||Splinter Cell: Blacklist comes as a relief to players who lost interest in the
series after Double Agent. While I personally wasn't one of those players, and
was actually very happy with Conviction (one of my favorites from the series)
there were a lot of people who felt they lost too much of the original feel of
the game. Returning in Blacklist is the unique Mark & Execute system, that has
been revamped a bit and feels not only more fluid, but a bit more worth-while.
In the past we've seen elements of this gameplay in not only the current-gen
Double Agent and Conviction, but if you had the pleasure of playing Chaos Theory,
you'll understand it takes from the older end of the franchise as well.
Blacklist's story is new, and feels like a reboot to some (while missing elements
of what a "reboot" usually consists of) while still showing there's been a
progression since the last game. The story never tires or dulls out, in the past
there have been missions that felt like nothing more than fillers to advance you
or keep up with the number of missions and gameplay time people crave; that
doesn't exist here. There are so many options in Blacklist it's not funny, in a
good way of course.
You always have the option to change up your technique, and you're given a score
(similar to the way Hitman once worked) on how much of each technique you used.
There's Assault, which is your basic guns blazing; bomb throwing; combat kills
styled routine. You have Ghost, which naturally fits the game's overall idea, but
can be a challenge, because it relies on you being not only non-leathal, but
avoid the enemies totally; making you rely on speed and stealth and making
getting through areas a bit harder if you're looking to score here. Finally
there's a nice blend, my personal favorite, Panther; which allows you to finish
off your enemies, but without noise or being spotted. Kill in the shadows, use
gas grenades and such luring and executing enemies in the darkness.
The great part of the gameplay is you get to experience all aspects, there are a
few missions where getting spotted means you're through; but almost every mission
gives you the opportunity of getting out of sticky situations, and actually gives
you points for doing so. It's a lot of fun to sit there and plot out just how
you're going to make your next move, and sometimes guards change behaviors
totally throwing off your plan making you improvise.
There are tons of actions and achievements that sport extra cash for you to spend
on (sometimes very expensive) gear and upgrades, so it's worth exploring and
trying different approaches. The developers didn't just give you options for
approach, they gave you all the toys and weapons you'll need to try out each one.
You can repeat missions, change your loadout and gear; trying out not only
different techniques but there are missions that give you choices, meaning you
can change your point of view on a situation and see the outcome.
Blacklist is very robust; the famous Spies vs Mercs MP mode makes a glorious
comeback, the co-op campaign mixture of missions that allow for co-op giving
different routes and even 4E missions that are co-op only, and the amazing amount
of customization and balance of stealth, strategy, and action in both maps and
the story make the game an amazing landmark to be found in the series. Fans
dedicated to the Splinter Cell series will feel like they've gotten a taste of
all the fine points in the series' games without missing out on anything, while
still having an enticing story that makes you wanna keep playing.
Whether or not you were planning on buying Splinter Cell, or are even a fan, this
should be on your list. The graphics don't feel brand new 100% of the time, but
the sounds, musical score, and mechanics make for an amazing game and one of the
best games in its genre.