTICE!!!!!

  • Well, aside from the clips in the movie showing several disjointed scenes (bathroom scene included) with audio clipped from just about anywhere, visually the game looks good. I’m worried that most of what was shown is not game-play footage but just in-game cutscenes, and with developers now starting to blend the 2 together it really serves to just get prospective players more hyped about a game and more likely to buy it. The brutal sort of combat did not look like it was something that a player was in control of, which for me would just take away from the overall experience, since I would be thrown into the passenger seat of these cool moves instead of the driver seat.

    There’s also still my biggest issue with the game that has been present since its demo preview back at E3 2009: The seemingly super-broken, mark of execution shooter mechanic. The ability to preview rooms by the use of various stealth mechanics, and then proceeding to “paint” each target in the room, and then push 1, that’s ONE, button to watch Sam just go through all the motions necessary to instantly, and effortlessly, take out each enemy in a room that you painted is… just unfair to me. This video does a good job of describing what I’m talking about:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yy1sOPteWM

    I’m also worried that like a lot of current gen games that came before it, it will have length issues. For a game of this caliber, I’m hoping that it won’t be short. That would just make me instantly turn away from this game if it is indeed short. I will keep the game on my list, but I may wait at least until the reviews come in before I go out and get it. Only time will tell…

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