3 Splintered Convictions

I finally put Splinter Cell: Conviction into the Xbox 360 the other day. It managed to stay in there for all of one evening before it came out in favour of Deadly Premonition, but in its brief time it did manage to make a small handful of (unfavourable) impressions on me. I’ll probably play it again some time, but for the moment, this it all I got out of it.

Remediation. My only real prior knowledge of the game was based on a Penny Arcade comic which parodied the inanity of the bad guys’ dialog in the game. Oh man, how right they were. It’s some of the worst bad guy dialog I think I’ve ever encountered and it genuinely makes me wonder how it made it out of QA. Given the amount of time you spend crouched behind things in cover, you have to listen to their repetitive insults and awful lot. This is also the second time Penny Arcade has pre-parodied a game experience I had later, the other being their comic about the elevators in Mass Effect.

Push button action flick. In my play, the game felt like one of the more insulting portrayals of action in recent memory. It’s all tooled up to be a bad-ass, stealthy kill fest where you’re the number one hombre, but it does so in a way that left me feeling like I was barely required beyond a kind of Pavlovian button pressing. The quintessential illustration of this is this odd “torture” dynamic where you’ll be interrogating someone and occasionally, when they refuse to answer some question, the screen will flash “B” and you hit that button to smash their head into a urinal or whatever. And then they continue talking, until the next time you have to hit B. I just can’t tell you how immersive that was as an experience.

Speak my language. The major oddity of playing Conviction is that it happened to be a Danish version. I didn’t order it on purpose, it just happened that way. This means that all the text in the game is in Danish, while all the voice acting remains in English. I figured it would probably still be playable so long as I muddled my way through the controls, and that’s proven pretty much true. What’s kind of amazing, though, is that the game has a kind of stylish way of superimposing instructions on objects in the game, like there’s a hidden projector projecting text onto them. But it’s all in Danish, so it make the whole thing super surreal. Running around being abused by mercenaries, waiting to press the right button at the right time, while all around me the world is illuminated in Danish.

Put that way, it almost sounds good…

27 January 2011
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