Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Preview)

Spring 2013
Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Windows

Developed by Ubisoft Toronto

Published by Ubisoft

Join Sam Fisher again as you protect the country from terrorist scum in Splinter Cell: Blacklist

The Splinter Cell series has been one of my favorite game series for awhile now.  I love being stealthy, even in games that don't focus on stealth, and Splinter Cell has always done a great job with stealth gameplay.  The most recent entry into the series, Conviction, focused more on mobility and stealth rather than the pure stealth of earlier games, and this new entry into the series is continuing that theme.

This latest foray into the Splinter Cell universe has the previous covert organization that Sam Fisher, the protagonist, worked for dissolved only to have a new organization created with Sam as the boss.  A new terrorist threat called the Blacklist has emerged in which twelve terrorists have created a deadly countdown of escalating terrorist attacks, and the President has given Sam and his team full freedom to stop this threat using any means necessary.  I've loved all the other Splinter Cell main plots and this one sounds very promising too. 

If you'd just told me where the bathroom was, we wouldn't be in this mess. Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2013)
Watching any preview for this game, players of any previous Splinter Cell games will notice an immediate difference, namely that Sam Fisher has a new voice actor.  The previous voice actor, Michael Ironside, decided he should "pass the torch" onto a new actor with Ubisoft choosing Eric Johnson to reprise the role.  Now, I am saddened that Mr. Ironside will no longer be voicing Sam and I will forever feel that he is Sam's "real" voice, but I understand that these things happen and Eric Johnson does a good job, at least in the material I have seen.

The gameplay footage above shows a very mobile, combat-heavy run through of a demo level.  A lot of fans have been up in arms about this because it seems like stealth has been sacrificed for action (which many fans also complained about in Conviction but still enjoyed it anyway).  While the game can be played this way in many instances, this is not a valid criticism of the game as demonstrated in the video below.

The developers decided to give the player a lot of choice in how to play the game.  You can either be very stealthy and slip by without disrupting anyone, or you can go in guns blazing and leave corpses as your call sign.  It's your choice and I'm glad the developers gave players that option.  Now whether there are any benefits or bonuses to being stealthy we will have to wait and see, but I wouldn't be surprised if they included some just to encourage people to play more stealthily than they otherwise would.

I'm looking forward to this game and am definitely putting it on my watch list. We still have several months before the game comes out so expect more videos, news, and screenshots to be released.  I hope they show off improvements to the NPC's AI and whether the player makes any story choices like in Double Agent, but so far it looks fun and it will be great to take control of Sam Fisher again.

Words by Josh Matern

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