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Splinter Cell: Conviction; or, How Not to Write a Story.

5 May

Yet another old blog post, this one from May 2010.

I didn’t read too much information about Splinter Cell: Conviction before playing it. I also didn’t watch a lot of videos. The bit I knew really intrigued me: Sam learned his daughter’s death might not have been an accident, and he heard some names floating around. The interrogation bit in the demo certainly led me to believe he was on a personal mission of vengeance. Right or wrong, he was going to get the information he needed, the way he needed to get it. The premise was instantly thought-provoking. With a story like that, there are multiple ways to go about exploring themes, such as moral ambiguity, blind rage and the consequences of it, and learning to let go and move on with your life. As you can probably guess by the title of this post, the kind folks at Ubisoft decided to shit all over themselves.

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Final Thoughts on Splinter Cell: Double Agent

19 Feb

I’m kind of an idiot for only now finishing this game. It really is the best stealth-action series going, and Double Agent only solidifies that title. It’s a very tense and rewarding experience, and while all you’re really doing is sneaking up on enemies in the same manner over and over, the execution of every aspect of the gameplay is damn near perfect. My body tensed in unison with Sam Fisher’s as I got closer and closer to an enemy, and perfectly taking out someone without alerting other guards is, quite simply, fucking awesome. There are a variety of moves at your disposal in this regard, and they’re all contextual to the positioning of both you and the enemy. If you successfully get the drop on someone while their back is turned, you can choose to grab and choke them out, snap their neck, or give them a fierce elbow to the base of the skull. If you decide to grab them, sometimes you can interrogate them for information, and one of my favorite things to do was let them get about half their sentence out of their mouth, and then mid-sentence choke them out. It usually goes something like this: “Honest, man, that’s all I know! There’s trip wires all over the – aack, blurghhh, uhhhhh.” What’s that? I didn’t quite catch that last bit.

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First Impressions – Splinter Cell: Double Agent

12 Feb

Yes, I’m a bit late to the party on this one. Over two years late, actually. But I turned on Splinter Cell: Double Agent tonight for the first time, and it instantly brought back memories from the very first game in the series. I only played the second and third games briefly; in fact, I played so little that I can’t even tell you if they were good or not. But when the original Splinter Cell came out, I remember being absolutely floored by what I was looking at. The only other stealth games I’d ever played at that point were Metal Gear Solid and its sequel, Sons of Liberty. The difference between the two series was astounding to me, and more specifically, the realism Splinter Cell had on display was something I’d never seen in a stealth game before. Darkness was my ally, and skulking through the shadows like a vampire on the prowl was truly an exhilarating experience. Looking back, I really wish I had hunkered down and completed Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory. Maybe my I’ll go back to them at some point, but I have a sneaking suspicion (sneaking, ha) that after playing Double Agent, they won’t hold up quite so well.

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Surprises Await – The Story of Prince of Persia

10 Feb

Earlier, I talked about the game play and level design of Prince of Persia. I’d like to now focus my attention on its story, which, while it could have been implemented better throughout, totally threw me for a loop with the way it ended. It’s a pretty simple story: evil is corrupting the world, and only the Prince (who remains nameless if I remember correctly) and his female companion can put an end to it. Certainly, this scenario has been done before, but what sets Prince of Persia apart from the countless other games to feature good versus evil is the emotional weight the proceedings take on once the credits roll.

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Game Design 101 – Prince of Persia (’08)

9 Feb

Sometimes, a game doesn’t sound so hot on paper. Take, for instance, the latest Prince of Persia. If you were to read the design doc, it would probably have words like “backtrack” and “re-navigate” all over the place. A lot of developers run into that problem; designing levels is hard, and budget constraints and time are both factors that heavily weigh on how much content they’re able to put into the product you see on store shelves. It’s with this in mind that, upon finally finishing Prince of Persia, I can only applaud what Ubisoft Montreal has accomplished with the world they created.

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