Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Six things you should know about Splinter Cell: Blacklist

1:00 PM on 01.30.2013 // Hamza CTZ Aziz

Hands-on preview of Sam Fisher's latest adventure

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 indeed a significant shakeup with the the spy organization as Sam is in charge of all operations now. But just because he's in charge doesn't mean he won't still get his boots dirty.

Blacklist brings up a number of changes to the serious, and I found six striking things that all fans should know about from my recent hands-on time.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PC [previewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release: August 20, 2013

There's an economy system connecting single-player and multiplayer

Out of all the additions to the Splinter Cell franchise, the last thing I was expecting was an economy system. Basically, whatever you do in the story, co-op, and versus modes will net you money that can be spent on items across all the modes. Players can buy different types of outfits that give you certain stat boosts, as well as various weaponry.

You'll earn money for whatever you do (at least in

single-player), but you can also earn bonuses by completing in-game challenges that will regularly pop up in missions. One example of this was earning $750 after performing a few stealth kills in a row.

The items you buy can be based on your playstyle as well, so you can focus on purchasing stealthy equipment or items that will increase your body armor and fire power. There's some silly cosmetic items too, like different camouflage designs and even different colors like blue, red, and more for the iconic goggles. The choice is yours, and you'll be able to create multiple loadouts to pick from before jumping into a mission.

Yes, I know what you're thinking: How will this affect multiplayer? I asked senior producer Alexandre Parizeau this question, and while they weren't talking anything beyond single-player, he did tell me that the team is aware of the "potential balancing issues" from this system.

Your home base is a big-ass airplane

Between missions, Sam will work with his Fourth Echelon team on the Paladin airplane, a mobile airbase that will be the bridge between the game's modes. Maxime Beland, creative director on Blacklist, is hoping to ship the game without a main menu system and instead have all three modes be unified on the Paladin. For the demo build, players could look at a world map on the airplane to view all available missions in single-player, join someone in co-op, or just jump into one of the game's multiplayer modes.

The Paladin also serves a gameplay purposes, and like Sam, it can be upgraded. Before my second mission, I upgraded the Paladin to provide radar support, giving me a mini-radar display on my HUD. In the E3 demo, we saw a missile strike that was delivered via to the Paladin.

Players can also get to know their team better while on the Paladin and get additional side missions they can take on to help the team out and earn more money. These are optional, though, and can be ignored. Who has time for side missions when America is under attack?!

There are two stories

At the base level, Blacklist is about a group of rogue nations attacking US interests with one demand to the President: Remove your occupying troops from our countries, otherwise the terrorist group, known as The Engineers, will continue their attacks. So the President calls upon Sam to help put a stop to the plot.

At the same time, Blacklist is about reestablishing the iconic Sam Fisher -- the green goggles, tac suit, knife, etc. At the same time, Sam will be growing as a character. He's gone from a lone wolf agent to completely calling all the shots now. This is new territory for Sam, and you'll see the dynamics of the rest of the Fourth Echelon team grow as they all learn to trust and depend on each other.

I played two of the earlier missions, and Sam was definitely coming off as a dick. The whole group dynamic was rather hostile actually, presenting some extreme takes on Hollywood tropes. You have Sam as the grizzled veteran who doesn't want to work with others, the hardass second-in-command who questions Sam's every moves, the newbie soldier set in his old ways, and the snarky, wise-cracking hacker nerd who thinks he's hot shit. It was to the point that I didn't want to care about any of them at all thanks to their characterization.

Enemies are freaking dumb, but they're also smart

At any point in the game, players can press a button on their controllers for Sam to call out for someone's attention. "Hey, over here," Sam will utter. I don't know about you, but if I were to hear someone say anything from out of nowhere, I'd shoot first and ask questions later. If it were me, I'd make an animal noise. Meow like a cat or something, not use actual spoken language!

Well, once someone hears you, they'll slowly approach your position, at which point the player can perform a stealth takedown.

You can also be exposed for a good three to four seconds in the open, and enemies won't immediately detect you -- at least on Normal. After that, though, they will register your presence and engage you. They'll go after your last known position and slowly hunt you down all around the area looking for you. So while the AI was somewhat dumb, it did make me happy to know that they don't revert back to their patrol pattern, forgetting you even exist like in most games.

There are three playstyles 

"A pet peeve I had from Conviction was that I felt that Sam was very static," Maxime told us. That's not the case anymore in Blacklist, as Sam is a more agile and fierce opponent. After killing someone, Max can activate an execute move, which allows him to swiftly kill up to a max of three opponents in one fluid and stylish motion, all while on the move.

Sam can also "parkour" his way around obstacles as well, swiftly jumping over obstructions and climbing up walls as you simply hold down the A button.

These particular moves will be useful if you're playing either in the Panther or Assault style. Assault is more your traditional action persona, where you're just killing whatever without a care in the world. Panther is the middle ground, where you're killing whoever but with a focus on stealth. Then there's Ghost, which is for the players who prefer to never kill or be seen.

You're not stuck in one particular setup, but rather this is what Ubisoft has identified as the three most common playstyles by players. You can be a Ghost in one level then an Assault in the next -- you're free to play however you want. From what it sounds like, playing a certain way doesn't really affect anything within the game. The options are there, but it doesn't really matter beyond your own personal satisfaction.

And as far as a no-kill run goes, about 95% of the game can be played without having to kill anyone. For story purposes, however, there will be characters that you have to kill.

It feels very linear

Probably the biggest disappointment from my hands-on time was how extremely linear the levels were feeling. Now, there were a lot of ways to take out enemies as you went along thanks to all the gadgets at Sam's disposal. In one level, Sam threw out a sticky camera to view some blind spots, then used a remote control mini-copter to search a warehouse and take out enemies with small electric blasts.

So there will be lots of ways to eliminae enemies, but getting from point A to point B feels very straightforward. Ubisoft seems very focused on telling its story, and at least based on what I saw, the levels are designed to drive you to your goal along one specific path.

After coming off of highs like Dishonored and Mark of the Ninja with everything they've done for the stealth genre, playing Blacklist felt rather disappointing.

All in all, some of the mechanics are interesting and the visuals are pretty great, but some of the core elements left a lot to be desired for. I'm not yet ready to dismiss Blacklist completely though, as I want to see what's going with the multiplayer. We know that Spies vs. Mercs will be back, so that's more than enough to keep me interested as the game develops.

Photo Gallery: (16 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

  Jul 26

Sam Fisher enforces ALL the laws

No is safe from the Splinter Cell!

  May 10

Spies vs Mercs: Which side are you on?

A live-action take of Splinter Cell's most famous mode

  May 07

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness

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

  Feb 23

Splinter Cell Blacklist RC plane takes flight

Promotional video proves flight capability for pack-in item

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

Thankful it's ov

Half - Life 3 FINALLY 100% confirmed...maybe.

Surprisingly... I'm *really* enjoying Fallout 4!!

Where the Hell is Breath of Fire?

Comments of the Week - バーガーベスト, ですよね?

My Month in Games - November 2015

Cblogs of 11/28/15 - Lonely Thanksgiving, Gatchaman Crowds, and more

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 1

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Protag shipping is best shipping. [img][/img]
El Dango avatarEl Dango
My dreams are really weird and scary, so I hope it's okay if I let them be dreams.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Finally played the last two Shantae games. Risky's Revenge wasn't bad, but Pirate's Curse was damn good.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Memo to self: spend your time cleaning before wasting ten or so hours on a cblog you'll end up just scrapping because you're incompetent and incapable of writing on the subject.
Is there an occupation out there for people who want to give up and not worry about shit for a while until they can recompose themselves before going back into society?
Parismio avatarParismio
That test was pretty raw. Some decisions cut deep, some I didnt care for at all. But im satisified with the end result.
Lawman avatarLawman
Torchman avatarTorchman
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
People are having serious anthropological discussions about video games and here I am reminding people that they have one more day to get a dumb card I painted:
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
I just finished this thing here: I'm mostly happy with my results, altough it lacks some stuff like Skyward Sword or Sonic & Knuckles [img][/img]
techsupport avatartechsupport
While I am glad I only paid $15 for it, I bought J-STARS VS+ for one specific reason: to drink some beer and kick ass as Yusuke and Hiei. And in that regard, it delivers. Beer not included.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
We can be so weird sometimes. You can easily move on from some of the stuff you might want to remember forever, but then sometimes you just can't let go of trivial things. What's up with that?
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I'm in the mood for some feel-good music. Hit me with your best feel-good VGM, people! [youtube][/youtube]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
My "Thankful it's over" post is done. Editing it tonight, posting tomorrow. Will there be more last-minute entries? Will Pixie be merciful to Twilight Princess? Will Zetta add words to his entry? Why is bear driving? Who run Bartertown? Stay Tuned!
Parismio avatarParismio
Whelp since i got my ass kicked at snowboarding ive been issued a muscle relaxer today and slept the entire day. Time went by so fast. Is- is this what the phantom cigar is like?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What the hell is a Shantae?
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you Monday morning motherfuckers, 3 favourite fictional universes you'd like to exist in (The initial iteration of the universe had to be in videogame form) Go.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just ran into my first 'suicide mole rat' in Fallout 4. I'm beginning to think this may not be a 100% accurate, meticulously researched recreation of life after the apocalypse.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well I just played Undertale. It's a really unique game, but the difficulty in the beginning is a tad intense. Got clobbered once they started throwing three monsters at me at a time and lost a lot of progress... where's Toriel when I need her?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What should I do guys?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -