Ubisoft’s long-delayed Splinter Cell: Conviction was really two games. There was the story mode, which centered on longtime protagonist Sam Fisher and his quest to find the truth about the death of his daughter. And then there was the co-op campaign, which starred new character Kestrel and Archer. While the co-op campaign’s story tied into the main game, all of the multiplayer modes centered on these characters to the point that it felt like its own adventure. Now “Deniable Ops,” the first DLC pack for Conviction has been released, and it once again centers on Kestrel and Archer.
The Splinter Cell games have always been globe-trotting adventures, and “Deniable Ops” (800 Microsoft Points, or $10) adds four more co-op scenarios that take the characters around the US, a nation seldom visited in the series. The new stages include San Francisco, Salt Lake City, New Orleans and Portland, Maine. The new stages feel completely distinct from one another -- SF is set on a shipyard, New Orleans takes you through an above-ground cemetery and you’ll explore an experimental treatment facility in Salt Lake. While each of the scenarios features strong level design with several memorable locations, the highlight is Portland and its creepy, disused prison that wouldn’t be out of place in a survival horror game. With tons of alternate paths and dark corners to strike from, the prison maps are amongst the best in the game.
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Each of the scenarios can be played in co-op story mode, as well as more action-based game types like Hunter and Last Stand. Given that each of the four scenarios is made up of three individual stages that can be selected for these game types, there’s a lot of content in the “Deniable Ops Pack” for the price tag. The new scenarios can even be tackled solo from Conviction’s “Deniable Ops” portion if you can’t find a suitable co-op partner.
As much as the content is easy to recommend to fans of Conviction’s multiplayer, there’s next to nothing here for fans of Sam Fisher’s core story mode. By the same token, if you were turned off by the elimination of Splinter Cell’s historic “mercs vs. spies” multiplayer, nothing’s going to change your opinion here. In short, if you like Conviction’s co-op multiplayer, these are some great new maps that’ll stretch the life of the game. If you’re not a fan of Splinter Cell’s multiplayer, the “Deniable Ops Pack” won’t convince you to become one.