Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction Game Poster Image

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

Mature spy game with a hero who kills with his bare hands.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some characters make passing reference to drugs and drug dealing.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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
Available online?Available online
Release date:April 13, 2010
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language

This review of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction was written by

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Parent of a 17 year old Written bystickman17 May 1, 2010

11 and up

A good game for ages 11 and up. A bit violent but no a lot of blood
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written bySplinter Cell 24 May 11, 2010

Fine for kids 10+

I personally think the game is appropriate for ages 10+. Alot of you may not agree with me. I would compare this to the game The Bourne Conspiracy, which is rated T. There are an average amount of bad words. As for the violence I would say that it isn't even as violent as Assassins Creed. Asassins Creed has brutal assassinations, while Splinter Cell Conviction is alot like the Bourne Conspiracy. The game is much less "twisted" than Batman Arkham Asylum, which my kid has and I have watched him play it, and in my opinion if your kid has Batman Arkham Asylum than he should be able to get it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 blood splatter when shot the worst thing is the bad language a part from that its okay for mature 12 year olds
What other families should know
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking