I have finished the latest Splinter Cell on medium. It is, I think, finally mature and has superceded all of its previous incarnations. The Clancy Universe does need what's coming next and I'm sure that along with Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, this kind of splinter operation will be nicely useful in the future.
Since the introduction of the idea that the various aspects of game play across the Clancy genres will blend and mix in the future, I have been thinking about their various strengths and weaknesses. Clearly, the coolest thing about Ghost Recon are the advanced warfighter roles. Using drones, armor and calling in air support are part of the most interesting aspects of game play. Capturing large patches of territory with ground forces are just what that's all about. I also enjoyed for a short period, Clancy's voice command in EndWar but the fact that my own online buds didn't made it far less enjoyable than it might have been. I found that the lack of good collab online really destroyed the possibilities, and it was too complex for simple head to head in real-time. Too complex to be fun, that is.
Ubisoft may yet have an MMO in the Clancy Universe. If it happens, I'll likely enjoy a role with Rainbow Six special forces if my online buds come along, but if not, I'll be happy to go it alone as Sam Fisher.
It turns out that as I finish up the Realistic mode (about halfway through) I am also now going back for a second bite at the Mass Effect apple. This time I've made my character a total renegade - I have less patience for the cinematics and storytelling. Fisher puts you into that mode of intense concentration and tests your patience for physical strategy - almost like The Portal (I haven't played Prince of Persia much, and I don't particularly like it). The only other single character that ranks up that high for physical awareness in the environment is the one from Assassin's Creed. Fable and Halo don't really come close. Crackdown might, but that's a different kind of game, more like Mercenaries 2, both excellent with M2 being my preferred game of the two.
After a few hours, Sam's actions come very smoothly. The Execute feature is really cool and even cooler in multiplayer. The changing of the entire scene to black and white to indicate stealth is a stroke of genius and it executes so smoothly. I am surprised, however, that this edition has decided not to give Sam access to any sniper rifles. Not that he can't snipe, and silently at that, but I think it was a good decision overall. Sam works best inside.
As for the Conviction plot and story. It's all first rate. The environments are excellent and the voice talent is superb. I like all of the choices they've taken, including the projected instructions, reverse fly-throughs and lack of level maps. It has taken long for this package to arrive, but it is a complete package.