Quantcast
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist  




Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness

11:00 AM on 05.07.2013

Spies vs. Mercs and co-op are back in full effect


Confession time ladies and gents: I'm not a big Splinter Cell fan. I didn't much get into the first two, had an inexplicable obsession with Chaos Theory, largely passed on Double Agent, and only dabbled in Conviction.

A disgrace, I know, and a dry spell I'm increasingly tempted to break with Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It's shaping to be the biggest Splinter Cell game yet. We've seen the campaign at length, and not to be outdone, the multiplayer is bringing back Conviction's acclaimed cooperative mode, as well as the return of the fan favorite Spies vs. Mercs.

Suit up agents, we've got a lot to get through.


Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U)
Developer: Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Shanghai

Publisher: Ubisoft
Release: August 20, 2013

One of the first things you'll notice about Splinter Cell: Blacklist's presentation is how it integrates its multiplayer pretty seamlessly into it's single-player presentation. Speaking with Ubisoft Toronto co-op lead designer Richard Carrillo, "In Conviction, and a lot of other games, you see the main menu listing solo here and co-op there. You create this artificial split, and when you play those modes, it feels like a different game. We want to break all that down and make it part of the same experience."

The solution to this problem comes in the Paladin hub area. From this giant warplane, you can initiate solo missions, dive into co-op, launch a game of Spies vs. Mercs, or just have a friendly conversation with your crew. "We want to have narrative ties across all of our different modes, tie everything back into Fourth Echelon."

Co-op missions are broken down into sets, each given to you by different characters, and meant to reflect the characters you received them from. In practice, this means different sets of stipulations placed on the players. Missions handed down from Grim, for example, may harken back to earlier Splinter Cell games since she is a long time character. There's a greater emphasis on ghosting your way through these missions, with levels restarting when detected.

A number of these hardcore variant missions are essentially one big I-told-you-so from Ubisoft to fans who doubted stealth could work in daytime environments. Remember when they re-released the E3 2012 stage demo but as a ghost playthrough instead of assault? Well the team is still out to prove that point to the last remaining hold outs. "We're wanting to prove once and for all that all of our daylight maps are real stealth and can be ghosted," Carrillo told me.

The mission I played, Missile Plant, was one handed down from Briggs, a new character to the series, who player two will be taking control of during missions, with player one as Sam. Since Briggs is an up and comer in Fourth Echelon, this mission placed more subtle, gentler requirements. Sneak into an Indian missile silo, completely undetected, and with non-lethal weapons.

Many of you will remember the big design ethos of Blacklist revolving around three common play styles: Panther, assault, and ghost. Well, that didn't seem to make the jump over to the co-op very well, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. As mentioned, missions are tailored with their own stipulations which, naturally, encourage certain ways to play. I can't exactly play this mission as assault if I can't use a gun, but this mission did free up towards the end when my partner and I were allowed to use lethal means to take out Voron mercenaries. But even this pushed towards more of an assault/panther role due to the sheer number of mercs and the tenacity with which they rush you down.

All told, Blacklist's co-op looks like a welcome evolution of what was in Conviction. You'll still mark and execute, make good use of your gadgets, and stay in constant communication with your partner for a smoother playthrough. Still, I do have one gripe to level against it. It's a small one, and more of a pet peeve, but why did this mission need to end with a set-piece moment? Coming off of a mission with a great balance of traditional stealth, and more aggressive play, the whole things ends with a sequence that has you running out of an hangar as Voron agents and the Indian military shoot it out, and of course explosions are going off everywhere as the camera shakes and you rush towards evac. Call it a sign of today's increasingly homogenized approach to design, but I just call it jarring and honestly unwarranted.

One of the more ingenious takes on adversarial multiplayer, Spies vs. Mercs, makes a return in Blacklist after a notable absence in Conviction. Remember when I said I had an inexplicable obsession with Chaos Theory? Well Spies vs. Mercs certainly fed that. The mode is largely the same in Blacklist as it was in previous iterations. Spies have access to fancy flash bangs, EMPs, recon goggles that can tag enemies, among other goodies, and have exclusive access to the more vertical elements of a map. Vents, ledges, and rooftops are all fair game as hiding spots.

Mercs on the other hand, play from a first-person perspective touting large guns, mines, and insane amounts of body armor. They can't climb or run particularly fast, but are walking death for any spy that tries to take one head on. If you're a spy, you will want to wait for the opportune moment to come in for a close instant kill.

The objective is simple each time. Spies have to hack three data terminals, keeping their hacker alive as the upload goes on. If your hacker is killed, you have a narrow window to resume the hack without a hard reset. Mercs need only kill the spies and protect the terminals. New to Blacklist's iteration is a a progressive leveling system, allowing you to make custom classes to spec out your spy and merc. We didn't get to mess around with the customization though, so I can't say from first hand knowledge how deep it goes.

The most notable addition has to be the fact that games can now be played with up to eight players in four versus four matches. This makes the game, to say the least, considerably hectic. There are changes that come into play depending on the number of players, namely an increased emphasis on light and shadows. If you're playing a classic two versus two game, maps are dimly lit, with key areas and objectives marked with bright lights, and Merc flashlights that carry considerable range. If you have a full eight player game going, maps are generally much more lit throughout.

This simple change does an admirable job of preserving the core hunter killer gameplay, but classic two versus two is still my preferred option. Matches simply get to hectic playing with eight people, and a considerable amount of tension is lost. Playing classic is the same snatch and grab, seek and destroy goodness you remember. Darker environments means a slower, more methodical pace, as opposed to the shooting galleries that eight player matches started to devolve into. Hopefully a three versus three mode will provide some sort of tolerable medium.

Still, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised with Blacklist's multiplayer offerings. Spies vs Mercs is still a blast to play, and if you were a fan of Conviction's co-op you'll find plenty to love here.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness photo







Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.



Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric photo
Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
10:00 AM on 11.20.2014


Review: LittleBigPlanet 3 photo
Review: LittleBigPlanet 3
10:00 AM on 11.18.2014





timeline following:
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist



3:00 AM on 07.26.2013
Sam Fisher enforces ALL the laws

Don't litter, scumbag.more



1:00 AM on 07.09.2013
Splinter Cell: Blacklist walkthrough gets a little gassy

The latest look at Splinter Cell: Blacklist features Sam and team storming a gas plant that's been taken over by terrorists. The place is set to blow, but after a little hacking Sam's team is able to turn on the fire suppres...more



1:00 AM on 05.10.2013
Spies vs Mercs: Which side are you on?

Splinter Cell: Blacklist will see the return of Spies vs. Mercs. If that news didn't get you excited at all then maybe this live-action take by the gang at CorridorDigital will. Their film production and editing keeps getting better with every video, and I'm beyond impressed with their latest efforts.more



9:30 AM on 04.16.2013
The choice is yours in Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Players will be able to use all sorts of skills and abilities to get through Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and this latest trailer shows you some of your options. Attacking from above, running straight at targets, or using fancy...more



5:30 PM on 02.23.2013
Splinter Cell Blacklist RC plane takes flight

As you may recall, Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be available in a limited edition which includes a working remote-controlled plane. The plane is based upon the design of the C-147B Paladin which Sam Fisher pilots ...more



1:00 PM on 01.30.2013
Six things you should know about Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Super spy Sam Fisher is back after saving the President in 2010's Conviction. Third Echelon has been dissolved, and in its place is Fourth Echelon. Yes, very original. Sure, not the most creative name change, but there is ind...more



6:30 PM on 01.16.2013
Splinter Cell: Blacklist pushed back to August

Last we heard, Splinter Cell: Blacklist was aiming for a spring 2013 release, though that has since changed. In a dramatic new trailer posted by IGN -- "We're not going to stop this attack. We're going to stop all the attacks...more



10:00 PM on 08.17.2012
Let's take a closer look at Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Ubisoft's unveiling of Splinter Cell: Blacklist was undoubtedly one of my highlights from this year's E3. I remember watching the demo during Microsoft's conference, and how at one point I hyped up the game so...more



9:00 PM on 06.13.2012
Preview: Killing in motion in Splinter Cell: Blacklist

I've never been that big a fan of Splinter Cell, or at least the last-gen games that were clearly about stealth. There's nothing wrong with stealth, but a demo of the first game never clicked with me, so it was always a serie...more




Action

10:00 AM on 11.20.2014
Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

As a character, Sonic gets a bad rap these days. No matter what is announced, I can practically hear the collective groaning from my desk. Like any popular franchise with consecutive releases, some of them are going to be goo...more



8:00 PM on 11.19.2014
Bladestorm: Nightmare is a historical game with evil Joan of Arc and dragons

I didn't play 2007's Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, but I might play Bladestorm: Nightmare, an expanded version of the real-time tactics game for PS3, PS4, and Xbox One. The core remains the same -- you still side with ...more



3:00 PM on 11.19.2014
Holy summoned triceratops, Lost Ark looks fantastic

The video above is a little on the long side, but it is worth watching. It usually takes a lot to get me interested in anything fantasy-themed (more like Bored of the Rings, right?), but Lost Ark looks like it might be the e...more



View all Action






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more