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The Gaming Review - Splinter Cell Blacklist

Release Date: 
08/20/2013
Rated: 
ESRB: M
Game Platform: 
Xbox, PS3
Star Rating: 
7 out of 10

100 times worse than the No Fly List.

The Pitch: Sam Fisher returns and takes the helm of the newly formed “Fourth Echelon,” a tiny outfit of elite operatives who globe-trot from mission to mission in their airborne mobile command station, trying to thwart the diabolical efforts of a shady terrorist group known as The Engineers.

What It Really Is: We genuinely like Sam Fisher and his rag tag group of allies, so it was a bit disappointing to see him facing off against a generic and superficial group like The Engineers in this third-person tactical throwdown, because it makes for a pretty flimsy extension of Sam’s story. Without ruining too much, the plot is basically that America has to withdraw its international military presence, or The Engineers will attack targets on their “blacklist.” The end result is that Sam has to go in and make things right using whatever means necessary. This typically means equipping him with any number of spy-appropriate accessories and tailoring them for your play style. If you’re a run and gunner, incendiary grenades are the right choice for you. If you’re a stealthy panther, door cameras might be the better choice. Smartly, the game rewards you regardless of your preferred method, and you can use those rewards to make Sam and your airborne HQ, Paladin, even more badass. Not so smartly, Blacklist occasionally forces you to be a square peg by wiping out that tactical freedom in certain circumstances, making a stealth operator open fire or a Rambo hide in the corner. If there’s one thing we learned from ‘80s movies it’s that you don’t put Rambo in the corner…or something like that. The ‘80s were a long time ago.

Maxim.com Ready-Made Press Blurb: “If Sam Fisher blacklisted us, we’d be devastated. We just want to love you, Sam!” - Maxim.com

Fun Fact: The game’s plot, undoubtedly conceived before the current ill-will toward the NSA, not only defends the US’s military presence across the globe, it highlights Fourth Echelon’s ability to spy on anyone at any time. Not gonna lie, it made us take a long, hard look at The Engineers and wonder who the real enemy is.

Who It’s For: Blacklist splits the difference in gameplay between the 2009’s Conviction’s balls-out battling and the previous games in the series that put a heavier emphasis on tactics and stealth. While we appreciate that choice, it did make for a bit of muddled gameplay, as we constantly found ourselves somewhere in the middle of the two. If you’re the kind of player who has the discipline to stay in the shadows then you’ll probably get more out of Blacklist than most. If you mean to stay in the shadows but always seem to end up standing on top of a pile of bodies, other third person shooters would probably be a more enjoyable way for you to go.

 

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