Gameloft's upcoming release of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction looks to bring over the feel and style of the Splinter Cell reboot to the iPhone in a four to five hour experience. And in many ways, it seems to succeed.
My time spent playing the game on the iPhone yesterday gave me a chance to check out some of the things that have so far set Conviction apart from previous iterations of the series.
There were moments when my goal appeared as giant white text hovering over the scenery, though the effect wasn't nearly as powerful as what I've seen in the console version of the game.
The other gameplay elements brought over to the iPhone, though, were much more impressive.
The third-person stealth action game had me to trying and stay out of sight of enemies, with the help of an eye icon in the top left corner of the screen, by taking cover behind containers and shooting out lights.
The controls are pretty straight forward: A virtual thumbstick located in the bottom left of the screen allows me to move around, while touching anywhere else on the screen with my right hand allowed me to look around and aim. One icon in the bottom right of the screen allow me to fire my weapon or execute stealth takedowns. The other icon changed depending on the context, allowing me to interact with my environment. I used this virtual button to open doors, flick switches, take cover and move behind hiding spots.
Icons in the top of the screen controlled weapon and gadget selection. The gadgets I played around with gave me night vision and temporarily disabled electronics.
Other familiar gameplay elements in the iPhone game included showing me my last known position by enemies with a transparent silhouette and the ability to tag multiple enemies with a market and then pop up and shoot them in quick succession automatically with my gun.
While the console version of the game requires you to execute a few stealth takedowns to activate this ability, the iPhone's version gives you the option anytime you set yourself up in the right conditions of lighting, stealth and proximity.
The game's story will loosely mirror the console version of the game and include ten levels which will take four to five hours to complete, I was told.
Playing around with the early build of the game for about 30 minutes, I was impressed with how smoothly the concepts of Conviction translated to the iPhone. The only miss I saw were those in-scenery messages which looked a little too low-res for my liking.
It was a blast to tap-stealth my way through a level, deciding from a surprisingly broad selection of options, which way I wanted to tackle a problem. One security room, for instance, had two doors, a window and a sky light, all of which could have been used to enter the room and take out the people inside with varying degrees of stealth.
My biggest concern for the not-yet priced game is that after playing through the five hours or so of the campaign, you're finished. I know that's true of plenty of console titles, but I still don't like the idea of such a short, essentially disposable experience.