The game was announced in 2007 I believe and since then has been delayed countless times for whatever reasons causing a mass amount of frustration for fans of the series. With what many gamers considered to be a let down in Sam Fisher's last adventure into the world of covert espionage, aka Double Agent, they felt Ubisoft owed them something in the form of a superior release to make up for the lackluster title from 2006. For many, the countless delays could only mean a truly refined experience, one that would make them totally forget how long they have been waiting for the damn thing, and quite possibly thank Ubi for taking the extra time to create the definitive Sam Fisher experience.
If you take a look around the internet or thumb through any one of the reputable gaming rags on the grocery store news stand, you will see that Conviction is landing some impressive scores in it's reviews from the likes of IGN all the way to my toilet companion rag, Game Informer. The scores alone are deceptive, and I do not mean to say that they are biased, fan boy written garbage that awards 9 out of 10 stars just because Michael Ironside returned to voice Fisher again! They are deceptive because once you read these reviews, and see video versions on your favorite sites, Splinter Cell fans will realize that their beloved game is a shell of it's former self, and how in the world could anyone possibly score the game so high if the only thing it has in common with Chaos Theory is Splinter Cell printed on the box beforehand! (Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, a first gen Xbox game, is arguably the best in the series.)
Inside my Special Edition Art Book was printed these words... "The Sam Fisher you knew is DEAD." Right away, knowing what reviews have stated time and time again, I knew that what I was in store for was not the cookie cutter game that Ubisoft had been stamping out for this series since day one. This was going to be something completely different. How different had yet to be determined by myself, but after the first four or five hours of the game I had a 100% understanding where series loyalists earned the right to cry foul and post such diatribe on the internet forums regarding how Ubi had killed the once great Splinter Cell franchise.
I call it diatribe, while legitimate in their own right, the complaints about the direction the game was heading were kind of off base if you are on the fence about what Ubi did and what Ubi should have done. Those that think the developers have killed their precious franchise obviously missed the part clearly spoken in the beginning of the game about how the Sam Fisher that we all know and love and cherish as our stealthy, by the book lethal weapon, is dead. The same line published on the first page of my Art Book. The same line that when taken in the context that is intended by the developers, the player already knows that alot of change is to be expected in Sam's behavior and actions.
His lethality as a stealthy ninja like assassin is still an option to explore at your fingertips. Although this time around, with the more action focused options each mission has, the stealth mechanics really take some precision when executing. This created, for me, a whole new level of challenge and this level of challenge bombards the player nearly every time a new mission is before you!
This is the first game in the series where, if you want to go in guns-a-blazing, then go right ahead. If you want to be the silent dead ninja, then go right ahead. The major complaint of many gamers is how the game has turned into more of an action shooter than what is formerly was. This may be the case, but I believe it has that core stealth game play that made the series so popular to begin with, as a perfectly viable option of play for each and every scenario. Mowing down guards with an assault rifle on each level is quite possible to accomplish, turning your Conviction experience into a game that closely resembles the gun play found in the Uncharted series on the Playstation 3. But if you want to sneak in the shadows, snapping the necks of each enemy that gets in Sam's way, that option is there too, and when it is employed, you get that warm feeling that Conviction in fact holds true to the series, yet offers up game play options that just weren't available previously.
Never mind that fact that Sam totally operates differently now that he is apart from Third Eschelon, another reasonable story angle that reinforces the new style of game play that Ubi has sprung on us. An angle that once understood, allot of gamers that feel letdown with this release may just appreciate Conviction for what it has accomplished that allot of other series fail to do. That being able to deliver an experience four or five games into the franchise that is refreshing without alienating the game play that brought the title to AAA status out of the gates.