Splinter Cell Conviction was in development hell since 2007. Originaly, Sam Fisher was suppossed to be a bearded drifter wandering around and "throwing" CIA agents sent to kill him. That's was all they came up with.
FORTUNATELY, Convictions was released and features excellent gameplay that puts the stealth rival Metal Gear Solid to shame both in story, execution and presentation.
Conviction does stealth very differently than the previous 4 SC games. This time, the enemies will spot you or approximate your position. This "last known position" becomes the point on the map they will all run to, throw grenades at, etc. Unfortunately, the enemies are still dumb as ****. They can't seem to see anything in the shadows at all, even when they should be able to and you can sneak right up on them and break their necks.
They don't mind taking cover near exploding barrels and they don't notice remote mines thrown to their feet at all. Killing them is relatively easy. In fact, if you go through levels guns blazing, they are less of a match for you than if you act stealthily and get caught. Even on "realistic" difficulty, I breazed through this entire game in a mere 4 hours. All realistic means is that enemies have bullet proof vest and kevlar helmets. Shooting them in the face still takes them down instantly. It just takes more bullets.
In fact, a whole lot more bullets go flying this time around than in the previous 4 games combined.
Sam's typical Silenced Pistol + SC3000 rifle isn't even his basic armament. He starts with a silenced pistol but ends up confiscating guns from downed enemies whether they are silenced or not. This is strange because Sam would never use an unsilenced gun. I'm dissapointed that every single gun featured doesn't have a silencer attachment ala Rainbow 6 Vegas.
Multiplayer is way better than it was in the previous games. I never enjoyed the previous SC multiplayer games but this game's mode's are much more entertaining. "HUNTER" has you and a buddy trying to kill guards silently (or else more will come), and the "STORY CO-OP" has you and a buddy tracking down a warhead while assassinating guards. The ending of the Story mode is shocking and awesome.
There is some dissapointment though
#1 There is no penalty for disconnecting from a game in progress which almost ensures losers will quit at will.
#2 Besides online lag, the game's framerate tends to be shockingly slow. When online lag does come it gets damn near unplayable.
#3 Many weapons are only available as downloadable content. The Silenced SPAS is available only to people who preordered but, you can spend upwards of $10 to buy it on Ebay. You also need to login to UPLAY to download the SCAR rifle.
#4 Loading times tend to be long online and off. Many times, this is exacerbated by in-game cutscenes you can't skip.
#5 weapons cannot be equipped as desired. The upgrade system is very closed and limited.
OVERALL Convictions is a pretty damn good game and worth every penny.
If you buy it, get the limited edition pack which includes a game art booklet, 2 downloadable guns and my favorite: a 512MB USB CARD DRIVE so you can store your files like a spy. Probably the coolest content since Grand Theft Auto 4's gym bag + safe deposit box.