Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell series has had a rough time on current-generation formats. Debuting with a touched-up version of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent it wouldn’t be until 2010 that the first true high-definition (HD) Splinter Cell would arrive in the form of the underappreciated […]
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Electronic Theatre ImageUbisoft’s Splinter Cell series has had a rough time on current-generation formats. Debuting with a touched-up version of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent it wouldn’t be until 2010 that the first true high-definition (HD) Splinter Cell would arrive in the form of the underappreciated Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. ‘Underappreciated’ as the verdict was unanimous in saying that Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction was a wonderful, innovative stealth-action videogame, but in the years that have passed public opinion has rallied against it. It’s against this barrier that Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist has to battle; a wall made not of passionate hate but rather indifference born of spite.

Seemingly because of the late coming detractors Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist tries to change the game again, bringing back old rules and applying them to a very modern design. For the most part it’s successful in doing so, but given Electronic Theatre Imagethat Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction’s footprint is still there to be seen on occasion you can’t help but wonder how naturally immersive that template would have become given the freedom to evolve directly. Instead Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist is a more demanding stealth experience that often demonstrates how threadbare the genre’s mechanics have become by feeling you are being chastised not by interpretation of realism but because the rules say you should be.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist casts you in the role of Sam Fisher once again, this time back on the side of the US government. Operating as the commander of the Fourth Echelon, called in by the President of America herself, your missions Electronic Theatre Imageis to stop a terrorist group from executing the Blacklist: a series of devastating acts of violence that will occur every seven days until the US calls back all it’s troops from international tours of duty. No more war, no more aid.

Furthermore, your buddy gets injured by the terrorist group on the opening chapter, so it’s clearly very personal. But then, when isn’t it? Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the stuff Holiday dreams are made of; faux clever but making a dash for the action at every opportunity. All explosions and evil doers, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist does not have a plot that aids the impression of videogames as blood hungry murder simulators.

In-game of course, the action are considerably more calculated. As with Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction players are encouraged to stick in the shadows by moving through waist-high cover. The system works in the same fashion and always gives players a good indication of where there’ll end up and aElectronic Theatre Image reasonable impression of their chances of making it without being detected. The Mark & Execute system makes a welcome return as does the last known position system. In terms of action mechanics, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist owes a lot to Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction.

Elsewhere Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist isn’t quite so successful. The black and white definition of in- or out-of cover is not quite as reliable as the videogame implies, nor is the aiming system’s visual depiction of chance to hit (you may as well ignore the blindfire option altogether when working with pistols). The constant confusion between gadgetry and the above ruleset gives the impressionElectronic Theatre Image of a videogame that on the one hand wants you to experiment and on the other chastises you for doing so. It’s a harsh line to tow and one that certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Things become significantly more open in multiplayer, where Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist becomes less about using systems and mechanics and more about getting the jump on your opponent(s). It’s a first-person shooter (FPS) experience through-and-through, completely at odds with the expected Splinter Cell gameplay at yet it works thanks to its immediacy. Spies vs. Mercenaries alone is never going to steal you away from Halo 4 or any pf the numerous Call of Duty online components, but it does provide a welcome additional reason for purchasing Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

The production values of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist are remarkably high, constantly injecting fresh and believable characters thanks to fantastic animation, skin textures and voice acting. The environments are littered with detail Electronic Theatre Imageand incidental animation and the enemies are predictable via their movement, not by their routines. On the surface this is most certainly the best presentation a Splinter Cell videogame has ever benefited from, it’s just a shame that the rest of the experience doesn’t follow suit.

Despite its flaws Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist remains an enjoyable videogame experience. Its stealth-action gameplay is in relatively short supply and so those longing for the challenge have little else to turn to, but it’s always going to play second fiddle to Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. Both the series and the genre need a shake up, and while Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist remains entertaining its very far from progressive.

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