A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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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?
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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.