One of the biggest and most respected Swedish game journalist, Petter Hegevall recently complained a bit about Splinter Cell: Conviction on his blog. He says he doesn't like the game holding his hand while playing:
Easy game control is a good thing. Well-done game mechanics is another good thing. But when Ubisoft removes much of the charm of being stealthy and sneaky by rewarding me with the function to be able to shoot all the bad guys I see with the touch of a button - then I wonder, was it really a gameplay related point of the reward?
It works like that, the new system of Conviction. A possibility to win by putting out a small red marker to kill a whole bunch of enemies by pressing a button. In my world it becomes more of a punishment, because I play stealth games to get to feel really über-awesome to sneak up on every enemy - and kill them silently.
This is surely wonderful for many when Conviction turns into a cool movie, complete with the Jason Bourne-influences and everything.
(Translated from Swedish) - http://www.gamereactor.se/blog/petter/#162263 (18/4/2010)
I disagree and I think he just doesn't get it. It's weird, really. I respect him and he usually writes good stuff, but this time I'm just no sure what he's thinking. He complains about the game turning into a movie instead of game, because of the feature to "mark" several enemies and execute them with a press of a button. I see it another way. All they've done is that they've moved and refocused the gameplay.
To be able to execute this technique you first need to perform special actions, like killing someone in stealth close combat, so the stealth gameplay is still very much there and heavily encouraged. The gameplay now focuses on preparation, placement of Sam Fisher (the avatar) and the execution/activation of a planned attack. That for me, is still a whole lot of fun, interactive and not in any way "automatic" or a movie.
Basically, they've just done the shooting aspect of the game more streamlined, which still isn't the entire game, thanks to the stealth, the gadgets and the maneuverability.
Sure, one could argue that the result is a less fun game if you're looking for a precision shooter. But I'm pretty sure the devs knew the game inside and out when designing the levels and scenarios, so claiming that the game became too easy just because of this it strange, because it's a result of many things.