Outlook 2010: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
More and more, my primary game geek-out is over narrative. (When I'm not just blowing up everything in sight, that is. *cough Just Cause 2*) How do games tell stories? How do classic narrative points get integrated into the new and flexible framework of videogames? Staid old cut scenes with distracting subtitles need to go. I don't want games to try to be movies; I want them to be informed by movies and every other narrative option, but to forge something new. There's a chance that Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction, with its technique of projecting memories onto walls and integrating objective lists into the game world, could be a step in the right direction.
And in terms of how games represent facets of perception that are so common as to go unnoticed in daily life, Conviction has new ideas about marking and taking down enemies, and recording where you assume enemies are looking for you. Fun stuff, potentially. Then add real-time environmental interrogation, aka an in-game recreation of the bathroom fight from "Casino Royale"? Could be sick fun. OK, maybe I want games to be like movies every once in a while. So, yeah, I'm crazy hopeful for this one. Don't let me down, Ubi.
The fact that I'm interested in Splinter Cell: Conviction at all is kind of a miracle. I haven't touched a Splinter Cell game since the original. When Ubisoft started cranking them out on an annual basis -- or, if it didn't, it sure felt like it was -- the SC games all began to blur together for me. All the games seemed to feature some new goggle type, and a Sam Fisher with varying degrees of facial hair, and some new ninja move that Sam could do. And they had vague, forgettable names like Dark Tomorrow and Even Darker Tomorrow, or something.
Games need to feel special. They need to feel like events. If you get the sense that a publisher is going to the well one too many times with a series or a character, it's very easy to tune it out. If games in a series start to feel like trains -- if I miss this one, I'll just catch the next one -- that's a problem.
Splinter Cell: Conviction does feel like an event. It does feel special. It feels dark and complex and adult. Do I want to beat someone up in a bathroom and use their face to break a urinal? I do. Do I want to see clues and cut scenes painted on the walls around me? Again, I do.
In other words: Russ, save me a seat on this train. I don't want to miss this one.
Our Outlook for the first half of 2010 continues...
- Outlook 2010: Alan Wake
- Outlook 2010: Aliens vs. Predator
- Outlook 2010: APB
- Outlook 2010: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- Outlook 2010: BioShock 2
- Outlook 2010: Command & Conquer 4
- Outlook 2010: God of War III
- Outlook 2010: Gran Turismo 5
- Outlook 2010: Heavy Rain
- Outlook 2010: Just Cause 2
- Outlook 2010: Final Fantasy XIII
- Outlook 2010: Red Dead Redemption
- Outlook 2010: Star Trek Online
- Outlook 2010: Supreme Commander 2
- Outlook 2010: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction