Published on August 16th, 2013 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Release date: 22 August 2013
Available on: PlayStation 3, XBox 360, Wii U, PC
Summary: Grizzled and gutsy Sam Fisher is back in a new third-person, stealth-based action game on a mission to stop US terrorist attacks. Flipping the bird at his former government employers, 3rd Echelon, he now calls the shots without Michael Ironside’s husky voice-acting.
Concept: A terrorist posse calling themselves The Engineers have initiated an ultimatum called the Blacklist – a deadly countdown of escalating terrorist attacks on U.S. Sam Fisher dons his trademark tactical suit and goggles as he races against the clock to find out who’s behind this devastating threat.
Graphics: Gorgeous scenery and detailed structures look amazing even under heavy coats of shadow. Sam seems a little gaunt this time, but definitely looks younger and more studly for the ladies! Characters move around with silky-smooth finesse and this translates to combat which feels way more badass than ever before, with unique takedowns.
Gameplay: Stalking bad guys in the shadows with the latest high-tech gadgets make you feel like a goddamn robot ninja, and the campaign is loaded with more action and story than ever. Sam’s new spring in his step makes him nimbler and easier to control, kinda like Assassin’s Creed. This is great for fast-paced action bits but unfortunately dumbs-down the key stealth stuff we loved from the old games.
Sound: Sam Fisher is just not the same without the voice of actor Michael Ironside (you know, the captain from Starship Troopers and the bad guy from Total Recall?). But the new voice actor, Eric Johnson, is a convincing alternative. Sound effects play a solid part in the stealth elements in the game, but aren’t quite as impactful for tension as it used to be.
Multiplayer: Low and behold, multiplayer modes see the return of co-op play with Sam and a team mate named Briggs. Earning in-game currency lets you unlock new weapons and gadgets, but teamwork doesn’t feel that necessary to complete missions. It also sees the return of versus mode, Spies versus Mercs, which is a capture-the-flag like which is basically two sneaky ops versus a bunch of gun-wielding, online goons, who play from first-person perspective. It quite fun but can’t see the appeal extending for a lengthy period of time.
Awesomeness: Unlike most JRPGs, the areas are broken up well with good room for exploring and warps to get you out quickly. Mission objectives are explained clearly and there’s enough skill, magic and equipment upgrades to keep you wanting more. Some conversations and side missions get tedious, but the main adventure is both engaging and endearing. While some fights get repetitious, the moves make you feel like a bad-ass, particularly when you stand victor unscathed.
Final Word: It’s a bit like the last game, Splinter Cell: Conviction, but with more explosions and an injection of brutal, in-your-face takedowns. You find yourself killing a little mercilessly because it’s fairly easy to do, and this loses some of the humanity that’s key to a good story. Regardless, it paces itself forward like the TV drama, 24, and had us engaged non-stop.
Score out of 5 bugs
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing