My Splinter Cell: Blacklist Review
The Splinter Cell series has always been fun, but unfortunately more fun than good. The stealth game play even has the Metal Gear Solid games paling in comparison, but the stories and characters have always been forgettable as they were wrapped up in mostly political jargon. However Splinter Cell: Convictions and now with Splinter Cell: Blacklist not only does the characters stand out more, but we get a good story as well.
A new terrorist organization reveals themselves after destroys an Air Force base on the island of Guam. This terrorist group calling themselves The Engineers demands that the U.S. withdraw all troops stationed within foreign countries. If America does not comply with the demands of The Engineers then they will perform a series of devastating attacks on United States soil. This is where Splinter Cell’s protagonist Sam Fisher comes in. He is put in charge of a counter-terrorist team known as Four Echelon and is tasked with taken down The Engineers and stopping their terrorist activities.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist has probably the best story in the series history. With some interesting plot twists and some well done character moments, actually make you care about both the story and the characters this time around and hardly making them forgettable. The mission types although on the outside are mostly the same of getting through the level completing objectives, keep the game play fresh. Breaking into GuantanamoBay to interrogate a prisoner and sneaking back out, defending your plain while it is grounded as waves of enemies attack or going into danger zones to extract characters. The missions and objectives never feel repetitive or boring.
The Splinter Cell series has always been about stealth game play at its heart and although that stealth game play returns in Blacklist, Ubisoft has done a great job of opening the game up to other forms of play style. There is the Ghost style, which fans of the series will love. It is the stealth, sneak past as many baddies as possible and kill no one style. Then there is the panther style which is stealthy still, but you kill anyone that gets in your way and hide their bodies and try not to be seen. Lastly is the Assault game play style, which is just as the name says, it is all about run and gun basically taking everyone out without trying to sneak around. Each of these game play styles works good and fits most of the levels, although some levels toward the end can be complicated for someone like me trying to use the Ghost style, but still is doable. This way even those that want to play Blacklist like it was call of Duty can do so.
Depending on how you play of these three styles or even using all three in a level you get points for your game play and that adds up to getting money from the United States Government to fund anything Sam Fisher needs for catching the terrorists. There is a good amount of gear, gadgets, guns and even different additions to Sam’s iconic goggles that players can unlock with the money made. You don’t only have to play the main story missions to earn money for upgrades; there are a number of different side missions to do. Each of your team mates has special side missions for you to do, each team mates set of missions are different from the others. One is defeating waves of enemies; another is seeking in and hacking some computers or trying to take down every hostile in an area without alerting their reinforcements. Most of these can be done by way of single player or co-op (online or split-screen) and there is one set of missions that is only co-op.
As if that wasn’t enough, the online multiplayer Spies vs. Mercs has been brought back. Although I never played the online before in Splinter Cell, I was curious to try it now and needed to for writing this. In Spies vs. Mercs you have a team of Mercs that are trying to protect a series of terminals from the other team which are the spies that are trying to infiltrate the area and hack into the terminals. The one thing here that really bothered me is that Mercs play in first-person and Spies are in third-person. I don’t understand the need to have both and really the major problem here is I do not care for FPS games all that often. Third-person is clearly better and so it makes it feel like the Mercs are at a disadvantage from the start. Either way Spies vs. Mercs is a refreshing change of pace from the standard team death match that you usually get from games with multiplayer shooters.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist has tons of range for gamers of all shooter genres and never gets repetitive. You also get a great story that you don’t just forget about as you are playing the game and a team of characters that actually are useful making them standout and interesting. Whether you want to sneak in and back out again, silently kill the enemies or want to run in guns blazing this game will be for you.