Splinter Cell: Blacklist continues the story of Sam Fisher, agent under the Fourth Echelon special ops unit. Terrorists, known as The Engineers, are threatening to execute American soldiers every few hours until they get what they want. It has the fast paced action of Metal Gear Solid mixed with the intense political drama of 24. It’s surprisingly well paced, keeping the interest on the well-acted team behind the Fourth Echelon. The only issue is Fisher’s actor who sounds both sleepy and bored half the time. Entertaining if not somewhat anti-climatic.
Splinter Cell was never a series that interested this writer. However, like the recent reboot of Tomb Raider, this game retools things to get it right. Except for a few missions, most jobs don’t require pure stealth. The design is flexible, allowing for both stealthy and action styles of gameplay along with offering varying paths throughout the levels. Climb a pipe, use a vent, or just mow down soldiers with guns, gadgets, or Fisher’s fists to complete tasks. The gameplay is a blast and is one the best stealth games from this past generation. Hands down. Tag onto that the ability to replay missions, a great co-op campaign, upgradable and customizable equipment, a stellar multiplayer, and this is one heck of a package.
To switch gears on the love-fest, there are a few things to dislike. Namely the graphics look a little outdated due to the dark, brown color pallet. That aside, the environments themselves are great changes of pace from one mission to the next be it a snowy train yard, or a mountain hideout. It performs decently, though in multiplayer there were occasional, very bizarre, glitches. Aside from the ugly character models and the blander detail in design, everything is tied together moderately well. There’s plenty to see, kill, and love.
Splinter Cell Blacklist is one of the best stealth games this writer has ever played. It may have a few things holding it back, but when it counts, Blacklist hits all targets. It’s fun to play, has great multiplayer be it massive or co-op, plus it allows for varying degrees of gameplay styles. Blacklist is the Splinter Cell to finally jump in on fan, or not.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on November 7, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.