Game Review: Splinter Cell Blacklist

2013-09-27 07:30
Sam Fisher and Isaac Briggs.

Sam Fisher and Isaac Briggs.

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Cape Town - The iconic green trifocal goggles are back, and the super spy Sam Fisher has yet another terrorist plot to foil in the newest rendition of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell franchise.

In Splinter Cell Blacklist, a terrorist group calling themselves The Engineers has attacked America, and threatened the country with even more devastating attacks if they don’t comply with the demands set by The Engineers.

Sam Fisher’s group, known as Fourth Echelon (4E), is tasked with stopping The Engineers, and 4E has been given every resource they need to make this happen.

The majority of your down time is spent in the Paladin, an airplane supplied to 4E to be mobile, and this plane houses all of your upgrades, and the plane can be upgraded itself to give you certain ingame benefits.

Splinter Cell Blacklist has you playing catch-up most of the time, with the terrorist group always seeming to be two steps ahead of you.

Play styles

The game caters to three different play styles. With these in mind, you have different options for gadgets, weapons, suits and goggles.

The game also rewards you for mastering these play styles in each mission, netting you with additional score, which translates into more cash to spend on unlockable gear. But this can be extremely hard and frustrating, and will most likely result in multiple restarts, or coming back to the mission at a later time.

Ghost: This play style revolves around not being seen, avoiding combat and sneaking through missions. There are some instances where guards need to be taken out, but without using deadly force to score points in Ghost. The Ghost play style favours a high stealth rating, special weapons and non-lethal gadgets that disable guards, but doesn’t kill them.

Panther: This play style favours killing guards from a stealthy vantage point. Silenced weapons and a knife are the weapons of choice, and luring the enemy into the shadows where they can be dealt with swiftly. Distraction gadgets will give Sam the advantage of getting into more favourable positions to deal with the enemy.

Assault: Finally, throwing stealth and all things Splinter Cell holds dear out of the window, there is the Assault play style. Rushing through the missions with assault rifles and frag grenades, taking out everyone in Sam’s path and making as much noise as possible will net points in Assault.

Mastering each mission with a chosen play style is extremely difficult, and also very frustrating. Mastering any play style translates into learning the optimal paths and best approaches, and this means that missions will have to be replayed multiple times.

There is also a global ranking system, and placing high in these missions will ensure bragging rights. As far as I’ve seen, the highest ranks are always people who do the Ghost play style on the highest difficulty, being Perfectionist.

Stopping the Engineers

The main story is very linear, there are no choices and your path is chosen for Sam right from the start. The only thing keeping the missions interesting would be playing it in your chosen play style, and mastering it.

With a limited number of missions available, the main story does not take long to complete if rushed through. Luckily the game offers some replayability as the unlock system will enable the player to try new things and new weapons in order to complete the mission in a better time or in a different play style.

The player also has access to various side missions, which will not only give them a breather from the main story, but also give them the chance to make extra money to get those much needed unlockable gadgets, weapons and suits.

Fitting in with the theme of the three different play styles, players have the option of unlocking better weapons, guns and suits that will enable them to be more efficient in the chosen play style.

Ghost unlocks will give you better stealth, Panther unlocks will give you a mixture of stealth and gun control, and Assault unlocks will give the player better armour and more powerful guns to be able to stand in the middle of a fire fight.

In addition to the single player campaign, players have the chance to play some missions in the Singe Player campaign co-operatively. Blacklist also comes with Multiplayer, consisting of various game modes involving spies versus mercenaries.


The game was a lot of fun, catering to lots of different play styles. I found myself replaying missions more than once to see what the different play styles involve, as well as to make more money to get better upgrades to my gear and guns.

Graphically the game is beautiful, and the soundtrack magnificent. The new voice actor also lends Sam a more mysterious character, fitting in well with the overall story.

The cutscenes are also well paced and beautiful to watch, giving a break from the story to sit back and watch some action sequences with our favourite spy.
Read more on:    gaming

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