Sam Fisher is reborn in Splinter Cell: Blacklist – invigorating a new birth to the stealth franchise. The action is rampant, the dialogue and scenery are at a high, and the game mechanics remain nostalgic to the fun of pre-Conviction days. While the action is certainly up on a high scale in Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the elements of the Blacklist threat in terms of the mission structure remains loosely segmented and follows a more structured mission that delivers story that is afraid of breaking the formulated element.
The game takes places three years after Splinter Cell: Conviction, as Sam Fisher receives a new face with the latest BOTOX surgery available on Shadownet. We are joking, of course. But one thing that veteran Splinter Cell enthusiasts will realize is Sam looks like Commander Shepard’s brother, being younger and more chiseled. The threat is all the same but more metaphysical in terms of Blacklist, a series of attacks on American soil in light of U.S. soldier hegemony in outer countries including but not limited to the Middle East. After an American base is attacked, there is commotion to withdraw troops and politcal disruption. As Sam Fisher, the Presidents right hand, you lead special operations & counter-terrorism unit Fourth Echelon in their quest to take down the imminent series of The Engineers, the mastermind group behind dramaturgic Blacklist attacks. The storyline pacing is nice and the inclusion of the planar effects during cutscenes and intense moments is most welcomed in a 24-style action-paced adventure.
The gameplay of Splinter Cell: Blacklist focuses on stealth action similar to previous titles. Mark & Execute is back, where players mark targets with the bumper buttons and then execute them using Y or Triangle (PS3). Throughout the intel picked up mission to mission, Sam Fisher can play in one of three ways: Ghost, Panther, and Assault. The assault style includes open all out warfare including run and gun. Ghost is using non-lethal only kills from the gadget selector and panther is the best of both worlds, staying in hiding but using lethal tactics. This is the majority of how mission play out with a linear structure in the sandbox style elements. Unfortunately, Ubisoft decided to take out the torture sequences that gave an intense thrill to getting information from enemies with reminiscence of The Punisher. Now, the sequences are more replaced with generic style cutscene interrogations and takes away from a good portion of the immersion. Sam Fisher goes out of his way to fight through bad guys, and yet torture sequences seem to be a problem to negative conception? It is most definitely an irritating aspect of game design chosen by the team.
Through missions, Fourth Echelon gains money for upgrades to the plane, and weapons for Sam’s gear which reaches Nanofiber technology. The upgrades system is relatively straightforward and the gameplay itself has a lot of new gadgets, particularly the tri-rotor – a new device that flies, fires sticky shockers, and can even detonate and be retrieved. The extra gadgets are going to be something players will have fun with, but nothing exciting or groundbreaking here.
Multiplayer comes with couch cooperative play in missions for your teammates which can range from Ghost style missions or retrieval missions for physical intel. Online multiplayer returns with Spies vs Mercs but this is the same type of gameplay mode with the additional changes the garner single-player gameplay style. Multiplayer remains relatively the same, and sticks to its boxed element as in past games.
For everything Splinter Cell: Blacklist does right, which is a lot of things, it also does wrong in realizing its full potential as more than a sandbox linear game. An open-world Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain style is what this game needed. While the same elements work for the type of game it is, it lacks potential in trying to play it safe. Sam Fisher has yet to experience open-world gameplay which is a sorely missed opportunity. In any case, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is fun for veteran fans despite being lackluster in innovation and missing its targeted mark