Those familiar with Sam Fisher have noticed an awful lot of changes in his life / career since first hitting the scene in 2002. The Splinter Cell series has allowed gamers to course through the shadows in this light and dark-based stealth game, which grew to iconic status with 2006’s Double Agent. Consistently one of Ubisoft’s flagship franchises, the man with the trifocal goggles returns with a few new tricks in his latest outing, Blacklist.
When a mysterious band of evil doers dubbed The Engineers put into action a large scale series of terrorist attacks, it is up to Fisher and his newly minted Fourth Echelon base to prevent these multiple attacks as the clock ticks down. Before each mission, you are able to choose and customize your weapons, gadgets, and gear while aboard the Paladin. Blacklist encourages gamers to play uniquely in three different modes: Ghost, Panther and Assault. Ghost is the super stealth non-lethal way, Panther is when you flex your lethal options and Assault is the all-out noisemaker at the party.
Boasting the dopest coffee table to be ever used in a video game, players are able to engage others online, tackle side missions and more in the S.M.I. (Strategic Mission Interface). This well integrated tactical world map even allows you to access co-op missions and the popular Spies vs. Mercs multiplayer. The enemy A.I. also gets a boost of improvement, as they will investigate noises made, follow your path and even kick down a door with gun’s a-blazing. These elements make the experience of playing your way more tense and rewarding. The return of the “Mark and Execute” system from Conviction is much appreciated. By tapping the Right Bumper, you can keep your play style in check smoothly.
Along with the great gameplay, Blacklist is also another testament to the storytelling genius of the Tom Clancy brand of political thrillers. Gamers watch as the president handpicks Sam Fisher to lead Fourth Echelon into battle and stop the terrorists by any means necessary, which means there are exciting plot twists and turns throughout the story.
A gripe that was made during gameplay was that the whole cover system can be somewhat awkward. During one mission, you had to navigate Fisher in this dark loading area past a bunch of guards without being seen. The light and dark-based element, usually a point of fun for hardcore fans, was made cumbersome due to the sensitivity of the Sixaxis. Another problem emerges when the style of play you’ve chosen has been taken away from you by the developer. In numerous missions during the later stages of the single-player campaign, you’re left with no choice than to dance to the developer’s tune.
Ubisoft is no slouch when it comes to offering visual experiences. Navigating around shadowy areas and past enemies show off the game’s crisp and fluid character movements. Casual fans may not even notice the departure of Michael Ironside as the voice of Sam Fisher, due to Eric Johnson wonderful vocal talents.
All in all, Splinter Cell: Blacklist gives you your money’s-worth and more. In-game currency allows you to upgrade Sam’s threads / gadgets between mission and online, while optional Dead Drops and side challenges allow you to bolster your funds. Add to that another host of missions (14) that you can play with a friend, “Spies vs. Mercs” multiplayer battle mode and a horde mode, and you are presented with an engaging experience that will prove just how changed a man Sam Fisher is.
Don’t believe us?! Watch the trailer for the game below: