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What’s up tech fans! Today we’re taking a look at one of the few and only stealth games to come out this year, the latest entry in one of the biggest franchises, Splinter Cell Blacklist. Now, Splinter Cell’s last game Conviction was met with mixed response by long time fans due to a noticeable decrease in actual stealth elements, and in fact played much more like a third person shooter with light stealth options.
Blacklist has clearly addressed this issue right away, and while some features from Conviction remain such as the ability to mark and kills targets in quick succession or see a ghostly image of your last known position, we also see a number of returning features that boost the stealth feel like night vision goggles or being able to hide enemy bodies from patrols. This being said, the game does still make playing it as a third person shooter and option, and missions now advise and rate your performance based on three different play-styles: Ghost for those that use stealth and non lethal takedowns, Panther for those that still use stealth but don’t mind leaving a trail of bodies, and Soldier for those of you that just want to shoot things with little planning.
Before each mission players are given the option to choose loadouts, helping their favored play-style either by making them harder to see, harder to kill, or armed with different useful gadgets like sleeping gas or actual lethal grenades. While you can play the game any way you want for the most part, some missions heavily emphasize one style or the other, and you’re only making it harder for yourself if you go against what’s advised, either because the mission automatically ends for being caught, or because there’s so many unavoidable combat situations that you just can’t afford to be frail. This point is really driven home in the game’s side missions that basically require one playstyle or the other, and not only are useful for gaining money and special unlocks, but is also a way for players to engage in co op missions, receiving an helping hand in the form of either increased fire power, or special routing options like breaching doors.
Blacklist also features the return of the Splinter Cell’s Spies Vs Mercs mode, which was noticeably missing from Conviction. For those of you that haven’t played it, Spies Vs Mercs is a competitive game that in it’s traditional modes, pits asymmetric teams against each other. Mercs are slow but heavily armored with big weapons, and also play in a first person mode that limits their visibility of surroundings in exchange for better long range shots. Spies on the other hand play in the traditional third person view of the series, and while much more frail have access to useful distraction or disabling tools like stun crossbows and flash bangs, as well having the ability to perform and instant melee kill on unaware or helpless opponents. While traditional death-match with mixed teams is an option, this mode really does shine in the traditional Spies Vs Mercs objective based modes, which really show off how great of a job the devs did in making sure each side is balanced regardless of how wildly different they play. Merc’s do feel a bit easier to learn at first, but at higher levels once people learn how to play spies properly, the gameplay gets truly intense.
Overall Splinter Cell Blacklist has done an excellent job of bringing the game back to it’s stealth roots, while still being accessible to those that just want to run and gun, at least on normal difficulties. Those of you that want a good stealth game will find a terrific experience that rewards planning, patience, and smart use of the environment, especially if you want to prove yourself a true ghost that avoids all confrontations. While the campaign is a little on the short side, this is easily made up by playing the game’s side missions, being a completionist and finding hidden rewards, or just by soaking up time in a multiplayer mode that actually rewards stealthy gameplay, making this game worth it to any fan of not just the series, but stealth gameplay in general. If you want to see the actual game in action, as well as benchmark tests on our gaming system, make sure to check out our video review here. As always thank you so much for reading, and keep checking out the site for more gaming goodness.