Building (Critical) Consensus: Splinter Cell: Blacklist

tom-clancys-splinter-cell-blacklist-box-artI’ve never really been a fan of stealth games. Apart from Mark of the Ninja, I’ve never played a stealth game or a stealth level in a game that left me so angry at the game and its mechanics that I usually found myself rage quitting rather than gritting it out for a 20th time.

The Splinter Cell franchise has one that has traditionally been based on stealth gameplay so you can probably understand why I haven’t picked up any games in the franchise. The reviews are very positive for Blacklist but not the aggregated scores aren’t the best in the franchise’s history. Unless you’re Joystiq who calls it the best game in Splinter Cell history.

Joystiq (100%): It’s the tension of planning coupled with execution that makes Splinter Cell Blacklist such a winner. Blacklist’s multiple methods of enemy engagement brings Ubisoft’s grizzled veteran spy to an outstanding new frontier, giving players the best game in the franchise’s history.

IGN (92%): Splinter Cell: Blacklist is a sweet middle ground between the Panther-like action of Conviction and the Ghost-like stealth of Chaos Theory. The delightful improbable success of this compromise is a testament to game design that always has choice in mind.

OXM (85%): Like any human, Sam Fisher stumbles occasionally when the pressure’s on. But as long as you’ve got the patience to accept a handful of limitations, you can expect to have a damn good time saving the world once more.

Eurogamer (80%):  When the game clicks, which it does often enough across its many modes and missions, it overcomes the inadequacy of its storytelling and reminds you why Splinter Cell was so appealing in the first place.

Edge Magazine (60%): Splinter Cell used to be built like a Clancy novel; now it’s an action movie. Where a novel can find drama in the smallest moments – a man hiding while a lone guard probes the darkness with a flashlight – modern action flicks are obsessed with spectacle and constant one-upmanship. And so Blacklist has explosions and chases and extended platforming sequences and sniper missions and firstperson missions and missions against the clock and missions upon missions where being undetected feels like an exploit rather than a victory. Pure stealth was the most graceful way to play classic Splinter Cell, but here it’s the ugliest option as the game constantly urges you to take the shot, take the shot, take the shot.


About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on August 21, 2013, in Games and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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