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Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

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Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is the sixth installment in the Splinter Cell video game series. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, developers of Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and the sixth generation versions of Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Key members of the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas team, such as creative director Maxime Béland, also worked on the game. Gameloft will also be creating a mobile version of the game for the iPhone OS.

Gameplay

Splinter Cell: Conviction introduces a number of new gameplay features to the series, one of which is the “Mark and Execute” feature, which allows the player to mark specific targets, such as enemies or objects, and shoot them when they burst through a door or window. The player can choose to prioritize these targets, so that, for example, he could distract one guard by shooting out a light in his vicinity and then take out another guard. Another new feature is the “Last Known Position”, which occurs when the player breaks the line of sight of an alerted guard. This creates a visual silhouette of where the guard thinks Sam is, allowing the player to strategically flank his enemies. Main target subjects can use the player’s abilities against them. The player can be taken hostage by the subject. If this happens in co-op mode, the hostage’s partner can neutralize the subject by shooting them.

Other new features include the ability to interrogate characters in real-time and use objects in the surrounding environment against them. A crowd mechanic was initially introduced, which would have allowed Sam to disappear from his pursuers, but this element seems to have been dropped out of Conviction during development. The environment is also used to project mission objectives and key plot points onto walls in order to keep the player immersed in the gameplay during the narrative.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer mode in Splinter Cell: Conviction involves split screen, system link (Xbox 360) and online cooperative mode, plus a Deniable Ops mode. Deniable Ops mode involves 4 multiplayer modes that pit the players against AI in game modes such as Hunter, Infiltration, Last Stand, and Face-Off.

According to co-op game director Patrick Redding, the stealth in Splinter Cell: Conviction is designed around the new core elements like “Mark and Execute” and “Last Known Position” that have been shown since E3 2009. These things are designed for players to fool and defeat A.I. opponents but not human opponents.

Single Player

Taking place three years after the events of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, former Navy SEAL Victor Coste is held in a Black Arrow facility interrogation room as he is interviewed by an unidentified group of men, recalling events in the past tense.

After having disappeared, Sam Fisher is remotely located by former Third Echelon colleague Anna Grimsdottir in a marketplace situated Valetta, Malta. He is warned that a group of hitmen have located him. Sam dispatches them and interrogates the leader, learning that drug runner Andriy Kobin was responsible for the death of his daughter, Sarah. Sam learns that Kobin is present in his mansion, a re-purposed museum. Upon infiltrating the mansion, Sam interrogates Kobin and learns that the situation was “bigger than his daughter,” prior to being captured by Third Echelon agents.

Sam is relocated to Price Airfield in Washington D.C., where Grimsdottir reveals that she is working with President Caldwell as a mole for Third Echelon, and that she needs his help with investigating a PMC named Black Arrow. A reluctant Sam refuses to help her, but relents after being told that Sarah is alive, and that she would prove it to him during the course of the investigation. Grimsdottir facilitates Sam’s escape from the airfield by providing him weapons and access to her car. After this point, Sam calls in his former squadmate, Victor Coste, for assistance in the investigation, in part of Victor having rescued him during the events of Operation Desert Storm. Sam meets with Victor at a county fair in the Washington Monument, receives some equipment, and learns that White Box Technologies, a research-and-division company specializing in EMPs, hired Black Arrow for corporate security, which is considered to be out of character as Black Arrow does not provide it.

Sam heads to White Box Technologies and witnesses multiple scientists having been murdered by Third Echelon director Tom Reed and Black Arrow operatives. Fisher saves one of the scientists and learns that Lucius Galliard hired Black Arrow to provide security, and that Robertson has been collecting and disposing of experimental data with EMP countermeasures. Sam reaches Robertson’s office and downloads the data for Grimsdottir’s analysts to study. He later triggers an EMP to prevent Black Arrow’s tracing of the download in order to maintain Grimsdottir’s cover.

Sam is later directed to the Lincoln Memorial under orders from both President Caldwell and Grimsdottir, infiltrating the area to record a conversation between Reed and Galliard. Sam later interrogates Galliard, only for the latter to get assassinated by a gunman. Sam pursues the gunman, only for the gunman to get killed by a car bomb. Sam is later drawn into a confrontation with Third Echelon agents until he is extracted by Secret Service.

Sam infiltrates the Third Echelon headquarters to recover equipment and retrieve information from Reed’s office. Instead of finding Reed, Sam re-encounters Kobin and interrogates him again. Sam learns that Reed was working with Megiddo to smuggle EMP technology into the United States, and use that technology to facilitate Caldwell’s assassination and have the Vice President take over the position since he was “in Megiddo’s pocket.” As a result of facilitating the assassination, Reed would then be promoted within the higher ranks of the government and be considered a hero. Kobin later reveals that he never knew anything about Sarah and only provided a false body to stage her death, urging him to ask Grimsdottir as she knew the whole story. Sam confronts Grimsdottir with the information he learned, and is urged to view a last audio recording of Lambert. Sam learns that Lambert staged Sarah’s death as a car accident out of necessity, having learned that a mole within Third Echelon would use her as leverage against Sam. Lambert later concludes that he wasn’t able to locate the mole, and that his efforts may have been vain.

Grimsdottir later tells an enraged Sam to stop one of three EMP attacks at Michigan Avenue, stating that Sarah’s designated apartment is within Michigan Avenue’s blast radius, while Victor recovers Sarah and later helps Sam with halting the attack. Grimsdottir would accompany Reed to the White House in order to halt the assassination. Sam is extracted by Victor and has a brief reunion with Sarah before the two EMP attacks commence. Shortly after a crashlanding, Sam infiltrates the White House while confronting Black Arrow and Third Echelon operatives in the process. Sam regroups with Grimsdottir and is held captive to get closer to Reed.

Upon entering the Oval Office, Sam and Grimsdottir kill the Third Echelon escorts, with Sam interrogating Reed while the United States Army extracts Caldwell. It is revealed that Caldwell was going to shut down Third Echelon and leave “America vulnerable to future attacks” and that Reed was the mole Lambert was looking for. Depending on the player’s choice, Sam or Grimsdottir execute Reed.

Black Arrow’s interview with Victor has concluded, with Victor stating that Sam would be with Sarah and that Sam loved him like a brother. Shortly after Victor finishes his sentence, an explosion places the building on alert, implying that Sam is assaulting the base.

Seven foreigners were killed in Jakarta hotel bombs – media

in.reuters.com

Seven foreigners were killed in Jakarta hotel bombs – media

JAKARTA – july 18  – Seven foreigners were among those killed in the bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Indonesia’s capital, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Saturday, citing a police official.

Suicide bombers struck the JW Marriott hotel and close-by Ritz-Carlton, two luxury hotels popular with businessmen and diplomats, in Jakarta’s main business district during breakfast.

Police on Friday said eight people died, revising down an earlier count of nine, and over 60 were injured. On Saturday it seemed the toll had been raised again to nine, including two suicide bombers.

The blasts are a severe blow for Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was re-elected earlier this month in a landslide victory on the back of restoring peace and strong growth to a country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

Police won’t be drawn on who may be responsible for the blasts, but suspicion has fallen on remnants of Jemaah Islamiah, the militant Islamist group responsible for a string of attacks in Indonesia in the first half of the decade.

East Jakarta Police Chief Hasanudin told the English language Jakarta Post that forensic experts were identifying the bodies of seven foreign nationals.

“All were foreigners,” Hasanudin told the Post, adding that all were male.

Police have not released the names of any of the victims yet.

Tim Mackay, chief executive of cement maker Holcim Indonesia and a New Zealand national, was one of several executives attending a CastleAsia Group breakfast at one of the hotels, and was killed in the blast, Holcim said on Friday.

Kompas newspaper reported that two Australians died in the blasts.

Police said on Friday the bombers had checked in to the Marriott as paying guests on Wednesday and had assembled the bombs in their room. A third bomb was found and defused in a laptop computer bag on the 18th floor.

International reaction to the bombings was swift.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who spent four years living in Jakarta as a child after his mother married an Indonesian, called the attacks “outrageous”.

“These attacks make it clear that extremists remain committed to murdering innocent men, women and children of any faith in all countries,” the White House said in a statement.

Jemaah Islamiah or a splinter, blamed for a previous Marriott attack as well as bombings on the island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, are widely suspected to be responsible for Friday’s blasts as the attacks bear the group’s hallmarks — the choice of high-profile Western targets where the victims are likely to be foreigners.

The group, which wants to create an Islamic super-state across parts of Southeast Asia, was blamed for a string of attacks until 2005, but many militants have since been arrested.

According to police, the casualties included citizens of Indonesia, the United States, Australia, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, Britain, Canada, Norway, Japan and India.

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ANALYSTS VIEWS – Jakarta hotel bomb blasts

in.reuters.com

ANALYSTS VIEWS – Jakarta hotel bomb blasts

REUTERS – Near-simultaneous bomb blasts ripped through the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta’s business district on Friday, killing nine people and injuring 42 including foreigners and Indonesians, police said.

A car bomb had also exploded along a toll road in north Jakarta, police said. Indonesia’s Metro TV said two people had been killed. No further details on that blast were available.

The bomb attacks, the first in several years, could severely dent investor confidence in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. The Indonesian government had made considerable progress in tackling security threats from militant Islamists in recent years, bringing a sense of greater political stability.

Islamist militants from the regional Jemaah Islamiah organisation were blamed for numerous attacks between 2002-2005 in Indonesia, including bombings on the island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people. Many militants have since been arrested.

CALLUM HENDERSON, CHIEF GLOBAL CURRENCY STRATEGIST, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK, SINGAPORE

“This is a tragic event. Market reaction to date has been relatively muted in anticipation that the government will stay on course and that policies will remain unchanged.

“Indonesia remains a fundamentally good story, thanks in large part to the excellent policies of the government in the last few years.

“It will take time to stabilise again, but we remain overweight on the rupiah.”

SEAN CALLOW, CURRENCY STRATEGIST, WESTPAC, SYDNEY

“I would say it damages foreign investor confidence since the attacks appear aimed at Westerners, but not shatter it, so long as there is no further violence for some time.

“Bank Indonesia should be able to keep a lid on dollar/rupiah short term, but it will have a lasting negative impact multi-week, multi-month.

“It solidifies my short-term bias towards buying dollar/rupiah on dips, especially since the rupiah is still up 18 percent since March.”

TIM CONDON, HEAD OF ASIA RESEARCH, ING, SINGAPORE

“I liken it to North Korea risks to South Korean assets. Typically it causes a short spike in selling pressure — but the operative word is short.

“Indonesia is vulnerable and the attacks are negative but people know these are impossible to predict and they are part of the economic landscape. It doesn’t totally eclipse all of the other investor positives — the economic fundamentals and the political fundamentals.

“The cost of protecting debt from Indonesia , one of the most frequent Asian sovereign issuers in the offshore market, was unchanged at 280/295 basis points.”

RAYMOND TANG, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CIMB ASSET MANAGEMENT, KUALA LUMPUR

“We are still positive on the economy and the developments there, despite the bombings. On a long-term perspective, we have not changed our view.

“We’re positive on the banking, the resources and the consumer sectors.

“You’ll get kneejerk reaction but if you look at how the Indonesian market has responded up to now, it’s down 1.3 percent and the currency is down half a percent … I think people are more positive than negative.”

KEVIN O’ROURKE, POLITICAL RISK ANALYST, REFORMASI WEEKLY

“I think the attacks are devastating for the image of security that Indonesia has built up painstakingly over the past four years.

“The attack is particularly severe for investor confidence because it took place despite strenuous counter-terrorist efforts by the government and has affected the hotels that are seen to be among the most secure in Jakarta and also either killed or wounded numerous prominent expatriate businesspeople.” O’Rourke said he suspected Jemaah Islamiah was responsible.

“It’s an explosion in a hotel. Jemaah Islamiah perpetrate explosions in hotels.”

WAWAN PURWANTO, ANALYST AT NGO NATIONAL EMPOWERMENT BOARD, JAKARTA “It is a high-tension period and it is likely to remain like that until October when the president is inaugurated.

“We already predicted this as we have seen some unknown movements after the election, like the incidents in Papua. So if something like this happens, it’s not a surprise.

“We will not make any assumption (as to who is behind the attacks) before seeing hard evidence.”

PRAKRITI SOFAT, ECONOMIST AT HSBC, SINGAPORE

“After the elections going off so peacefully, the bomb blasts have come as a shock. We don’t have all the details now but investors will be keeping a close eye on this one.”

JOANNA TAN, ECONOMIST, FORECAST PTE, SINGAPORE “I think investor confidence will definitely be shaken after this but ultimately, the positives from SBY continuing a second term and relatively good performance in the economy should keep investor confidence supported.”

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