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Sam Fisher is back, but this time he has a stylish haircut, a few grey hairs and a really bad attitude.

Splinter Cell: Conviction ushers in a big change for the franchise, with Ubisoft opting to completely change the core gameplay systems to both refresh the series and also appeal to a new crowd. I was a big fan of the first games, but lost interest over time and so welcomed the idea of a change.

Are Splinter Cell fans going to be highly upset by the change? Will the new mechanics really appeal to a broader audience without pushing away the original fans?

Find out, in our full review after the jump.

Sam is pretty pissed. Yes, that’s how I am going to start my review.

Meet Jasam Bauerne

For spoiler reasons (even though it’s been a while) I am not going to give away certain core parts of the story as they continue from the previous games.

The only thing you need to know is that Sam Fisher went AWOL after finding out that his daughter was killed in a car accident, but in light of recent news that his daughter may still be alive, steps back into the ring. Conviction feeds off of many contemporary fan favorites and brings in elements that fans of The Jason Bourne series as well as Jack Bauer will really enjoy.

Splinter Cell has always been known for it’s magnificent contribution to the Stealth genre. With Conviction, things have changed, with the game falling under more of a Stealth Action genre.

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Hide n’ Slaughter

While you are given some pretty significant firepower, stealth is still the true name of the game in Conviction. Ubisoft have set out to still provide a satisfying stealth experience, but have added touches of action to make the overall feeling of the game that bit more exciting. Although it is not entirely accurate, I would say that it feels similar to Batman: Arkham Asylum in the way that it blends fun action with great stealth.

Fans of the original series will react differently to the new gameplay system, as the whole new system has not so much been dumbed down at all, but given a more natural, slick feel. The major difference is that while the originals were stealth all the way, Conviction gives you the option to take enemies on head first, but you won’t last very long if you don’t plan ahead, stay in the shadows and think quick on your feet.

Punishment for failure can be quite harsh in Conviction, as the developers have been incredibly stingy with checkpoints. It’s not uncommon that you will have to make your way through three major areas of enemies and objectives, only to fail at the very end and do it all over again. It can be very frustrating at times, and sometimes had me doing certain section over and over again for 45 mins.

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I’d Like You To Meet Sam, Mark and Execute

You still have some seriously cool gadgets available to you, such as sticky cams, EMP grenades, remote mines and the usual flash and frag grenades. You will also unlock weapons over the duration of the game, earning points to upgrade them by performing special tasks, such as getting a certain amount of headshots or killing enemies in specific ways.

The most advertised and indeed the most important feature of Splinter Cell: Conviction is the addition of a new system called Mark and Execute.

Mark and Execute is a new ability that allows Sam to mark enemies ahead of time, and then take them all out in flashy dance of gunplay, ending their lives quickly, quietly and efficiently. Sam Fisher’s new ability to pull off some crazy-awesome moves is gained by killing an enemy up-close using the grab option.

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Splinter Cell: Conviction
Summary
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Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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