Right now, when you turn on your Xbox you will notice a very nice gift from Ubisoft in the form of the Splinter Cell: Conviction Demo. No PC version a yet But the full game is out for PC a fortnight after the 360 version, Not sure how big a factor that is in terms of producing a demo.
First thoughts on it are incredibly good. The demo is very, very short, taking about 10-15 minutes to finish, but it’s a glorious snippet of what is shaping up to be a fantastic game.
The gameplay mechanic feels brand new, with a little bit more emphasis on action rather than stealth. Moving from cover-to-cover is excellent, you can literally look at the next place you want to move and just tap A. Very responsive and accurate, I didn’t struggle to line up my cover-to-cover moves at all. Hand-to-hand stealth kills are performed with a simple tap of the B button whilst you’re behind an adversary, and for each kill you’re awarded an ‘execute’ bonus. This basically means that you can highlight targets for a head-shot kills (with the RB) and then press Y to initiate a mini cutscene, complete with cool slow-mo and flashy camera angles. You can execute up to two targets after one hand-to-hand kill, or three with two hand-to-hand kills. Another nifty little feature is the light-outlines that you leave behind. Kind’ve hard to explain, but every now and then, when an enemy sees you, a hollow outline of your body appears in the game, and the enemies focus their fire on it until realising what it is on close inspection. Great for flanking them or luring them towards you.
The visuals are also fantastic, and what little voice-acting and music there was to be heard was excellent. Michael Ironside is on top form, and the orchestral numbers are very impressive for a video game. I look forward to hearing the full soundtrack when the game’s released.
But there is a bad-side. Much as I love these new gameplay mechanics, the demo felt very easy to clear with minimal fuss, even on the hardest difficulty setting. It almost seems as though the gadgets you have on the demo outrank anything you ever received previously in the series, which doesn’t feel right considering you’re no longer working for the NSA. But as it’s a demo, that’s not something I’m willing to pre-judge.
My overall opinion of this demo is very high. Though I have a few minor reservations, the most important thing is how FUN the game is. It’s so much fun, I found myself replaying it multiple times after my first go. Can’t wait for the full release, I’ll certainly be getting it.