‘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.


A-thank you.