Video Game Review: Splinter Cell Blacklist

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Game: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist

Developer(s):Ubisoft

Publisher(s): Ubisoft

Platform(s): PC, Playstation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360

Genre(s): Stealth 3rd Person Action Adventure

US Release Date:  August 20, 2013

Rating: M-Mature

If you have never played a Splinter Cell game, you should really rectify that situation. If you have never read a Tom Clancy book, you should also get that fixed. I am looking forward to the point in my life when I have enough free time to read through the Jack Ryan series and game adaptations. Anyways, I digress. I admit that I am a fan boy of Ubisoft in general and anything Tom Clancy. So I might be a little biased.

You can read the review or listen to the audio or both!

Audio:

Quick Synopsis:

As this is the seventh game (counting a PSP game), and you need a Splinter Cell backstory, go here.

A terrorist organization, The Engineers, initiate a terror ultimatum called…. the Blacklist! It is a countdown of escalating attacks on US interests both on domestic and foreign soils. Why are they doing this? Some countries have had enough of US Military presence on foreign soil. These attacks will stop if and when the troops are pulled. The United States of America has an “I do not negotiate with terrorists” policy.

Post-Conviction, Sam Fisher is in the private security business with his good friend Vic. Vic was injured in the first Blacklist attack and Madam President brought together Fourth Echelon with Fifth Freedom rights (license to kill) reporting only to her.

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Sam Fisher (Eric Johnson) is the protagonist teaming up with Anna “Grim” Grimsdottir (Kate Drummond) who has been Sam’s handler since the beginning. Isaac Briggs (Dwain Murphy), a former CIA agent is the field operator; Charlie Cole (David Reale), the tech expert from the private security force, and the antagonist from Conviction Andriy Kobin (Elias Toufexis) joins the team on the Paladin, the 4th Echelon base in the sky. Majid Sadiq (Carlo Rota) is the terrorist leader and main antagonist.

Journey with Sam through 13 main campaign missions and 14 Fourth Echelon side missions. I don’t want to go into too much of the details of the actual story. I will say that it is a compelling story and that there are some “I didn’t see that coming” moments. Especially in the final mission.

From Conviction, they kept the sonar goggles, white silhouette for last seen position by your enemies, enemy tagging, and execution. In this game, they introduce a way for players to have totally different experiences with the game’s play style.

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  • Ghost – non-lethal in both hand to hand and weaponry, remaining undetected, or avoid enemies all together.
  • Panther – lethal in both hand to hand and weaponry and not avoiding enemies, but still using the shadows.
  • Assault – full out combat using last known position to deceive.

For the Fourth Echelon side missions, it is a little more controlled on what you choose. I also found these missions to be more difficult than the actual campaign missions.

  • Grim’s missions are more Ghost/Panther oriented. Do not raise any alarms, do not become detected because if you do, mission failed. By the way, there are no checkpoints with here, so it is starting all over. The challenging part for me, was that it was stealth, but for most of the missions in broad day light or with lights you couldn’t shoot out.
  • Kobin’s missions are somewhat similar to Grim’s. There are certain spots for checkpoints, and if you do raise an alarm, reinforcements come in.
  • Charlie’s missions reminded me of a Firefight/Horde mode. I had two load outs, a stealth and an assault, and I made sure I was equipped for assault for Charlie’s. More armor, frags and incendiary. There were five waves, and then on the fifth wave you had to capture an HVT (High Value Target) within a certain timeframe. Luckily each wave is a check point. After the fifth you have an option to continue on or extract. I always chose extract.
  • Unfortunately I did not do any of the Briggs missions. I don’t like playing with people I don’t know.

Trailers:

My Personal Stats:

I played this on a PC with a gamepad on Normal difficulty. According to Raptr, I have a game rank of ELITE and I have played for 24 hours and 37 minutes. I have completed 21 of 47 achievements. I have only played single player campaign. I have not done any of the Briggs co-op missions or the multiplayer Spies vs. Mercs.

Pros:

Graphics: (1) For current gen, I personally thought the graphics were great. Especially the environment. Lighting is huge in this game. You have to have a good understanding of shadows and lighting to sneak around. I think it is pulled off well. Individuals are getting better looking all  around  in concerns with details. 4

Audio:  (2) The folly sounds and soundtrack, really fit the mood the writers were going for and enhanced the experience rather than distract from it. They definitely added to the suspenseful situations.

Game Play: (3) The environment itself was amazing. So many different paths you could take and hide. You could use the environment to your advantage with the lights, fire extinguishers, flammable barrels, etc. (4) Choice. Choice of full out assault or total sneaky sneak stealth. (5) Armored guards force you to think more. To observe the environment. To understand the path they are taking. Though at times it can be  frustrating, in the end, more times than not, it is rewarding. (6) Replay-ability. While in a mission, did you get discovered when you didn’t want to  be? Restart from last checkpoint! You can go back to your SMI and replay 4E missions and campaign missions with all of the upgrades in place.  This is one of the things I am excited with. I definitely want to go back and increase the difficulty with the upgrades and challenge myself a little  more.

Cons:

5Audio: (1) Voice acting. This is really an in between pro/con. It is not as good as it could have been, it seems like the actors didn’t put much effort into it. However, it was not as horribly horrific as the Star Trek 2013 game was. The main 2 character of the entire series were replaced with brand new actors. I think Eric did a good job as Sam Fisher, but I missed Michael Ironside. Michael will always be Sam, much like Kevin Conroy will always be Batman.

Game Play: (2) More times than not, I personally had difficulties marking enemies using the sonar goggles, if they were on the other side of a wall.

Conclusion:

On a 1 (worse) through 5 (best) scale, I would rate this a 5) Buy Brand New. 

The only reason I didn’t buy it brand new is due to lack of free time with work and college. Which is why ACIV and Watch_Dogs stays on the do not purchase list.

I tried Fraps for the first time with this game. Gameplay – Splinter Cell: Blacklist – Opium Farm – Part 1 

Thanks for Playin’!

Twitter: @JD_Shep

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