Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Mature spy game with a hero who kills with his bare hands.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 37 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While Sam Fisher is out to avenge his daughter's murder, he takes the law into his own hands and kills hundreds of people throughout the course of the game. That said, these are not innocent civilians -- instead they're terrorists and other "bad guys." Still, the message isn't positive -- even though, ultimately, he is tapped to protect America from those who want to destroy the West.


Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam Fisher is one cool protagonist, but he isn't a good role model for kids. It's one thing if he resorts to violence to keep the world safe -- which is more or less the theme of past games -- but he has gone rogue in this game and has a personal vendetta (until later in the story).

Ease of Play

The Xbox 360 version we played was fairly easy to pick up and play (ducking for cover, running, shooting, climbing, etc.) but some advanced controls -- such as tagging enemies before shooting them -- took a bit of practice to master.


As with past Splinter Cell games, Conviction stars a one-man army who uses guns, bombs and his bare hands to kill enemies. With the latter, Sam Fisher can snap a victim's neck or smash their head into a mirror, table or wall to "interrogate" them. Blood can be seen on enemies, especially when shot, plus you can see their bloodied head after beating them for information. The ESRB is accurate in its warning about "intense" violence.


There is no nudity in the game but you can see exotic dancers in a nightclub sway their bodies seductively (wearing bras and panties) for tough-looking men. The game also has some dialogue that references sex and prostitution, such as "paying for an hour with an American girl."



Gamers will hear plenty of profanity -- even from the very beginning of the game. Harsh words include "f--k," "motherf--ker," "c--ksucker," "sh-t" and "asshole." In some instances the language is spoken by Sam Fisher while other times it's from characters you meet in the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters make passing reference to drugs and drug dealing.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction is rated Mature because it contains plenty of violence and other themes not suitable for kids or young teens, including profanity, sexuality and drugs. Violence includes shooting enemies in a realistic fashion (and with realistic visuals), seeing blood spray out of enemies (though it's never over-the-top), and using your bare hands to inflict damage, whether it's pulling an enemy out of a window, smashing their head into objects to make them talk, or sneaking up behind an enemy to twist his neck. Parents should also note that this game facilitates open communication between players in online play. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for children under 12 years of age.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRobert E. June 24, 2020

Tons of language, very bloody, but amazing storyline


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction is probably the most profane and violent Splinter Cell game to date. The story follows Sam Fisher,... Continue reading
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byLovemykids 55 March 1, 2018

Not as bad as you may think

Not that violent, some slightly bloody hand to hand combat scenes. The game took a light turn when it took out pools of blood, slitting throats, and hiding bodi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymad gamer April 22, 2014

its really good

The game is about an ex nsa agent who hunts for the killer of his daughter only to become the one thing he never dreamed of the enemy violence mild only small b... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDarkXSeries7 August 15, 2020

Great game

Amazing storyline, I think its one of the best Splinter Cell games ever. There's also a multiplayer mode only with one player. Has quite a bit of blood and... Continue reading

What's it about?

One of the most famous secret agents in video game lore is back for more in TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION, a gritty third-person adventure starring super-spy Sam Fisher. This time around, however, the former member of the elite Third Echelon, a secret division within the National Security Agency, is out for vengeance as he vows to track down his daughter Sarah's killer. Fisher soon stumbles upon something much bigger than his own personal vendetta, but revealing more of the game's well-told story would spoil it (especially as it contains a few plot surprises and familiar faces from past games). While he's now playing by his own rules, Fisher still relies on his core skills as a solo field operative, including stealth (lurk in the shadows and scale buildings), gadgetry (such as sonar goggles and a broken car mirror to peek under doors) and combat (both hand-to-hand and weapon-based). This fifth Splinter Cell game is more action-oriented than its predecessors.

Is it any good?

Yes -- for adult gamers. Fisher has acquired some new "Mature"-rated tricks, such as the power of persuasion, which lets players "interrogate" suspects and other thugs by slamming their head into tables, walls, toilet bowls or windows. Players can even complete side challenges for being creative in their interrogation techniques. Fisher can also tag enemies in the "mark and execute" feature, which allows him to take out multiple enemies at the tap of a button. 

It would be remiss not to mention the outstanding production values in this third-person adventure, including the cinematic way it introduces mission objectives and Sam's thoughts by splashing words and images onto the environment itself. Some of the documentary-style "shaky" camera angle effects might bother some, though. Toss in multiplayer play, including a thrilling co-op mode with its own unique story, and it's easy to see why Splinter Cell: Conviction will likely be the must-play action game of the season.

Online interaction: The game offers many multiplayer modes including a much-hyped co-op mode. Gamers can talk over Xbox Live while playing so it's possible for players to hear profanity from other players (though we didn't hear any), exchange personal information, and be exposed to abuse.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether games like this -- those that let you live vicariously through a tough-as-nails agent -- are healthy entertainment for mature adults. Do they desensitize us to violence and make us more susceptible to act out in real life? Is this visceral entertainment a temporary, virtual getaway from our ordinary lives and a way to unwind after a long day, or is it whetting our appetites for real bloodshed?

  • Families can also discuss Sam's character in this game as opposed to previous games in the series. Is Sam a hero by avenging his daughter's murder? Or has he become a murderer himself?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: April 13, 2010
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
  • Last updated: August 31, 2016

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate