After a brief hiatus, Steve Clark returns with another great co-op game recommendation.
I’d like to start this article with a quick apology that there hasn’t been a co-op game of the week for a while. The simple explanation for this is that very few new games with local co-op have been released for the Xbox or Wii. So to alleviate the lack of new games, my co-op partner in crime and I have started revisiting some of our previously completed co-op games. This week we’ve been playing through Splinter Cell: Conviction on the Xbox 360.
I’ve always liked the idea of stealth games, but I discovered long ago, while playing Thief : The Dark Project on PC, that I just don’t have the mentality for them. I lack the needed patience to wait for the right moment to strike. I often go in for the kill hastily and end up running away to hide until the guards have forgotten I was ever there. This is why Splinter Cell’s new approach wasn’t such a let down for me, as it was for some die-hard fans of the series. It’s still a sneaky game at heart but with enough forgiveness that I don’t feel I have to reload and try again every time I’m spotted.
The co-op campaign is a completely separate entity to the single player story, taking place 10 days prior. The two characters, Archer from Third Echelon and Kestrel, a Russian agent, are tasked with finding some EMP warheads which have gone missing. The story seems to be there just to give you objectives and apart from a little cutscene at the beginning of each chapter, it is mainly conveyed via a voice in your character’s head.
But we all know the reason for being here is the sneaking and different ways to dispatch with your enemies and this game doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Sneaking is handled by a great visual trick of changing the screen to black and white when you are invisible, which of course means the game you see is black and white for most of the time that you are playing. However, if you do accidentally stray into the light, its pretty hard to miss the colour fading back in as a warning that you are now visible.
The “mark and execute” mechanic is what makes things more forgiving. For every hand-to-hand takedown you do, you earn the right to mark a number of enemies with the right bumper. If they are visible and in range, a simple hit of a button will take them out automatically. Your co-op partner can also tag enemies for you.
Conviction’s co-op takes place over four chapters, with a number of levels in each. These chapters can fly by quickly, so the co-op game doesn’t last very long (around 6 hours). The addition of extra game modes using the same levels as the story adds some extra longevity to the action. Our favourite of these is Hunter, which tasks you with taking down 10 enemies in an area, with the added fear of 10 more enemies being added if you are discovered.
Overall my partner and I enjoyed our second play-through of Splinter Cell: Conviction, possibly more than our first time playing it a year ago. It has some slight flaws, but its a forgiving stealth game with just the right amount of action thrown in.
Steve Clark is the Server Ninja at Kwalee, managing our multiplayer technology.