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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.

Vick’s return: 11 plays, 30 total yards

APTOPIX Chiefs Eagles Football

Vick’s return: 11 plays, 30 total yards

PHILADELPHIA – Michael Vick‘s return to the NFL was ordinary at best. The moments before it happened though, lifted his heart and made his day.

For the record, Vick carried once for 7 yards, threw two incompletions and either handed off or was a decoy on eight other plays as the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 34-14 Sunday in the quarterback’s first regular-season action since December 2006.

Just returning to the game he loved after serving 18-months in federal prison on a dogfighting conviction moved him.

Standing on the sidelines as the national anthem played, Vick let his mind go over his downfall over the past 33 months.

“I am thinking about everything I have been through,” Vick said after the game. “I am thinking about what it took to get back to this point. I am thinking about my grandmother, who I lost in prison and what she would think.”

The last time Vick saw his grandmother, Caletha, was on the day he surrendered to authorities and was taken to federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan. She died during his 18-month incarceration.

“I know she would have been proud of me,” Vick said, noting her memory pushes him every day to return to being a great player.”

Vick spent most of the game on the sideline watching youngsters Kevin Kolb, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson lead the Eagles to a one-sided victory.

McCoy ran for 84 yards and a touchdown. Kolb ran for one and threw for 327 yards and two other scores, including one to Jackson, who had a career-best 149 receiving yards.

Vick could only cheer them on. His 11 plays, which included seven handoffs, resulted in a net of 30 yards.

“I think I played fairly well,” Vick said. “I made good decisions with the plays I had. I missed one ball across the middle. I think I could have hit that. I have to make sure I keep my arm warm on the sideline so when I go in there I am not cold. My focus was to be smart and not turn the ball over.”

Vick did just that in a game coach Andy Reid said helped Vick knock some of the rust off. The Eagles have a bye next weekend and then play here in two weeks against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Just to go out there and get the jitters out of the way and get knocked around a few times (was good),” Vick said. “It will be totally different feel when we come back against Tampa because I don’t feel all eyes will be on me, which is normal.”

Vick took the field on the second play from scrimmage. He lined up at wide receiver, went in motion and had a handoff faked to him, then watched as McCoy lost a yard on a carry.

Some in the crowd rose to give Vick a standing ovation, but he was back on the sideline so quickly — after one play — that many fans at Lincoln Financial Field didn’t seem to notice him.

Before the game, a group of about 25 protesters gathered at the northeast entrance to the stadium, holding signs saying, “Vick is sick” and “Ethics over athletics.” As fans walked by, some began chanting Vick’s name and a few shouted insults at the protesters or yelled at them to go home. Philadelphia police stayed close to keep an eye on things.

The only play of note for Vick in the opening half was his second from scrimmage. Taking a shotgun snap, Vick ran an option keeper to the right and gained 7 yards, drawing a cheer from the crowd.

He took a big hit from safety Mike Brown on the play and an even bigger hit on the next series when a rush forced him to throw his first pass out of the end zone on a first-and-goal play.

“I took plenty of hits before,” said Vick, whose scrambling style helped him earn three Pro Bowl selections in six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. “I still feel I can take a hit. I got rocked a couple of times and I was able to get up from it and keep moving. That’s what is going to happen with the style of offense we run with me in the game.”

Vick had no complaints about his limited opportunities.

“It’s definitely a different scenario,” Vick said. “It’s hard. I’ve never been in this situation before so I think it tell me is stay warm, stay loose and stay even keel.”

Eagles receiver Jason Avant said there was a lot of chatter from the Chiefs when Vick came on the field, mostly along the lines of “Seven is in the game.”

“He’s quick and he made good decisions with the ball,” Chiefs defensive end Glenn Dorsey said. “You always have to look out for him when he’s in the game, but I think for the most part we had him contained today. He showed flashes of his old self so you always have to be prepared for him.”

Vick played seven plays in the first half and just four in the second. He spent the rest of the time standing on the sideline wearing a visor in return or talking with fellow quarterback Jeff Garcia.

“It’s all about staying in tune with the game and commenting on coverages and what we are doing offensively,” Garcia said. “We’re trying to stay involved and keep on top of the mental side of things.”

As the game ended, Vick, who was signed to a $1.6 million contract with an Eagles’ option for the second year at $5.2 million, looked into the crowd and waved to someone and then hugged an Eagles assistant. He was the last player on the field, staying to do a television interview.

After the game, he also let everyone know what he would have said to his grandmother if she was alive.

“I made it back, Grandma,” he said with feeling. “I made it back, and this time I won’t let you or the family down.”

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