Community Review: Splinter Cell: Blacklist

I haven't had the chance to play Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Been too busy travelling with multiple kids and hiding in the corner playing Spelunky whilst chaos unfolds. But I was a massive fan of Conviction, so I'm keen to continue with the new one. Should I bother?

I'm hearing good and bad things. There's a nostalgia for old Splinter Cell games that's a little bit over-the-top and I enjoyed the change up that Conviction brought to the series. It was a different type of stealth game: it was fluid and efficient. I love stealth games but I always felt that the 'old' Splinter Cell was a mediocre 'stealther' compared to the Metal Gear Solid series and Thief. With Conviction I felt like the series developed more of a unique identity.

But I think I'm in the minority here. Splinter Cell: Blacklist has reviewed well, but praise has been a little mild and I wonder if the game is a little uninspired. I expect I'll still put hours into this, but it might just be more of the same.

Am I wrong? Who's been playing it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


    I am on the fence. I want Ironside back and I liked sc chaos theory a lot more than conviction.
    I am over the 24 style of America narrative myself.

    I had to skip out on this one. Conviction left a bad taste in my mouth and I was on the fence for a while about it. So I decided if the multiplayer has regional search options I would buy it, but they didn't because Ubisoft.
    Apparently the multiplayer is buggy too, where if the host ragequits the game kicks everybody back to the lobby and removes whatever progress or score they made in that match.

    Honestly Blacklist seems too much like another "apology" game, like Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands.

    I'm interested in finding out. For me the pinnacle of the series so far is still Chaos Theory. Wasn't a fan of Double Agent *at all* and Conviction was interesting but had so much wasted potential and a seriously short campaign.

      Double Agent almost made me give up on the series /o\

        Lucky I could never get it running on my PC for some reason.
        Picked it up on some steam sale, it didn't work due to some driver conflicts and after a bit of time trying to fix it I gave up and forgot about it.

          I had the same - kept crashing on my PC. Then I realised it wasn't just SC:DA, but a few other Ubisoft games too, from memory one of the AC games kept misbehaving.
          Since then, I've had two different game PC's and still had it crash on me, so my interest has gone onto other, more worthy games, as Splinter Cell: Computer Diagnosis just wasn't doing it for me.

    You are clearly insane to think old Splinter Cell was a mediocre stealth game!

    I've been playing it and I have to say that with the exception of kicking out Michael Ironside this game is very good fun. I like the mission format (i.e. different crew give you different styles ala "don't ever get detected", "ex-filtrate at all costs" or "do whatever you need to, just get the objective"). Still a bit buggy though, sometimes I won't get detected by people right next to me, other times random people on the other side of the map will spot me in half a second. But it's not that common an issue to stop playing.

    I think that at the core of it, it's a throwback to old fans. If you like Splinter Cell games you'll like this one, if you never really liked them then it's not for you.

      I’m surprised that Mark considers it a “mediocre stealther” compared to the Metal Gear games.

      While Metal Gear Solid was obviously a major influence on the first Splinter Cell, the comparatively realistic stealth mechanics of the early Splinter Cells strike me as being far deeper than the ridiculous boss fighting, box hiding, ‘!’ inducing silliness of a game like Metal Gear Solid 2 (which is probably the best comparison to Splinter Cell 1).
      Not saying they aren’t both great games, just that Splinter Cell 1 and 2 at least are stealth games where I’d say Metal Gear is some kind of action/stealth/future military conspiracy soap opera thing….

      I’d say the Thief comparison is a fair enough opinion.

        I never really got into MGS. Probably because I never owned a PS1 or PS2.
        Chaos Theory was a masterpiece of a game. I loved that thing to death.
        I'm fearful that playing again would shatter my fond memories.

        Conviction was short and too easy but fun. I found that one to be lacking in the stealth department. I blame the console "mark and press button to win" functionality. But then I just didn't use it. Unfortunately Blacklist has this "feature" also.
        My copy is still in the mail.

        The Thief series is also fantastic. I even liked 3 even though they changed to 3rd person. Let's hope the they don't screw up number 4.

        Agreed. MGS is a better series, but SC is a better stealth series.

    cool game but the PC version is buggy as hell so i'm refusing to play it until its patched properly

      Yeah that was a worry for me too.
      Typical of Ubi with PC ports of their AAA games.

      What sort of bugs are you running into? I honestly haven't had any issues of note (other than having to force quit and restart once when it wouldn't load the game), and I have very little tolerance for buggy crap.

      NB: I'm not for one moment saying there AREN'T bugs that people are running into, simply that I've had a very smooth experience thus far.

      Last edited 02/09/13 1:34 pm

        it runs perfectly... until it crashes... mid mission

      Trouble in the Master Race ivory towers I see.

    I wouldn't bother with it. I've enjoyed the splinter cell series up until this game. The side missions are frustrating in the extreme. Sneaking through a level for 10 to 15 minutes only to have a guard spot you, instantly ending the mission and having to start all over again did my head in. Maybe that appeals to some hardcore gamers, but I've better things to do with my time than regular trips to IKEA to buy new tables after flipping mine into the roof for the umpteenth time.

    I really liked this game a lot and its a return to form after conviction. What i really like is Ubisoft allows you to play either stealth although to be honest its impossible to finish the game without killing someone, there are just some missions that can't be stealthed

    The settings of the missions, especially one previously mentioned on Kotaku are quite interesting and the side missions add more to the story

    Excited for next gen Fisher now, because he is back.

      If "Fisher is bacK" then where's his sarcastic black humour and his hatred for torture?

    It's a decent game overall, let down a bit by it's glitches and texture quality. I also do miss Ironside, as the new guy sounds like a generic action hero.

    I love the stealth, but I still prefer the older Splinter Cell Games

    I'm really enjoying it too, though I've been a fan of all Splinter Cells (never played DA though). It's very fast paced stealth game, and even though I have a bit of nostalgia for the older, slower paced versions, I can't help but think this is the way forward for stealth-em-ups.

    It kind of is more of the same, but I really liked Conviction, and I really like this one too! The levels have more re-playability trying to master the different styles, and the side missions are pretty fun and pretty challenging.

    This game is a step in the right direction. Conviction felt too stripped down and restricted, but Blacklist addresses that by allowing you to play how you want. The story missions can feel a little lackluster in some spots, but the optional missions make up for that. I started on Perfectionist for my Ghost run, and I tried Realistic for Panther (so I could use M&E), but it started feeling like Perfectionist mode should have been the game's default difficulty. I don't think it's quite as good as CT, but I could definitely see a lot of people calling this their new favourite.

    Deffinatly give this a go, I picked it up for $35 and you can get it even cheaper than that now. I am really liking the solo campain so far but I'm missing out on the co-op since it doesn't work. I have played a few games of Spies vs Mercs and it is really fun but if the game goes into host migration I get disconnected and sent to a lobby by myself. If the game wasn't buggy I would be having a lot more fun, but the bugs haven't seemed to affect my singleplayer campain yet so if that's your main attraction then you should be fine. Do miss Ironside though.

    Played it for the first time last night (Fathers Day ahoy!)

    I am a huge fan of Conviction and this takes everything that was good with that game (Mark and Execute; being able to easily tell if you were hidden, cover system) and then adds in things to make it better:

    Hiding bodies - check
    Able to knock out enemies in close quarters combat rather than kill them is great but if you don't hide them - their buddies revive them!

    The movement is silky smooth and the opportunities for evasion are much greater - I've only played the intro and the first mission so far but the level design feels way better than Conviction. There are also lots of side objectives which not enough games do these days.

    Controls have changed slightly from Conviction and are now like Hitman Absolution.

    I can't wait to get home tonight to keep playing!

      Personally I hate Mark and Execute. It's a cheap "I win" button for console players. But each to their own.
      Glad you like it, I'm waiting for mine in the mail.

        They've toned it down considerably in this game though. You need two takedowns to charge it up and it only removes helmets rather than penetrating them. After I went through the game on Perfectionist in the Ghost play style, I dropped down to Realistic for Panther. At that point I realised how little use M&E really had and decided to go back to Perfectionist, which gets rid of M&E among other game-simplifying features.

          No really, tell us again how good you are and how you play the hardest setting (which should be default of course because we are all maaAAAAAanly men!)
          Personally I play Perfectionist, blind folded, using chopsticks stuck in each nostril to control the keyboard.

            I'm not even bragging or anything, I'm saying that the game has a lot of features which aren't really necessary.

    Played one Splinter Cell, played them all. Don't bother.

      The splinter cell series has changed quite a lot over the years (for better or worse). More so then any other series I can think of.
      Could you name a series that isn't like that???

      That's like saying Played one , played them's all a matter of opinion

      I just finished the game and found it very engaging...the side missions were good but also frustrating at the same time due to the short respite between waves and if you haven't gotten the laptop yet, you could lose it when you get discovered.

      Yeah I would like Ironside back as Fisher but he felt it was time to "pass the torch" to someone else and also Eric Johnson other than being the new voice of Fisher was mocapped for the game which included facial features (so I guess it had to be that way)

      You could say the same about anything - cars, women, movies, ideas, sex. Planet Earth is going to very boring for you, as there is an awful lot of repetition in everything.

      Given it's a stealth game series, then yeah, you're going to see a lot of the same. Or has the concept of a theme passed you by ?

    Anyone else having trouble connecting with friends? I can connect with randoms at times, but i can never join or invite.

    It's alright. It's the first splinter cell game I've played.

    When it says you can "play it as you want" - it's kind of a lie. Assault style play is sometimes completely impossible and it is virtually impossible to pull off when you start the game - you'll have so little health, armor and regen that attempting to take on guards head-on is impossible. When you later upgrade your regen and armor and weapons, full on assault combat is "possible" but never a good idea.

    It is, however, a very forgiving stealth game. Playing "panther" style, in which you creep and kill guards and basically don't bother (lazy-stealth is how I refer to it), is pretty fun and works well. Not exactly challenging (at least, not on normal difficulty) but fun. Wide variety of missions, different locations - the plot is generic as hell, but serviceable.

    Mechanically the game is fine for the most part. Cover system can get a bit wonky at times, but mostly works.

    A few bugs though - on some missions, I was "spotted" by guards despite being completely out of their line of sight. Sometimes when a guard finds a body, it somehow magically leads to them knowing where you are, despite the fact that they shouldn't be able to see through walls.

    You can also break the combat on Normal difficulty by simply buying a few of the more expensive, silenced assault rifles (Honey-Badger).

    Brilliant Game, well worth the money, and I will be replaying it several times.

    as someone who never much cared for splinter cell before, i am having an excellent time with blacklist. i don't know if that's a good or bad thing for splinter cell fans wanting to know if this is a good splinter cell game...

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