Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

“Sam Fisher returns to the shadows once again in a fresh Splinter Cell game that acknowledges the series’ heritage while simultaneously moving it forward. Variety in gameplay, intense campaign action and a wonderfully thought out multiplayer experience brings Splinter Cell back with a bang (silenced of course).”

As a series Splinter Cell has gone through considerable changes from its stealthy roots. The modernisation of Splinter Cell in Conviction really pushed the franchise into the action genre and limited the players’ ability to use stealth gameplay, something that the series was clearly known for. Blacklist acknowledges this issue and provides an experience that boasts incredible replay value with the ability to play the campaign using whatever play-style you see fit.

Using a post-level scoring system, Blacklist rewards players for using the Assault, Ghost and Panther styles of gameplay – loud and deadly, quiet and non-lethal and quiet and lethal. Each has very specific gameplay elements and gadgets associated with them. So if the stealth approach from traditional Splinter Cell experiences is what you prefer then you’re more than welcome to tackle the entire game this way. Though fans of the lethal approach can holster their tranquillisers and bring out the big guns. 

If the awesome campaign wasn’t enough, Blacklist also provides engaging multiplayer options. Cooperative missions with various play-style pushed on you forces players to experience the different ways to play Splinter Cell. The famous Spies vs. Mercs also makes a return if you’re looking for competitive action against other players. 

Blacklist’s presentation lacks the shine that you’d expect from a game coming at this point in this generation. The graphics are ok but nothing special and poor voice casting including the removal of Sam Fisher’s original voice actor lead to sub-par story development. This perhaps is more due to the story itself being bland yet believable rather than the actors themselves. Blacklist is a classic example of a package with great gameplay but lacking the polish you’d expect in presentation.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist’s incredible level design and gameplay really help propel the series back into the limelight where it deserves to be. A great campaign with plenty of replay value will keep you coming back while multiplayer modes serve to bolster the package even more. It’s just a little shame that the same quality doesn’t transition to the game’s presentation.

Regardless, the series has seen change but here is a package that remembers and acknowledges its heritage while bringing Splinter Cell forward. Blacklist is a wonderful way to sign off the series before it makes its inevitable transition to the next generation of gaming. 

Gameplay: 9
Presentation: 7
Replay Value: 9
Verdict: 8

Igor Kharin

Splinter Cell Blacklist at CeX

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