It’s hard to say what the last couple of Splinter Cell games were fully about after Chaos Theory. While Conviction wasn’t bad, it did pack a more action experience then a stealthy one. We almost didn’t know if we’d get back any of that back. Splinter Cell Blacklist takes us back to the roots of that stealth genre we remember from the series. Blending in some of the new elements and bringing back most of the old.
In this new storyline for Sam Fisher we see a pattern of terror attacks in the United States after a list of classified personals is leaked online. The leak of the list is all apart some grander scheme which plays out through the game, leaving you to make choices on where a terrorist attack might happen next. This is one of the better stories for Splinter Cell of recent years, characters on both sides are integral to everything going on and are done quite well. All missions come from base which is a highly tactical aircraft and this is where you can get intel on new missions, talk to characters and make various upgrades
With this it is only fitting that we’d get a Sam Fisher worthy of the name of stealth and we get that. Creeping through the shadows, non-lethal gadgets and attacks are all back and work seamlessly like never before. Another great part however is if you were very much used to the action oriented Splinter Cell Conviction then that style of play is totally available to you.
Points can be gathered from things you do throughout missions, like lethal to non-lethal takedowns etc. This all translates to money from your points afterward to be used for the Sam’s new equipment load outs. You can purchase new gadgets, guns and armor for various use. IF you want to go in guns blazing and be unstoppable badass this can be done with the right tools. Your money can also be used to upgrades to your base which serve as passive stat upgrades to Sam which serve useful when playing single player or cooperatively.
A trio of multiplayer modes is back including spies vs Mercs which has been missed since Chaos Theory. That game mode made its way into Double Agent but didn’t feel like the Spies vs Mercs we all knew, this one does. They have also extended the gameplay with some coop-missions that you get alongside the single player. Personally I think this idea is great as everything blended together making the coop felt like it made sense to everything else going on. Some can be played solo but it’s definitely better with a friend.
One of our only complaints with the game was the classic trade out of Sam Fisher’s voice actor Michael Ironside for the younger Eric Johnson. This removes the raspy “I’m to old for this sh#t attitude with the banter that goes along with it for a “cut the sh#t kind of Sam Fisher. Most of the time it tends to work but on others we miss the character to character interaction that was made by the previous editions. The only other thing we could not take our eyes off of the character models aren’t on the same level as Sam Fisher himself which make them hard to look at at times. Grim specifically tends to have a very lifeless look in his eyes which can be a bit scary.
This is truly a Splinter Cell we needed but only begs the question this close to the next generation console release how it didn’t span on to that? None the less this should not be missed as everything that fans of the series have been agonizing for. We only wished it could have been longer and it felt only slightly more classic but with a great story under its belt you tend to overlook any issues you have with it since the gameplay is their to back it up.