4 Jun 2012

Monday Media Fun - E3 and Splinter Cell

So it's Monday and on Monday's I like to look at multimedia and yammer about things that have captured my ADD riddled attention.

By the by I love my video games.

I've been enraptured since I spent time on the Old Bears Apple IIc. Playing a slew of games off 5" floppies, I'm not talking about the hard cased, 3" disks. When those things came out I was a pig in shit. Media transfers have of course become better, ZIP, Superdisks, Jazz, CD's, DVD's, Blueray... it's crazy.

I'm meandering again... sorry.

The 7th generation of consoles has been a neat ride so far. At this point and time technologically we gots lots. Graphical fidelity, 7.1 surround sound and some really complex game play. But the development cycle for games that really push the hardware to the limits are taking close to three years in many cases. By then the next big tech or breakthrough for developing video games has adjusted and risen the bar.

Yet it's taking longer and longer to make some of these games... time = money.

Games are not making all of that money back.

Look at the people of Big Huge Games, they coded Settlers of Catan. Great game, great translation to board to online play. Please take my money and do this with some more of my games. Please just take it. Here is the money, make more.

They made a great Action RPG game recently but the cost of making the game has killed the company and it's owner. Long story, I'm not getting into it now... just google: 38 studios, bankrupt, etc...

So as E3 comes around the corner, I`ve been missing the rose tinting for a while. 7th generation woke me up to the great games and their cost resulting in less great games that try to be awesome games. Yet this year is special.

The 7th generation is near the end of days. Companies are left with choices, get better and earn the cash or... die. The consoles are so well known now that smaller companies are finally getting some of their desires out to the public... the cost of doing business is getting the seniors discount. So new IPs are coming out risking high for great rewards ala Borderlands and Shadow Complex or they are reworking the older IPs and making them better: Splinter Cell: Conviction, Syndicate, Fallout 3... some do well other rest on the laurels of the past and don`t do anything...

Fallout: New Vegas was awesome. Had some great stuff in their but it was supper buggy. Falls short compared to Fallout: 3. Fallout 3, I wrecked, I abused and I took home... I ruined that game. It`s on my top 5 RPG`s of all time. New Vegas was a good game, hell even a great game but it failed to break the `legendary barrier`. No Chuck Yager level of success here... it was a great follow up.

So I`m looking at the following videos and I`m happy with what I see. So each Monday I'm going to talk about some of my most sought after releases.

This week is Sam Fisher.

Check out the video link below

Splinter Cell: Blacklist - E3 2012 (link)

Sam was back last game. Splinter Cell is one of those games that I played to death. The first two were buckets of fun and fell within the `stealth`genre next to Tenchu, Hitman, Thief, Assassins Creed and many that failed... Splinter Cell was one of those games that I only play on the most difficult setting and completing it within 24 hrs. The world cannot complete a full rotation without my mission being done. Splinter Cell was great and kept me glued to my PC.

When the third game of the series, Chaos Theory, came out it was the true sequel to the first game. They gave Sam and knife and the co-op was awesome. Multy-player was neat and new in the last one, Pandora Tomorrow, but the refinements in Chaos theory were worth it. It has some of the best gameplay in the series.

Now if you ignore the PC version which I never finished until I got a free copy with a 360. Double Agent was even better, the dual nature of the mission objectives, walking the line of between agency and terrorist  and the hub missions were refreshing. The co-op failed to launch and that sucked... The game was kept new and alive. Double Agent was not a re-working but a real evolution within the foundation of it's original core gameplay.

Then we heard of a new Splinter Cell. Pictures followed and Sam looked like a beggar... interactive environments, free flowing combat. The mists were thick and murky... Conviction was the name and Conviction vanished.

Sam went dark, then the gents at Ubisoft re-set the idea... Conviction was reborn.

Conviction is that game you need to play. Stealth guys like me, who redo entire levels in order to avoid that one alarm, were playing next to guys who's idea of being sneaky was to make so much noise you couldn't tell where they were (aka Dwarf Stealth).

The main campaign was well paced, included a great reward system and it changed up the formula enough times that you were always playing. The Co-op was in short genius... the game play was a Chaos Theory and Conviction love child. The ending was even better. They expanded the game with the challenge rooms, lots of free updates and the one paid DLC was a good run.

Conviction was Sam Fisher, smashing your head through a urinal, using broken glass to peek around corners and setting up attacks in a clinical way. You wished maybe to play the low tech option a bit longer but it's easy to get over when you whip out a FN Five-seveN and go to work as the best of the best.

Now with the trailer above, Sam is back as an Agent. New voice so far... not sure about that. Mr Ironside was brilliant and a Canadian. Seriously, look up his interview on Conviction, he's bloody right funny. Back to the old high tech of Splinter Cell action of the first three games. Neat voice controls, a step up from the fun done in Mass Effect 3.

Will I pick this game up? Hell yeah... why? It has promise, things need to change, backwards or forwards the game is changing. I trust the gents at Ubisoft, they made a hard and very expensive call to restart from scratch Conviction. That call to keep quality and innovation was rewarded. So they have earned the trust in their ability to change things around for a positive. They have the benefit of the doubt.

Besides, Sam Fisher is family...

PS. You only get the family reference IF you beat the last game... sorry but you need to play it.

Next Monday: Lara Croft