My Lack of Conviction, or Why I Won’t Play Splinter Cell

by on Apr.20, 2010, under games

Some of the fondest game moments of my adult life come from the Splinter Cell series. But I will not play Conviction.

Crouched in a corner, breath bated, I trained my suppressed pistol on the guard. His every step brought his unsuspecting forehead closer to the bullet.

I loved the abject terror of skulking past a group of machine gun wielding soldiers when detection meant death. I employed stealth not because it facilitated brutal kill animations or because I felt like it, but because to fail to dictate the terms of an engagement, to squander the element of surprise was to suffer the fate of anyone foolish enough to charge into an enfilade. ┬áLining up that perfect shot or surviving after being exposed was an Accomplishment. This is my objection to mark and execute, that the world’s foremost infiltrator is relieved of the burden of aiming his gun.

Is this reticence enough to warrant a boycott on the title entirely? Playing through the demo affirmed my misgivings over this much-paraded mechanic. It felt like a cheat mode, far from authentic. It was easy enough, however, to not press ‘Y’.

Better sites than this have extolled the cooperative play in Chaos Theory for good reason. The return of this mode made me realize there was a co-op shaped hole in my heart, from which poured a torrent of memory: recollections of creeping into position, of coordinating the sudden death of our foes, of whispering into our headsets lest our voices betray, while a length of crossover CAT5 snaked through the heat duct into my brother’s room like so much optic cable.

Now we come to it. I will not play Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction yet because my brother is deployed to a sandy place where email is a luxury and more immediate concerns eclipse such frivolity as games. And he typed to me the modest proposal, “I’ll wait on splinter cell if you do. . . “

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