So I picked up my Pre-Order of Splinter Cell Conviction Collector’s Edition last night. The Clerk recognized me and already knew what I was there for; starting to fetch my game before I even had a chance to respond to his greeting. He asked to make sure I knew the included USB cards were known to be faulty, informing me that he canceled his own pre-order because of it. I told him I didn’t really care, I don’t think I’ve ever used an included USB stick in the past.
The first thing I notice about the case is that it’s sealed in kind of a cheap plastic, nice that they actually sealed the whole case, but the quality of it might leave some sealed game collectors questioning if it’s a re-seal or not. It’s got a sticker on the front outside the seal advertising that it includes a Beta copy of the next Tom Clancy title “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier”.
So far I’m fairly pleased I’m really happy that they went back to a steel case, very reminiscent of the Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory CE case that got me hooked on collecting CEs in the first place. If nothing else it’s already better than the Double Agent CE.
Rather than trying to skimp on the Art Book and shove it inside the SteelBook case they instead used a plastic sleeve that is open on the top and holds the SteelBook and the hardcover Art Book together. The nice this about it is being closed on the bottom the case doesn’t slide out the bottom when you pull it off the shelf.
The included Art Book isn’t specific to Conviction rather it dedicates a few pages to each of the splinter cell games, unfortunately though its fairly lacking overall. It’s nice to see progression though the series but those who are more interested in concept art 3D breakdowns, or highly detailed versions of the in-game assets will be disappointed. It also suffers in the same way other DVD-case sized Art Books do and that is the small pages make it difficult to really showcase the art. I do appreciate it when they fit everything into a package that easily fits on your DVD shelf, however the size problem is compounded here where they attempted to fit 3-4 images per page, making it harder to really see the details in the images.
The SteelBook case is rather minimalist, it has no artwork on the inside, and the outside has no text to speak of, just a faux-tarnished-metal look with 3 bullet holes entering the back an exiting the front in the stereotypical “splinter cell” pattern. I did get a chuckle out of the “shot in the back” concept here, though I don’t think the cover would have looked as nice had it showed the entry holes. I also like the fact that they were able to work in the 3 dot logo in a way that was appropriate for the title. I should also mention that the holes are actually embossed into the metal, which gives it a nice 3 dimensional look.
The rest of the goodies are inside the case, sadly this is also where this particular CE starts to fall apart. The first thing you’ll notice is that the stickers and USB Card are just floating loose inside the case. Thankfully my DVD didn’t get scratched from it. The next thing you’ll notice is that, as I mentioned before there is no artwork decorating the inside of the Steel Book, and there is only one disc.
I can’t imagine anyone would really get excited over the stickers, I mean it’s an adult rated game. While I wasn’t really that interested about the USB stick before, I was actually excited for it once I actually saw it. The thing is only slightly thicker than a credit card, and you really wouldn’t even know it was a USB stick just looking at it, with that in mind it would be really handy to keep in your wallet. Sadly I tested mine, and it didn’t work. Reading through the back of the box it would seem that the stick is also what they used to store the making-of documentary and lots of other goodies that I will sadly miss out out. I realize that Ubisoft dropped the price by $10 to compensate for the faulty cards but to be honest this was the bulk of the CE’s value right here, I would have much preferred they did a recall like we’ve seen in the past with the Big Daddy figures and the Face Huggers. Heck I’d be willing to send them $10 if they’re willing to ship me a working card.
Also inside the case are two fliers, one is a content card with two codes for some in-game content, the other explains how to access the Ghost Recon beta, in English on one side and French on the other (I’m assuming they did this so they could dual-purpose the card in Canada).
I was sadly disappointed that there was no Comic Book to be found either. Apparently this was also included on the ill-fated USB stick. I can understand putting the making-of documentary on the stick, I actually think it makes more sense than on a DVD but there’s really no reason to not print out the comic.
Rumor has it that Ubisoft will be making the content from the USB drive available on their website tomorrow, but really that just further serves to devalue the Collector’s Edition. Looks like I’ll be writing another “Not-So-Special-Edition” article.
From a case design standpoint this CE hits all the right notes, it looks fantastic, it has a SteelBook and fits on the DVD shelf. From a content standpoint it was pretty weak, the art-book was so-so and the rest of the good content was tied up in a USB stick that wont work for most people. A further slap in the face is that the missing content will be made available for everyone.
Beyond just the content on the USB drive not being available the USB drive is probably the first one to be included with a game that would actually be handy to keep on you and use. Not to mention it’s discrete form factor made it an actual piece of useful spy-gear, unlike some bulky night vision goggles.
If you’re a SteelBook fan you might consider buying this game, but beyond that, I don’t really think it’s worth the price tag considering the dead USB drives.