Reviews for Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell - Blacklist (NA)
Give Mr. Fisher One More Chance!BavarianGod | Nov. 4, 2013 | See all BavarianGod's reviews »
Sam Fisher is in many ways America's James Bond. He has the gadgets, the physical acumen for grappling terrorists with his bare hands, a supporting cast of desk jockeys that interfere with his field work and the backing of a secretive government agency. He's just a shaken martini, a case of crabs and a tailored suit away from being 007's long lost brother. Sam has always differentiated himself from Ian Flemming's fanciful English spy by being less refined, less glamorous and more realistic—enough so to have Tom Clancy's name attached to his games. In recent years, Mr. Fisher has regrettably been more Jack Bauer than his old cunning, stealthy self. While recent Splinter Cell games have not been without some notable additions, on the whole they have strayed from the formula that firmly affixed Sam Fisher as the closest competition to Solid Snake. Despite some misguided PR since Blacklist's announcement, it seems that Sam Fisher is back to his old self—almost. Blacklist kicks off on Andersen AFB in Guam where terrorists have killed a general and made a few things go boom and they are threatening to do it a few more times unless America brings it's troops from abroad back home. While Bond would have been trolling the tourist filled beaches of Tumon bay during such an attack, Fisher is right in the middle of it, waiting patiently in a helicopter that is supposed to depart for an operation. The attack is conducted by The Engineers and it turns out that their leader is rather cunning which leads Fourth Echelon on a globe trotting quest to take them down and restore order. Sam has a personal stake in taking the perpetrators out since his buddy Vic Coste is seriously wounded during the attack on Guam. It's exactly what Splinter Cell fans have come to expect, a world wide game of cat and mouse with a dose of politics and endless debates between administrative desk fixtures and the team that risks life and limb to complete their mission. What's frustrating about Blacklist is is its indifference to some of the heavy political themes present. American imperialism, torture and the detainment of military combatants at Guantanamo are all elements in the plot and Sam and crew offer no thoughts or commentary on them. While I wouldn't want Blacklist to be a heavy handed treatment for or against these things but failing to acknowledge them is mildly disturbing. With a bit more audacity, Blacklist's narrative might have been memorable. Between missions Fisher is able to chat with his crew and even call home on Fourth Echelon’s massive flying command centered called Paladin. It goes a long way toward making the characters more than simply chattering heads pointing out objectives and obstacles. Exploring the Paladin between missions also allows Sam to take on optional missions that can be tackled co-operatively or solo. Recon can also be found between missions that unlocks concept art. The twelve campaign missions reward three different play styles and your actions earn points in each of these categories. Each category has a score that if reached or surpassed results in mastery of that play style for that particular mission. The ghost style will be what Splinter Cell veterans will aim for as it rewards stealthy non-leathal takedowns, evading the enemy and not raising the alarm. Panther play style rewards stealthy kills and the Assault play style caters to impatient jackasses that don't have the good sense to play the Splinter Cell in the way that it was originally intended. Hiding bodies and locating more obscure paths also gives players a point bonus and you score at the end of a mission determines you payment. The stealthier you are the higher the multiplier for point based actions. Money can be used to purchase new guns, gadgets, upgrades and attire for both single and multiplayer. Cash can also be earned at the conclusion of multiplayer matches. The challenges from Conviction also return and completing them earns bonus money. There is also a meta game called Gone Dark that has players following clues to locate terrorists. Following the information you are giving and taking the correct course of action earns you a multiplier for your income at the end of missions. Your missions offer an appreciable number of unique challenges to keep you engaged and being able to take a few different approaches to each task makes them re-playable and puts Blacklist's campaign a cut above the action games it sometimes channels. Whether you are trying to sneak into a truck without knocking out or alerting guards, waiting for data to download while aggressive guards sweep the area or running for your life as everything blows up around Fisher each mission offers intense scenarios that will turn your knuckles white and cause your jaw to clench. Not every scanrio is worthwhile however, first person segments with your partner Briggs are not invigorating in the least. Enemy AI is mostly sharp enough not to trivialize your tasks. Guards that wear helmets will not fall to single headshots, guards with full body armor and respirators must be tackled from the back or sides for successful stealth takedowns and are immune to sleeping gas and electric shocks, and drone operators can be rather pesky by sending barrages of their little robotic buddies after you. Tools like the tri-rotor drone and sleeping gas swing many encounters in your favor however. The tri rotor in particular makes recon so easy and it's four electric charge darts give it more than enough offensive prowess—it often feels kind of cheap to use and purists will want to avoid it. Mark and Execute also returns and can be used in motion now. A perfectionist difficulty setting disables this feature but still allows targets to be marked for easy tracking. Blacklist also marks the triumphant return of multiplayer in Splinter Cell. The much beloved Spies vs. Mercs mode is a 2 on 2 asymmetrical mode that tasks spies with hacking one of three terminals and securing the area while the data transfers. It's the Merc's job to hunt these shadow dwelling saboteurs down. The catch is that the mercenaries have superior firepower but move slowly and their vision is limited to a fist person perspective while spies are agile and able to take the high ground for executions. It is perhaps the most tactical and teamwork focused multiplayer type ever devised. Load outs can now be customized which gives spies more potent offensive capabilities. While Mercs still have the offensive upper hand, this removes much of the tension present in Chaos Theory and Pandora Tomorrow, spoiling the balance those games achieved between these two sides. While many games benefit from the dangling carrot of new weapons and upgrades for your online character Splinter Cell does not. Fortunately, a classic mode is available that features fixed load outs. Both modes also feature infinite respawns which improves the game by forcing players to take objectives rather than turn the mode into deathmatch as well as making the game less daunting for new comers. The PC version of Blacklist isn't the quick and dirty console port we have come to expect, featuring DX 11 features such as tesselation, improved ambient occlusion and higher resolution textures. Outdoor environments are attractive and some missions even occur during the day giving you a chance to absorb the details in the environments. Given the narrative material at hand Blacklist also offers a commendable amount of diversity in it's locals. Xbox 360 owners should be aware that a 3gb HD texture install is required to make Blacklist look acceptable though textures can still be very muddy. The soundtrack takes a page from Battlefield 3 with it's heavy use of distortion and noise and the string piece that plays during Sam's calls to his family is obnoxiously melodramatic and may induce vomiting. Most notable about the audio is the fact that the voice of Sam Fisher has changed. Michael Ironside's deep gravely voice is no longer heard when Sam speaks, instead Eric Johnson voices the master of the shadows. While there is nothing about his performance that is objectionable, his voice sounds more youthful and doesn't match the look of the aging Fisher. What's worse is that this change was made so that performance capture could be used and frankly, the stiff facial animations aren't worth trading Ironside's pipes for. In many ways, Blacklist is return to form. It offers a robust feature set that gives players worthwhile content to explore alone, with friends and while competing with strangers. While it seems there is no turning back toward making Splinter Cell or any other stealth game for that matter, a purely stealthy affair, purists will be able to enjoy the game in classic fashion. The return of Spies vs. Mercs confirms it's status as a classic game mode and even after almost a decade it stands up as a unique and enthralling game type though it's recommended that players stick with classic mode. The narrative is gutless and will likely be forgotten but the gameplay makes up for it. Those who were disenchanted by Double Agent and Conviction should probably give Mr. Fisher one more chance...
Solid Stealth FunBulletter | Oct. 3, 2013 | See all Bulletter's reviews »
Ok let's get the little bit of bad out of the way. The replaced Michael Ironside for a new voice actor. Now Fisher sounds younger than his grown daughter whom you can call in between missions. Ok, now that we are over that, the game is excellent. It's pretty much play-how-you-want stealth. The game rewards you more for staying quiet but you still get some decent end mission cash for going in guns blazing. Speaking of in between missions, that's where you can buy and upgrade your gear and your airplane to make future missions go the way you want. There are several well put together coop missions also if you want a buddy to join in. One of the major things I liked about this game is that the story is easy to understand. Usually in these government shooters the story is convoluted and hard to follow. Not here. There are bad people trying to do bad things and you need to put a bullet in their face. Got it. Overall if you enjoy the Splinter Cell series or are new to it this game allows you to be the spy you want to be not the one the developers want you to be.
Fast paced stealthAsrafil | Sept. 23, 2013 | See all Asrafil's reviews »
As one of the most important stealth franchises there was much pressure on this game to deliver, and luckily it did. Taking the new approach of all stealth games (Dishonored, Thief 4, Hitman Absolution, etc) Blacklist lets the player decide how to play it, if you want to go guns blazing or as shadow. If you are a person that buys stealth games to actually play a stealth game then luckily this game offers a solid stealth gameplay, although it makes shadow not as important as cover making it a little more realistic but equally fun.
A Return to Form for Splinter Cell.JURGMANDR | Sept. 14, 2013 | See all JURGMANDR's reviews »
I was super mad when Ironside got replaced as Sam Fisher, but I honestly quit caring about an hour into the game because the gameplay was so damn good (the story was enthralling as well). The story was well paced and kept me playing for hours at a time. The side missions are very entertaining as well (especially Kobin's missions where you have to subdue/eliminate whole swaths of enemies without being detected). I chose to play most missions either ghost or panther style, which excluding a few setpiece moments is a very viable option. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore (pipes to climb, vents to hide in, sewers to crawl through) as either style. If you missed the verticality of the older games, it's back. Conviction was a fun game, but didn't have quite as much stealth as Splinter Cell fans wanted. This game does. The melee kills/knockouts are really fun (like always) and the new killing in motion concept was pretty damn cool. TLDR: It was polished, controls really well, told a great story, and scratches a stealth junkie's itch. Uplay is kind of and I had some troubles with it, but I turned it to offline mode and no problems since.
Fantastic!Oblaque | Sept. 12, 2013 | See all Oblaque's reviews »
This game is definitely worth the money. Campaign, CoOp missions & Spy vs Mercs. All this tied in with the economy/upgrade system makes this game really fun with a lot of replay value. I also love the fact you can choose to play stealth if you want.
A Huge Improvementnoobboy191 | Sept. 12, 2013 | See all noobboy191's reviews »
Old time fans of the series will be pleased to hear that this game is not just COD in third person. The game now rewards you immensely for being sneaker, not killing everything in sight. This is a great step to the purists that want a pure stealth. A must buy for hardcore stealth gamers and core gamers alike
Excellent Splinter Cell gamemagis123 | Sept. 7, 2013 | See all magis123's reviews »
IMHO one of the best Splinter Cell games to date. Good single player campaign with adequate multiplayer. Excellent use of stealth and force in the game and not as violent as some other FPS's.
A Pleasing FisherRoydo | Sept. 6, 2013 | See all Roydo's reviews »
First off i started playing splinter cell conviction is when i liked the series and this sequel does keep the average. The gameplay is much more smoother and fast and climbing is just like assassins creed. New features like dogs and interactive menu make this game more awesome. The game looks so high tech like dead space while your in the menu. With most Ubisoft games yes this game is quite beautiful and fun. Now lets talk about the characters and story, I dont want to spoil so i wont. Sam fisher has a different voice actor and character now which made me sad. Coming from conviction that old experienced man voice for Sam fisher gave me chills to how much of an experienced badass he is, now he just sounds like a fail batman which does not fit his age. His character seems to have greatly changed from conviction because he actually wants to stop the blacklist instead of retiring. The story is decent but the thing that always gets me is stealth. All stealth games keep me excited i guess thats why i had much fun with this game, that, and all the customization that can be done with the suit/weapons. Overall, fun game lackluster character and story
Enjoying it..McTee | Sept. 1, 2013 | See all McTee's reviews »
I am enjoying this one. So far it runs good, and I haven't had any problems. The CoOp feature is nice.
Awesome GameReggin29 | Aug. 26, 2013 | See all Reggin29's reviews »
Game is totally bomb. Finally, an improvement over the last splinter cell. Ign gave this a 9.2 and it completely deserves it. I smell a GOTY.