Once again, the “Jack Bauer”-esque hero of the franchise, Sam Fischer, is thrusted onto the frontline infiltrating nefarious forces to prevent outright war.
The “Blacklist” is a series of terror attacks that promises to tear the United States apart unless the government agrees to pull its troops out of the Middle East – a plot that could have been pulled out of most spy/CIA themed TV series (think Homeland). Standing in the terrorist’s way is the protagonist, Sam Fischer, a spy who is willing to do just about anything to save America.
The game is a series of missions where Sam has to infiltrate enemy strongholds to retrieve data, hack computers or recover informants. As with the previous titles, Sam can take multiple approaches to ensure the mission success – he can go in guns blazing, sneak around eliminating baddies one-by-one or enter and leave without anyone knowing he was there.
The movement and combat is slick and Sam is able to fluidly sneak and kill huge amounts of baddies with relative ease. This game, more than the previous title Conviction, places a bigger emphasis on stealth. The result is a tense gameplay throughout, no matter which combat style is used.
Commerce plays a big part in this game. Completing tasks and missions is rewarded with cash that Sam can use to upgrade his mobile airplane HQ, buy or upgrade weapons or unlock new gadgets like sleeping gas. Further cash can be earned by completing side missions, in-game combat challenges and beating scores of Xbox live rivals.
The multiplayer modes are also a highlight. All of Sam’s side missions can be played in online or split screen co-op mode and each mission is brilliant designed for two players. Another competitive mode, Spies vs Mercs, pits stealth spies against well-armed mercenaries. There are number of modes to play including traditional team deathmatch and extraction, a capture-the-flag mode.
While Splinter Cell: Blacklist is not a hugely innovative game for the series it is a step closer towards the stealth gameplay that made the series so popular. It is brilliantly paced, has an engaging story and the free-flowing combat is easy to pick up and is hugely satisfying. It is one of the best games of the Splinter Cell franchise.
The good: Great combat; different play styles; split screen co-op.
The bad: Some in-game glitches; campaign can only be played single player.
My rating: 8/10
Reminds me of: previous splinter cell games.