- Intriguing Story and strong single player campaign
- Gameplay freedom
- Sufficient selection of weapons and gadgets
- Visually captivating environments
- Selecting one mission over another has no impact on the outcome of the story
- Anti-climatic end
The United States has a military presence in two-thirds of countries around the world. Some of them have had enough of American meddling. A group of terrorists calling themselves "The Engineers" initiate a terror ultimatum called the Blacklist – a deadly countdown of escalating attacks on US interests at home and abroad.
Sam Fisher is back. The stealth, the weapons, the gadgets all come together superbly making it a welcome return for the series. After Chaos Theory, the story of Sam Fisher became one of vengeance, bitterness and outright action. With Double Agent and Conviction, the stealth and story became thinned out and although both games were entertaining, it was clear that something was missing from both the games. However, Blacklist has no such issue, and is truly a great action-stealth game.
I have played each game in the series on PC, but transitioned to console for this and I can honestly say that it was a lot easier than I expected. The cover base system used in the game is quick and easy to use, so is the weapon select function from the OPSAT. It is imperative to know that without completing side missions you will not experience the full extent of Sam’s arsenal of weapons and gadgets. In order to unlock them you need to perform side missions which will grant you access to better weapons, by paying with money you earned from the missions.
It is strange though that Sam, who is fighting to save America with all their military powers and technology, has to pay for the weapons and gadgets with money earned after successfully completing missions. This aspect of the game is a little peculiar to say the least, but doesn’t impact on how the game plays out, however limiting your arsenal may be based on the money you have earned during the game. With so much technology in Sam’s aerial HQ, known as the Paladin, and with upgrades available from your team, one would assume that all levels of weapons and technology should have been available to Fourth Echelon immediately.
One also gets the feeling that Ubisoft wanted to encourage a strong co-op play with other gamers and in doing so created missions that can only be completed in co-op mode. It made it incredibly difficult for me to try and complete these missions, as there didn’t seem to be other players playing the co-op story mode as yet.
Single player: There are three main game modes. The first is a single player campaign which should take you about 9 hours to complete on normal difficulty including most of the side missions.
Co-Op: Then there is co-op which can be played in two ways. One can play online co-op with another player, or a split-screen co-op mode. I played both and they were equally fun to play. I would suggest that should you play split-screen, you use a screen bigger than 27” at least, otherwise the experience won’t be appealing as the screen will seem rather cramped and make it hard to see enemies in the environment.
Spies vs Mercs: Finally there is the online Spies versus Mercs multiplayer mode. I played for about three hours, and whilst there were so few players online at the time, it was none the less entertaining. In this mode you will either play as a spy or as a mercenary. It works like this, Mercs control capture points which the spies must infiltrate and hack. The spy only needs to be within a close proximity to the console being hacked, and the biggest benefit of the spy is the ability to “disappear” into the shadows and use the environment to climb, shimmy or hide. The Mercs on the other hand are kitted out with full body armour and heavy weapons. If a spy is caught there is no way to survive a full frontal assault. The only way to take down a Merc is by sneaking up behind them and using your knife. As you progress in leveling up, better and stronger weapons can be unlocked and made available to the spies, but the main focus is through the use of stealth and your environment.
This is really a great game. What makes it so good is the fact that you choose how you want to approach your missions, and how you gain access into the environments you enter. There are multiple entry points. You can either be a Ghost, silently passing by each enemy without making them aware of your presence. Or you can go panther which means you do non-lethal takedowns of your enemies, or you can go full assault. The less your enemies know of your presence, the greater the reward at the end of the mission, and that’s what Splinter Cell is, a stealth game. I highly recommend that gamers, who lost interest in the series, try the game again. It was a rich, rewarding experience.
Splinter Cell Blacklist Official Site
Platform: Played on PlayStation 3
Gabe's' Twitter | Facebook / MWEB GameZone Twitter | Facebook
Order Splinter Cell: Blacklist from kalahari.com
- D1 Edition - Jack Of All Trades Pre-Order Incentive, only 350 units
Other News from Around the 'Net:
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd