Splinter Cell: Conviction
Xbox 360 (Review Copy) PC
Old Man Strength must kick ass. By dint of age and wisdom, you automatically augment your muscle-power tenfold. Sure, your boyish charm yields to a few wrinkles, but chicks dig the rugged exterior. Group that with super-spy killing skills and the gravelly voice awesomeness of Michael Ironside, and you've got the epitome of man, Splinter Cell: Conviction's Sam Fisher.
It's two years after the events of Splinter Cell: Double Agent (in which Sam's daughter Sarah was killed) and Sam's now underground avoiding his former employers, the secret spy organization Third Echelon. Obviously, losing their best agent isn't good for biz, so eventually Sam is dragged back into the spy game with the promise that Sarah may still be alive. (Cue the dramatic music here.)
While still very much a stealth game, Conviction is more forgiving and accessible than its previous entries. Sticking to the shadows makes you invisible, so it's best to stay dark.
The "mark" and "execute" options are new, and Sam can now dictate targets and priorities and kill accordingly; it's a fresh approach that allows you to clear a room with more ease than picking off enemies one by one. The "last known position" is new too. Get caught and your silhouette appears. With the enemy concentrating on that area, you can flank and eliminate your target. That said, and with the more action-oriented gameplay, there's a distinct Bourne Identity feel in the fast-paced fighting and vanishing into shadows.
If killing isn't your thing, you can slink through the entire level without scrapping, though it involves much searching and proper timing to avoid detection. Multiplayer maintains the high quality of its forebears, but doesn't utilize new features, as humans just won't fall for it.
Though the single-player campaign falls a little short, Splinter Cell: Conviction offers a fast-paced spy game that rewards you for staying incognito. While hardcore fans may initially feel flustered with different gameplay, there isn't much here to fault. It's as if you've all the skills of a trained spy — and who doesn't wanna grow up to be Sam Fisher?
Alice in Wonderland
Disney Interactive Studios
Nintendo Wii (Review Copy) Nintendo DS, PC
The prospects of a video game based on a movie usually aren't so high, but Disney's Alice in Wonderland is actually fairly playable. The game has pretty graphics, and while the campaign is ridiculously easy, the character switch ability is well implemented. While defiantly aimed at kids, this is one of the better movie-to-game adaptations.Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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