Splinter Cell Blacklist sees a return to our favourite bad ass spy Sam Fisher, although we have lost the voice of Michael Ironside the character still feels more refined and deadlier than ever.
Blacklist Follows a group called The Engineers, an elite terrorist group threatening to destroy America so long as they have troops in other countries. Sam and his Fourth Echelon team are set the task to find and take this organization down. Within the team, you are joined by some favourite characters from the previous games, such as Anna Grímsdóttir and Vic (from Convictions) and new characters such as Cole the tech guy and Briggs your co-op friend and support in single player. These characters help you advance/ unlock and customise Sam, giving you access to weapons and armour which change the way you play to make it feel more of your own story.
Choose between three styles of game play, Ghost, Panther and Assault. These styles get you points (Ghost giving you the most) which then give you cash to upgrade yourself and your HQ. This gives you a lot of choices and also makes you choose how you dispatch your enemies. Ghost, the very silent and non-lethal approach, proved the best for myself throughout most of the game, though there were times where I did have to go Panther and deliver some lethal skills to pave the way to the next area. Assault only really comes in to play if you decide to go guns blazing, or get caught and have no choice, taking breach charges and incendiary grenades to take on groups of enemies usually ended in more problems and a short lifespan so I stuck to what this game was about and went silent.
Weapons and gadgets really do make this game worth the time it takes to save up cash so you can make the best load out possible, weapons span from standard every day law enforcement to black market grade, with enough customization on all to make you swap out and see what works for you. Personally, I stuck with the VSS rifle and the USSR Makarov, but at times I would go loud with a Deagle, just because I could.
Gadgets also aplenty, EMP Chaff, Proximity Shockers to Tear Gas and Remote Controlled Drones. I was always changing out just to see what kind of damage I could do and how to best use these devices for maximum effect. But let’s not forget the goggles! Now you can customize the lights and functions they have, making this a unique experience and style for any load out.
Blacklist goes back to the old days but still has some remnants from the last game Convictions, The mark and execute game play is still there, but a lot less, which means you can focus on what’s important, the strategy, sure you can go mark and take down a group of mercs, but keep in mind that some now wear helmets and take more shots to take down, you also see more heavily armoured foes, so this makes you work and plan the next stunt. This I feel works better, I don’t feel like I’ve cheated to push on, but earned it, it’s how Splinter Cell should be. Unlike Convictions where the game play felt watered down and at many times easy for a console release, this feels very much alive and ever changing. The environments are never the same: go to the desert, spend some time in Turkey, hey maybe spend some time in Guantanamo Bay. There is always something new, and with that, a new way to address the next challenge, also, the AI is never the same, making sure you can’t always be sure what’s going to happen next. They have really put time into this game and revived the real Sam Fisher.
After A full play though I feel like this is a job well done, but maybe a little too short and not a massive learning curve which I did enjoy in the previous games. But when you see there is a whole CO-OP feature and Merc VS Spies you can feel that it’s your money’s worth. I hope to see some DLC at some point but I am happy to see that Splinter Cell has brought back the old style of Chaos Theory and Double Agent and for that I am grateful.