‘Kay! A couple weekends ago (pre-shoulder-pain), my oldest daughter entered the living room and saw me playing Splinter Cell: Conviction.
Now, I really like Conviction. I thought it was way better than Double Agent and the fact that a lot of mechanics were removed allowed the team to focus more intently on the mechanics that remained, making them much better. Yes, the bad guys scream and yell a lot, but that’s a game mechanic – they are basically telling you where they are because you don’t have a handy radar like you do in Metal Gear Solid.
So, I’d played through the single-player many times but had never touched the multiplayer.
Let’s face it – I don’t like competitive multiplayer games. Why? Well, because I suck at them, and I don’t have the time necessary to get unsucky at them. The only two competitive multiplayer games I play are Team Fortress 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and even that is rare.
But I was bored. I’d just finished the single-player again, so I pawed through the menu and discovered a game mode called “Deniable Ops”. And I discovered that these were new missions that didn’t feature Sam Fisher but did feature a whole bunch of new maps to explore and new ways to cleverly kill people.
So I was having fun when my daughter walked in.
“So watcha playin’?” she asked.
“Splinter Cell: Conviction.” I replied.
“Does it have co-op?” she asked.
“I think it does, I’m not sure.” I replied. I exited out to the main menu and yep, sure enough, there was a menu entry called “Multiplayer and Co-op”.
“Does it have split-screen co-op?” she asked.
“Nah,” I said, “games don’t really have that anyHOLY CRAP IT DOES!”
So, after a brief but heated discussion on who got to be the Russian agent (hint: I lost), my daughter and I sat down and played through the entire split-screen story-based co-op mode. It was stupendous – the co-op story intertwines with the single-player story and has its own challenges. Even in the simplest mode, you’ll see many more enemies than in single-player; they’ll behave more realistically, and they’re not guaranteed to eventually open themselves up for a quick neck-snap. Which is why you need to depend on your fellow agent to either distract or help with a combined assault.
I feel like such a freakin’ idiot for not checking this out earlier. Megan and I spent about ten hours over the weekend playing split-screen co-op and I cannot believe I had no idea that game was on the same disc.
Plus, this simply reinforces my belief that co-op multiplayer is the only good form of multiplayer.
And then my daughter went and played through the single-player and loved it.
While I’m on this topic, here’s my suggestions for the next Splinter Cell game.
First, keep the Conviction mechanics.
Second, Anna Grimsdottir is the natural new choice to head up Third Echelon; if she’s not the boss I will be very disappointed.
Third, the enemy should be Megiddo. While Conviction only hinted at what Megiddo was and what it is capable of, that’s actually perfect – it leaves a lot of design and story freedom.
Fourth, no Sam. Let the poor man rest. He’s actually in a pretty good place at the end of Conviction, let him stay there. Instead, let’s have a new agent – an idealistic, tiny young woman. I think such a character would a) make the “hide in the shadows” mechanic more realistic and b) make a wonderful counterpoint to Anna, who at this point has practically sold her soul to defeat threats not just to America but to the world.
Finally, MOAR SPLIT-SCREEN CO-OP.
I don’t think Conviction was very well received, so I’d be kind of surprised to a see a sequel at this point, especially a sequel with Conviction’s mechanics.
Personally, I really liked Conviction’s mechanics, but I can see why hardcore Splinter Cell fans hated the game. I call Conviction a stealth game for dummies. You barely have to actually be stealthy, and when you do you are rewarded with a sexy supermove that basically kills everything in the room with the press of a button. That is a big difference compared to earlier Splinter Cell games where if you got noticed by the baddies just once it was practically game over.
I loved Conviction, and totally hope for a sequel. I can agree however that it would be nice if it was harder… this actually would make sense if they got a new protagonist. The new guy/gal would not have Sam’s skills, so it would make sense to take away the “Kill everyone in the room with the press of a button” mechanic.
To this I would like to add a splash of Chaos Theroy. (my other favorite Splinter Cell game.) I loved interrogating enemies!
Ooh, I like that! Take away Executions, which was the beef most of the longtime fans had with the game, and bring back “Hi there.” “ARE YOU GOING TO KILL ME?!” “I haven’t decided yet.”
Man, I hope Michael Ironside had as much fun recording those sequences as I did listening to them. The one with the soldier where he pretended it was all a test in Chaos Theory was great.
So, to be more specific…
Cover-to-cover stays. There might not always be areas where that is possible, though. The “perfect transfer”, where enemies were guaranteed never to detect you during a cover transfer, needs to go. If I do a cover transfer in front of somebody, he’s GOING to see me.
I personally really like the “black & white means you’re safe” mechanic but if people would rather have full color and an indicator, that should be an option. If there is an indicator, it should have three stages – you can’t be seen, you can be seen but haven’t been spotted yet, and you’ve been spotted.
Sound…throw it out. If you’re sneaking, you don’t make sound. If you’re sprinting, you make a lot of it. No need for a gauge.
Headshots in zoomed mode should still be instant kills, except late in the game when the enemies get smarter/tougher.
I liked the whole “upgrade by performing challenges” thing. It also hit the spot in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Getting that 500-point “Ghost” reward was always fun. Keep some form of this.
Make it easier to do non-lethal, damn it! MGS figured this out in game 2! Give us a pistol that shoots tranq darts so that we can get through areas with no kills! Also, make it a lot easier to tell if we’re about to kill a grabbed enemy or just knock him out. Again, I liked MGS’ system where just a tap of the button would knock someone out – you had to hold the button all the way down to kill them.
And give us more games! We obviously like doing this, and Kojima probably won’t give us another MGS, seeing as how he’s killed both of his protagonists.
Maybe do the stealth like a Thief game? Light gem keeps track of how possible it is to be seen, but you have to pay attention to the terrain to not be heard. (still doesn’t need a meter.)
I don’t like the tranq idea, but I think it would be cool if he had some kind of taser thing. It would temporarily disable an enemy, and then he smashes them to knock them out.
Maybe this is weird: The ledge attacks have to stay! I absolutely love hanging off ledges and taking out guys who are standing above me. I have no idea why this appeals to me so much…