Tag Archive: splinter cell

Rayman Legends is coming to the PS4 and Xbox One on February 25, 2014, Ubisoft announced today.

Aside from claiming improved load times and improved visual fidelity, each version of the game will feature its own exclusive costumes and content.

The Xbox One version will include 10 exclusive challenges and feature a Splinter Cell–inspired Sam Fisher costume for Rayman and a costume based on Vaas from Far Cry 3 for both Rayman and Globox. The PS4 version will tout Assassin’s Creed–inspired threads for Rayman, cross-play with the PS Vita, and will utilize the DualShock 4’s touchpad for various in-game actions, including scratching off Lucky Tickets. Both Xbox One and PS4 versions will also feature a “Funky Ray” costume available for purchase with Uplay points.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on Rayman Legends, the game is already available for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U, and PS Vita. You can see what Andrew thought of three of those versions in his review.

EGM Game Over Podcast 024: Barry Burton’s Deep-Fried Cephalopod

The EGM crew brings you the Game Over Podcast, our end-of-the-week conversation where we discuss some of the biggest recent events in gaming.

[Hosts] Brandon Justice, Andrew Fitch, Ray Carsillo, Josh Harmon, and Eric L. Patterson
[Date] February 1st, 2013

[News] We`re pretty sure Sony just announced their day to announce the PS4, could Resident Evil be rebooted, torture is blacklisted from the upcoming Splinter Cell, Jonathan Blow hates games, and we have yet another tragic developer death as Junction Point closes.

[Now Playing] God of War Ascension, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Killzone Mercenary, Tearaway
[Review] Fire Emblem: Awakening

Want to send feedback to the show? Drop us a line on Twitter: @EGMLogin

[Subscribe via iTunes] http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/egm-radio/id538629924
[Subscribe via Feedburner] http://feeds.feedburner.com/EGMRadio

Originally Published: April 20, 2010, on Lundberg.me, Sportsrev.TV, and NationalLampoon.com

This week I reviewed Deadpool Team-Up #894, Splinter Cell: Conviction for Xbox 360, and my hot chick pick of the week is D’Nika Romero.

Originally Published: April 16, 2010, on PlayerAffinity.com, ESPNNewYork.com, and Examiner.com

Sam Fisher is back in Splinter Cell: Conviction and not only have the rules of the espionage game changed, but so has the game that players have come to know and love.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not played the previous Splinter Cell games, be warned that there may be references to previous events of the Splinter Cell series.

Splinter Cell: Conviction opens up with Sam Fisher sipping a drink in Malta, a small island nation in the Mediterranean, as he tries to piece back together his life after the death of his daughter in a drunk driving accident three years earlier. Having left Third Echelon after his last mission pushed him past a point he didn’t think he could return from, where he killed one of his best friends in Irving Lambert, Sam appears completely lost. That is until an angel watching over him appears to deliver him from the brink.

Well, not quite an angel. More like his old handler Anna “Grim” Grimsdottir watching him via a low orbiting satellite. Grim contacts Sam and explains that his daughter’s death wasn’t an accident and that the people who set that up and used his grief to take him out of the espionage game are now targeting the US’s first female president.

Driven by rage and a quest for vengeance, Sam Fisher has never been more dangerous as he only works for himself now. Saving the president will only be a bonus for nothing will get in the way of the revenge Sam will try to enact on to the people who took his daughter away from him.

A nice twist on the classic Splinter Cell plot, where Sam always has to save the world from terrorists, this new game fleshes out the character of our favorite agent with flashback levels and constant plot surprises that I will not spoil here.

The first thing you will notice is that this is easily one of the best looking games out there right now. From blood splattering accurately on walls from headshots to the detail of the characters’ faces, Splinter Cell: Conviction is a gorgeous game. It’s a shame that half of it is spent, literally, in the dark.

A new color-changing system implemented in the scenery informs you of when you are hidden from enemy sight. When hidden, the world is black and white. When you’re in the open, the world is full of vibrant colors. Although a nice idea to help the player try to progress through the levels and around patrols, it takes away from the visuals and makes it difficult to make out cover most of the time. I would have preferred if they had simply left this system out and left it to the player to figure out if they were in the open. Usually the gunfire is a dead giveaway.

The audio for the game though is spectacular. Michael Ironside reprises his role as Sam Fisher and heads up a strong voice over cast that all end up giving great performances. The music helps set the tone of the gameplay and knows exactly when to amp things up and tone things down. Topped off with spot-on SFX and Splinter Cell: Conviction is something that other game developers should listen to when focusing on the audio of their games.

The biggest change from previous Splinter Cell installments though comes from the gameplay. Although there is still a very strong emphasis on stealth, with Sam not being weighed down by his Splinter Cell suit he moves much quicker than he has in previous games.

Along with this emphasis on speed, there is a new “mark and execute” system where Sam can earn some one shot assassination style kills whenever he takes out an enemy in hand-to-hand combat, throws him from a window, or drops on him old-school Splinter Cell style from an overhead pipe.

Once marks are earned, if Sam can see his foe, either from line of sight, underneath the door with his snake camera, or through walls with his new sonar goggles (more on that in a sec) he can mark up to four guys at once depending on what gun he is using (shotguns usually only give you two marks, while Sam’s favorite Five-Seven pistol can get the aforementioned four marks) and when he is in range, the marks turn red. Then with one press of the Y button, Sam turns his would be attackers into instant doormats as some awesome bullet-time sequences play out as Sam executes his marks with one shot each. This mode is a great, quick way to help even the odds in a heavily populated room or to clear one out before the terrorists even know what hit them.

Another nice addition is the new “interrogation” system. Although you’re really just mashing the B button, watching Sam smash the faces of targets of interest against urinals, TV screens, and with the butt of his gun is a beautiful new technique to advance the story. Next time, Ubisoft just might want to make these full-blown button prompt sequences though to add some difficulty to this.

Unfortunately, one minor complaint about the gameplay is the new “sonar goggles”. No longer being a part of Third Echelon has forced Sam to forfeit his signature night vision goggles and about half way through the story mode, Sam acquires these cheap knockoffs instead.

The sonar goggles work just like regular sonar, sending out bleeps in Sam’s general vicinity that can map out the area around him. It’s a good way to see enemies through walls, but it takes away from so much of the terrain that it feels like you’re playing some ancient shooter like the original Wolfenstein or the first Doom (classics for what they were, not something I need to play right now).

Speaking of enemies, the A.I. is hit or miss. I played through the single player campaign mode on the hardest difficult and still only sometimes do the enemies act brilliantly as they try to outflank Sam or create distractions for you. Just as often, instead of just reacting, they exclaim, “We’ve got to try to spread out!” Thank you for telling me your plan of attack so that I can react accordingly and pick you off one by one. Or when taking on opposing Splinter Cells who also have sonar, but act like regular thugs when trying to traverse through smoke screens.

The worst part about the gameplay though is how short the single player and co-op campaigns are. It only took me eight to nine hours to beat all 11 single player missions and another two or three to go through the four co-op prequel missions. Fifteen missions in ten hours is too short to drop a full $60 on.

The replay value suffers as well with the versus modes of old having been scrapped in favor of more co-op vs. CPU matches in new game modes like “Hunter” and “Last Stand” where you get to play as either an American Third Echelon agent or Russian Voron (Russian equivalent of Third Echelon) agent. In these modes you’re pit against the CPU terrorists and complete sweeps of locations from the campaign modes or defend certain locations. Although fun, taking away the more traditional vs. modes from previous installments of the series was disappointing.

Overall, Splinter Cell: Conviction is a nice experiment with the series with new gameplay elements and with an open-ending for a sixth console release if they so chose, but I would hope that Ubisoft got their artistic juices out with this one and will go back to focusing on having Sam Fisher do what he does best and not worrying about playing around with color schemes and fancy gadgets.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 8.0: If it wasn’t for the crazy changing color and sonar schemes that you’re constantly having to deal with, this would be a perfect score because when the screen is actually in full color, it looks fantastic in terms of blood splatter effects and the details of many facial features, some of the hardest things to digitize.

Audio: 10.0: A tremendous voice cast led by Michael Ironside helps to paint the emotion conveyed throughout this latest chapter in the Splinter Cell series. Add in the usual fantastic orchestrations and perfect SFX and I can’t give the audio anything less than a perfect score.

Plot/Plot Development: 8.0: An original and inventive way to mix up the usual story of Sam trying to save the world from terrorists, but I felt it also took the game away from its roots enough to put off the series’ diehards.

Gameplay: 7.0: It was nice to see Ubisoft trying to mix things up to try to keep things from getting stale, but when you mess with too much, you lose what made the series great to begin with. I love the “mark and execute” system, but the color-changing scheme to represent when you’re in the dark or not was more of a nuisance than a help and the “interrogation” system was pretty, but offered no challenge. When you add in that the entire single player and co-op campaigns are only worth about ten hours total and you have an average score at best.

Replay Value: 5.0: Unless you’re an achievement hog, you’ll only need to play the story mode once to get everything you need from it. And the lack of a traditional vs. mode in the multiplayer I think takes a lot away from the replay value of this game and puts it in mediocre company in terms of bringing players back for more.

Overall (not an average): 7.0: It was nice to see Ubisoft try a few new things with this latest Splinter Cell, but not all of them worked. Couple that with a lack of replay value and overall length to the campaigns and I would recommend Splinter Cell: Conviction as a nice rental over a rainy weekend, but not as a full-blown $60 purchase.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is available now for the Xbox 360.

-Ray Carsillo

Old Ironside

Originally Published: January 19, 2010, on 1050espn.com (Now ESPNNewYork.com), Collider.com, PlayerAffinity.com, and Lundberg.me

From Top Gun, Total Recall, Starships Troopers, Free Willy, and many more, Michael Ironside always seems to find an audience no matter what role he accepts. Now, he plays Chief Bannen, a police chief with a mobster brother and con artist son, in the new web series The Bannen Way over at Crackle.com from Sony Pictures. Seemingly being on top of the New Media game, I also spoke to him about his decision to reprise his role as Sam Fisher in the popular Splinter Cell video game series, with the 5th installment ready to land in stores in late April 2010, and also got him to divulge about his childhood love of Superman and how it helped lead him to voiceover work as one of the Man of Steel’s most nefarious enemies, Darkseid.

To listen to my interview with Michael Ironside,
or read the transciption below!

Ray Carsillo: Hey there everybody, this is Ray Carsillo and I have the distinct pleasure now of talking with a man who has hundreds of screen credits over the course of his career. I mean, literally, the list is the length of my arm folks, but for all of us comic book and maybe video game geeks out there we may know him better for his countless voiceover credits including Darkseid from the Superman cartoon and of course a little guy you might not have heard of. I don’t know. Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell? Is that pretty popular? Yeah, I think so. I have the pleasure now of talking with Michael Ironsides! Michael how you doing today?

Michael Ironside: I’m doing real well. It’s a little cold and wet in Los Angeles at the moment.

RC: Well, it’s not much better here in New York. A little bit of weather parallel I guess. But right now, you’re working on a web series called The Bannen Way, it’s on Crackle.com, it’s from Sony Pictures, and the first question I have to ask you about is why do a web series? Somebody with your great list of credits, why would you decide on doing a web series like this?

MI: I don’t think the end product really kind of figures into it for it. It’s the writing and when I was introduced to this property, I just found the writing to be exceptional. It’s very witty, very cleverly written, and very solid definable characters. Jesse Warren, the writer/director and Mark Gantt, a friend of theirs sent it to me, I looked at it and went “wow” and it’s kind of rare. For every hundred scripts I get, there’s probably one that hits me like this. I met with them and they were as pleasant and as talented as their script and we did it. As far as it being a webisode, how you cook the pie, it’s still a pie. How you cut it up and deliver it is a different deal. It doesn’t really affect the way something is shot or how something is handled on set.

RC: Very cool. You’re starting to see a lot of web series really start to gain some traction online and in the media, and obviously at the forefront of the New Media surge. Do you think that’s the future? Do you think that television and radio and these other, more traditional, mediums will see this cut into their viewership, especially when producing such high quality content like The Bannen Way?

MI: I’ve been around long enough to watch this happen. I’ve been around to watch television and movies sort of fight it out and find a balance between themselves and I think it’s the nature of our times and money and you can’t just make a pilot or shoot something and if it doesn’t work throw it away. It has to have more than one life to it. For example, this project, The Bannen Way, as far as I know, it starts as a webisode, then it’ll go to a DVD or MOW, movie of the week, sort of format, and then it is also being used as a pilot as a network series. For a project to be, I think, financially responsible and fiscally responsible, it has to have more than one revenue scheme and I hope these guys do well with it.

RC: You mentioned Mark Gantt, and of course, he is not only one of the writers, but also the star playing Neal Bannan.

MI: Yeah, he plays my son.

RC: I was going to say, talk a little bit about your character. Your son’s a con artist and you’re the chief of police. How does that dynamic work and talk about the character some.

MI: Well, Mark is a mercurial guy as it is, very clever, a very likable guy. His character is a kind of flash about town con man who likes women and cars and gambling. I play his father who is kind of a stone-age chief of police and my brother, who is played by Robert Forrester, is the local mafia kingpin or crime boss. We’re the yin and yang of Mark’s life and the story is basically revolving around him owing his uncle $150,000 on a gambling debt and how he is trying to contort and run around town to get that money. And at the same time, I’m trying to get him to turn over evidence on his uncle, my brother, so I can put him away. It’s a very clever story, very enjoyable.

RC: You always seem to play these, like you said a stone-age police chief, a general, or a high position of authority. Do you sometimes get typecast into that and how hard is it to sometimes branch out away from that?

MI: Well, I don’t think it’s difficult if you’re willing to do different things at different economic levels. I mean, most people know the mainstream stuff I’ve done from like Top Gun, Total Recall, Starship Troopers, Free Willy, T4, those sort of things, but for every large film I get to do about four or five small ones that are really my choice. Like last year, I did something called The Jazzman, where I’m playing a saxophone player who is dying of cancer. It was loosely based on Mo Kaufman’s life. I get to take that opportunity based upon the fact that I can affect distribution from doing larger pictures. I’ve been around a long time. I’m never going to be the lead actor guy. I’m real quiet and real happy and real fortunate to keep working. It’s what I do. It’s like the circus. I ran away and joined it a long time ago.

RC: As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters, right?

MI: Heh, and paying the bills. That’s what matters.

RC: I mentioned Darkseid before from the Superman cartoons and Justice League cartoons and you were also in a couple of episodes of Smallville. Are you a closet comic book geek or really big Superman fan?

MI: No. Well, growing up yeah I did. I was enamored with Superman because I thought, being Canadian and from Toronto, that the original series was based around Toronto. I remember as a kid being told that. That the Daily Planet was the Star Newspaper and the whole idea was based around that kind of small cosmopolitan city so that caught my attention. I don’t know. I just like trying things. The voice work with cartoons and stuff has worked, but I’m not interested in doing that stuff at all for commercials and stuff, but it is kind of fun to get in a room with a bunch of other actors and have the freedom of not being watched so you can sort of take risks with a character like Darkseid or the Sam Fisher character in those Splinter Cell things. It’s fun to work. It really is. It’s not all just hit your mark, take your money, and go home. It’s fun. It’s creative. It’s challenging. You get to meet great people.

RC: That’s great. Not a lot of people out there get to really love what they do and you really seem to enjoy it. That’s a great thing in life.

MI: My dad referred to it that I ran away at a very early age and joined the circus and I think it is quite apt. It’s a great way to live. You get to move from family unit to family unit, from set to set, from project to project where you’re thrust into a very intimate, very honest relationship with people and you have to either tell the truth and step up or it can be a really horrific situation if you try and manipulate it every time and over 40 years I’ve met a lot of great people.

RC: Is it hard then, you describe it as a family unit, when the project wraps up and you have to kind of move onto the next project? Is it a sad moment there?

MI: Yeah, absolutely, but I would like refer to it as postpartum. I’ve gotten to the point over the years that I actually get it before the film is over and I start getting a little bit of melancholy over the last few days of a project when I look at people. But, you get to see those people again, just not in that family unit or configuration, but man it is a great way to live.

RC: We mentioned Sam Fisher earlier and it is one of the most successful and beloved shooters of all time and you really breath a unique life into that character. Did you ever get into games? Are you a gamer? Do you have an Xbox 360 or PS3? Ever pick up the controller after the game is finished?

MI: Yeah my daughters are into that and the gaming, but I’m not a gamer. I don’t physically translate to that way of doing things. I’d rather get out there and do it myself. I don’t mean kill somebody though, haha.

RC: Yeah strap on the night vision goggles and go crawl in the shadows, haha.

MI: No, it’s like people go online golf, not to take a shot at the game, I just would rather be out there doing it. But no, Splinter Cell was interesting because I actually passed after the fourth game. I didn’t think we could take it any farther and wasn’t really interested in doing such and they came back at me with a fresh look at the character and a new way of doing things and the new artwork and we just finished the fifth one. It’ll be out I believe in about two months.

RC: Yes, actually Ubisoft just announced that it got pushed from a late February release to a late April release.

MI: And ya know, I think that is to their credit. They were actually going to, there were parts of the company anyway, that were going to try to force the game out for Christmas and they opted for the quality rather than quantity and I think that speaks for Ubisoft to give up a huge payday or a rushed payday on an old title like that and force it through on Christmas. And I’m not kissing their a** here. It’s just rare that you find something in a corporate level that makes organically sound decisions and they did that. And they pushed it again to make sure they get it right. Yeah I was supposed to go out and do the release and stuff like that, but I just got the call the other day saying they’re going to push it back another month and a half, which is cool. Get it right!

RC: Definitely, as a gamer, we would rather you take the extra month and a half and get it right, especially for such a beloved series.

MI: Yeah and there is a lot of money involved here. People put a lot of money on these games. I remember I was on a plane somewhere and somebody stepped up and said “Sam Fisher?!” I had ordered some bloody drink or something and I then started talking to them and they were talking about how it keeps them as a family unit these online games, where they sit and play with family members from different places in the world and stuff like that or have conversations with different people in different places around the world and I never thought that a game, an internet game, would be the kind of meeting place where people could exchange ideas and real truths about each other and stuff like that. It’s kind of a strange world when you can trust a game format or platform more than the network news.

RC: Yeah, it’s insane how far games have come in the past couple of decades. Would you say Sam Fisher is the character you’re most recognized for or most approached about?

MI: Not really. I think it goes generationally. I’ve been around a long time. If someone walks up and says “Jester’s dead” then I know it’s from Top Gun, and they’re probably in their 30s-40s. If they walk up and say something like “I hate that whale!” then they’re probably in their late 20s, that of course from Free Willy. Or “See you at the party, Richter!” or something like that. It depends on where these people are coming from. It seems like every six or seven years I hit on a big box office film and people get to regurgitate specific lines from the film. As for Sam Fisher, I’m totally anonymous until I open my bloody mouth and people recognize the voice.

RC: Do you ever get to chill with Tom Clancy? Do you ever get to say “Hey Tom, maybe Sam would do this in this situation?” Since the character is really you, do you ever get to influence what he does a little bit or go to Tom Clancy?

MI: No, but what I did do was that I turned it down at the beginning. I wasn’t interested in doing it because structurally the way the character was built was that I thought “I don’t want to do this.” And they asked what was wrong and I said “Well, he is too monochromatic. There isn’t enough humanity in the character. There is no conflict underneath his decisions.” It was interesting, when we first went in to do the first game, I actually did it up in Montreal at the Ubisoft labs and I had them bring in other actors since these things are usually done singular evidently where you bring in one actor at a time and it was my first big game. So I had them hire some actors so I would have somebody to work with as we worked the character up in the dialogue. And it really worked. It is the nature of communication that if you want to play tennis or play a game with somebody, you need to talk and have a conversation.

RC: Of course, of course. You’ve had such a long career as you had mentioned and you’ve been around for so long that you did a series in the 80s called “V” and of course they have kind of come back with that, a new iteration of it that is based on the series you were in. Do you ever think that you might ever want to get back into the series, maybe as a guest cameo to link the two?

MI: There was that talk, but I really wasn’t interested. The original character of Ham Tyler that we built in the mid-80s for that original format and that original show, to revisit that and revisit that character would do that whole show a disservice. It is really a different animal now. They have computer generated graphics now while we were using puppets and everything in those days. We were sort of making it up as we go, to the best of our abilities. And no I think Ham Tyler that they sent him to Chicago in that original series, where I wanted him to go. I got out of the show so I could go do Top Gun and the Richard Pryor film. No, I don’t think I’d want to go back and do it. It’s like going back and driving an old car. It had its place in time. I had a ’55 Chevy that I had for a lot of years and it was a cool car, but if I had to use it every day, no, it had its time and place.

RC: I hear you. That’s a great analogy. Aside from The Bannen Way, which is of course at Crackle.com right now from Sony Pictures, and Splinter Cell: Conviction, which is coming out in April from Ubisoft, what else can we see from you in the future?

MI: That film I did last year, the film called The Jazzman, based on Mo Kaufman’s life, the horn player who died of cancer and was written by his grandson. I think it is coming out, or is out now, or will be out soon. I don’t really follow the things. And a thing I did in Romania called Eva, which is a historical piece.

RC: Alright, very cool. Thank you very much Michael. Of course, the web series is The Bannen Way which is available now at Crackle.com from Sony Pictures, the video game is Splinter Cell: Conviction which will be out for Xbox 360 and the PC later in April, and of course the man is Michael Ironside! Michael thanks for the time.

Ray Carsillo