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on August 22, 2013
I have no problem saying that this is the best Splinter Cell game to date. Customization and (except for some forced sequences) the choice to tackle a problem however you want is refreshing when compared to most games out there in circulation right now. The only issue I had with the customization was that it requires you to purchase weapons and equipment in order instead of picking and purchasing what is available.

That being said, my only true problem has nothing to do with game play mechanics but with the voice acting. This is the first Splinter Cell where Micheal Ironside does not voice the protagonist Sam Fisher. Eric Johnson does a fine job on his own but his voice is nowhere near that of Ironside's. The whole time I couldn't shake the feeling that I was playing as someone else besides the Sam Fisher fan's of the series know and love and even when listening to the game I still tried my best to imagine Ironside's voice instead.

Great game, I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the stealth/action genre of gaming.

Next time Ubisoft bring back Ironside for the voice (let someone else motion capture, technology can do it) and you'll have absolutely one of the best games of the year.
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on August 20, 2013
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the latest installment in the beloved series. With Splinter Cell Conviction, Ubisoft decided to make the game less about stealth and more about brute force. Sure, there was the option at times of using stealth but I never felt the need to use it. With Blacklist however, stealth plays a much bigger role. Gone are the days when it was ok to charge headlong into a room emptying clip after clip on enemies. While I enjoyed Conviction, Blacklist takes all the good parts of Conviction and adds so much more to it.

For a game bearing Tom Clancy's name, the plot line is exactly what you would expect. Terrorists are threatening to destroy something and an elite group of soldiers have been given carte blanch to stop them. In this case, terrorists are threatening to destroy the United States by systematically taking out high value targets, or what they call the Blacklist -- things like energy, food; basically the backbones of the country. Sam Fisher of the elite 4th Echelon is tasked by the President to do anything necessary to stop the attacks. While the plot isn't spectacular, it serves it purposes to facilitate the missions and lead you towards the final encounter.

From the first mission it's evident that there is an enhanced fluidity to movement. It's easy to slip into the shadows, mantle over cover, climb up a pipe and drop down onto an unsuspecting enemy. There is a certain satisfaction in sitting in one spot for several minutes studying enemy movements to really plan out a route that will either let you slip by completely undetected, or to divide and conquer without raising any alarms. Each mission allows you to complete it any number of ways; some force you to remain undetected while others encourage it by sending in swarms of reinforcements. It proves beneficial to not start large scale gun battles.

One complaint I had with Splinter Cell Conviction was, while stealth was a game mechanic, there was very little true need to use it. That has completely changed with Blacklist. Sam Fisher can only take limited damage and when multiple enemies are attacking it can end very quickly. Planning before the mission is just as important. Deciding what gadgets and gear to equip before you put boots on the ground is imperative to making the mission go as smoothly as possible. There is a wide array of gadgets you can purchase with money earned during the mission such as smoke bombs, EMP grenades, sticky cameras, sleep gas grenades, etc. Depending on your play style, there is certain to be gear you will quickly fall in love with.
Graphically the game looks good. On Xbox there is an optional HD Texture pack that can be installed from disc 2. It's approximately 3 GBs of data; honestly if you have the space just download it for the full effect of the game. Lighting and shadows are well done. The lights on Sam's suit flare when you are under cover of darkness. They provide a nice indicator so you are not left guessing if you are in the shadows or not. Likewise, the sound track and effects are pretty good as well. They won't win any awards here, but they don't detract from the game either, but with one exception. I have a surround sound headset which is perfect for a stealth game like this. However, on more than one occasion the enemies footsteps did not mesh with where the enemy was on screen. This created some frustrating moments when I needed to go off enemy positions purely based on sound.

On top of the single player campaign there are two multiplayer offering as well. The first is the fan favorite Spies vs Mercs mode. Spies are elite, agile stealth-based characters who need to hack certain terminals, all done in third-person perspective. The Mercs and heavily armed, first-person based characters whose job is to stops the Spies from hacking or to kill the spy responsible for the hack before it completes. Playing as the Merc, there is always a sense of tension as you search for the spies, knowing at any moment you may be taken down by a lithe assailant. Conversely, as a Spy you know if you are caught in the open the fight will end quickly. There are a couple different modes within the Spies vs Mercs umbrella. Classic 2 vs 2, 4 vs 4, and then Uplink where there is a combination of Spies and Mercs on the same team. All three are high tension modes, but when you succeed luring an enemy into a kill spot and execute it to perfection, there are not many video game moments that can live up to it.

The other multiplayer mode is 14 Co-op based missions. These appear as side missions during the campaign, and all but 4 can technically be done solo. Yet, playing through these missions with a partner adds an entirely new level of strategy, planning, and tension. Executing double kills, having a partner distract a guard so the other can sneak up behind them and eliminate them is so rewarding. I have never hid the fact that I love co-op games, missions, or stories. While Conviction had a Co-op mode, it was a self-contained story and felt more like an add-on. The co-op in Blacklist feels and plays so well. Enemies rarely do the same thing no matter how many times you play a mission, so repeating the missions with different play styles, or partners, still offers an engaging experience.

I haven't enjoyed a Splinter Cell game this much since Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. Blacklist went back to the roots of what made it an outstanding game and added more variety and appealing gameplay. I have always been a fan of stealth-based games, a few games claim to be stealth-based but quickly become run and gun games where the only stealth is hiding when you are waiting for your health to regenerate. Blacklist is not one of those games. It's a game that forces you to plan ahead, and rewards you for good choices, and punishes you for rash decisions.

Pros
Stealth, that actually works and is beneficial
Amazing Co-op and MP modes
Fluid movement

Cons

At times audio is out of sync with events on screen, most notable enemy footsteps
At times the control scheme gets in the way of the game

Splinter Cell Blacklist is the stealth game that Conviction promised it would be. With solid gameplay, and fantastic level design, it delivers many memorable moments while not sacrificing its true vision. Allowing the player to play anyway they want through almost each mission, and still feel as though it was the way the developers intended it, is a testament to how much Ubisoft wanted to get this right. Blacklist is a deeply rewarding game for those who take their time, plan, and execute a strategy. If you are looking for a fast paced, run and gun shooter - you can play like that. If you are looking for a game where you can sneak past virtually every enemy leaving nothing but a shadow behind, you can play like that. If you want something in between those you, you can do that as well. While Conviction was a decent game, Blacklist excels as a stealth -based game with loads of replayability. This is one game I will be trying to convince as many friends as I can to pick up. This one is simply too good to ignore.
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on September 6, 2013
Love this game, reminds a lot of my favorite one in the series which was Chaos Theory. Great single player campaign that you can play again and again. But the multiplayer is where it's at, Spies vs Mercs nuff said. My only complaint is that I wish there was more multiplayer maps. Maybe they will release some in the form of DLC.
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on January 1, 2014
I won't go into a very long form review, breaking down the game by section (the rest of the net and this section have enough on that). But I will say that I own every Splinter Cell game in the series, and this might be one of the best with at least offering you options. The main difference is the Play Style that you can achieve in each level. It offers different points for evading, staying hidden, silent kills, combat kills, etc. This adds a dimension to the game that you can do it your own way.

The "Ghost" style is the most rewarded, as it should be, but if you go run and gun through the level you will probably be ok too. Weapons and ammo are plentiful if you don't care if the weapon is silenced, and it is nice to know that quickly clearing an area without too much fear of being caught makes the game pace a little quicker.

I like the side missions to the game, the only weird part is that you can completely disrupt the main story line with them. In your launch screen you see the "time" to the next terrorist attack, maybe a couple days. However, you could theoretically do every side mission between two main missions, taking you all the way across the world and back, without any penalty or change in that main mission clock. While I do appreiciate the freedom to choose, it takes some of the feeling or urgency out of the story line.

So that's it mostly. Great Splinter Cell title, great gadgets and weapons, and pretty fantastic graphics on the 360. One last thing, no Michael Ironside. He IS Sam Fisher in my opinion. Bummer, since there are a lot of cool cut scenes and Sam Fisher actually talks quite a bit. Deeper in the game you stop noticing, but for the first couple missions, I honestly felt like something was off/wrong!
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on December 6, 2013
I have been playing splinter cell from the beginning and this was by far my favorite splinter cell of the series. While the game may have been lacking Michael Ironside's voice it more than made up for it with the best gameplay of the franchise. Blacklist gameplay combines all the best elements of the old splinter cell games with some of the more fast paced action and execute abilities of Conviction. Upgrading your plane and gear was a little too easy and by the time I was half way through the campaigned I had every piece of gear and upgrade available. I hope going into future games they learn from this and make upgrading a slightly slower process. Multiplayer is a revitalization of the old spies vs mercs angle but with improved gameplay and balance creating a very addictive and fun experience. I would really give this game a lot more stars if I could. This is a game I will be playing for years to come.
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on September 7, 2013
Playing "Splinter Cell: Blacklist" offers feelings that were both foreign and familiar. Playing the game, I had a sense that I had been here before, long ago, but that the experience was new and refreshing. "Splinter Cell: Blacklist" evokes these feelings because it is, quite honestly, the perfect hybrid of what made the original "Splinter Cell" so great while still keeping relevant in today's changing gaming culture.
Die hard fans of "Splinter Cell" want their "Splinter Cell" to be fairly simple. I am silent. I am deadly, but I do my job best when I move through this environment with full deniability. I have a Fifth Freedom, but this is the freedom to not take a life inasmuch as it is to end a life. "Splinter Cell" accommodates this in many ways. What it also accommodates is the modern mindset of pure reckless abandon; chaos with an iron fist. The ability to rush a level and let pure shooter skill decide who is left standing. You can do this too in "Splinter Cell" and...oddly enough... it never betrays itself.
The game performs this very delicate balancing act a few ways. The first is the game's campaign has each mission (and there are more than expected) playable in one of 3 methods. "Ghost" (which has players being unseen/detected and using non-lethal methods), "Panther" (Unseen but exceptionally deadly), and "Assault" (Go loud... there are no survivors.) You can select gear in an almost RPG fashion that fits your play style. Your pants, for example, may be more effective at stealth with little armor and are purchased through credits earned in-game. You may very well have the intention to go "silent" during your mission, but you are dedicated to that task. Need to kill a guard because it's most efficient for your particular goal? No problem. Do it. You aren't penalized outright with a failure (in most cases...more in a moment) and it isn't until the end of the mission where you are rated and scored on how you accomplished your goal. The more you play, the more you may want to switch your play style. The game keeps track of how you've beat levels so you may very well feel comfortable going loud and deadly on your next go through just to see how it feels (and it does feel good.)
Your main mission screen is the "Paladin," the flying air fortress where Sam's Fourth Echelon now resides. I will not go into details as they are pertinent to the story, but here you can play the campaign and access the other features.
Other features include level types for different characters such as a Co-op only mode where you MUST play with another player (On Xbox360 and PS3 this is Splitscreen enabled as well), a "horde" style mode (that you can choose to play in the same styles as standard missions making for an interesting time,) a full blown GHOST mode (enemies cannot spot you or it is mission over) and a few other little goodies.
Back to those who missed it is "Spys VS Mercs." There are changes here however but nothing too crazy. Spies do wield DEADLY weapons, no more stun weapons. These weapons however are weak in comparison to the Mercs and a good Merc does have a pretty good setup.
I suggest this game to fans of the "Splinter Cell" franchise as well as newcomers. There is enough information here that all can enjoy. I will say that if you're a fan of the series, there are a few moments where I, literally, jumped up and yelled "That's Bad@$#!" That happens rarely in my world of "always awesome."
I will mention the ONE gripe I have had with this game. I will say that when I heard Michael Ironside wasn't reprising his role, I openly stated that the new guy is probably good enough and we should give him a shot. New persons to the series will find little wrong with him, but as a fan of the series I did have a few gripes. The guy did a decent job, make no mistake. The PROBLEM is they wrote for this guy, not for SAM FISHER, or even Michael Ironside. This is evident in a few interactions with Sam and his partners. I won't spoil anything but these interactions are almost mirrored with what those who feel they know Sam might witness. In addition to this, the guy's lines felt light in contrast and, honestly, I would have been happier if the story was this was Sam's Protégé and he was dating/attempting to date Sarah (Sam's Daughter.)
Given that gripe, there are still some amazing gameplay experiences in "Splinter Cell: Blacklist" and if you were on the fence and looking for an action packed game with an interesting story and a cool payoff... sneak this one into your shopping cart. You're Bad@$$ enough... you earned it. -Adam
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on September 7, 2013
I had mild expectations of the new splinter cell, wondering how they were going to meet EVERYONE'S expectations for stealth, panther, combat, multiplayer, story, gameplay and more. It pretty much exceeded all my expectations. Sam's new voice takes some time to get used to, but he has potential. Looking forward to the next installment!
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on May 7, 2014
Black List is one of the better games I have ever played. This one builds of Convictions gameplay, but brings back the fun and difficulty of Chaos Theory. I was a little concerned about the direction of the franchise after Double Agent and Conviction, but I have rediscovered my love for these titles. The original and Chaos Theory were two of the better games I have ever played and I can add Blacklist to the group!

Blacklist offers a surprisingly diverse number of routes to complete a single check point area. Combine that with the three very different play styles and three difficulty levels, and you have super high replay value and a ridiculous number of ways to complete the game. You will quickly fall into your preferred playing style but I found myself constantly trying to complete tasks in other styles to gain points and challenge myself.

There is a great combination of action and stealth and you can focus on either whenever you like. Completing an check point without being detected is always a fun challenge and will have you pausing and restarting frequently, not from frustration, but from a desire to perfect your route, attacks, and movements. I would say there is a perfect amount of difficulty for all skill levels and play styles once you tweak the settings.

I don’t love the pelican level up aspect of the game because I would rather jump into the action as quickly as possible. Cut scenes are well done and you feel like you are part of the action and you have choices even when you are completing the single player story. I have not ventured into the multiplayers arena which could be fun, but is a great testament how solid the single player really is.

Great buy and an excellent representation of the 360’s power! If you liked any of the Splinter Cells, you absolutely must pick this up.
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VINE VOICEon September 25, 2013
Format: Video Game|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've played all the Splinter Cell games and loved them all, especially Conviction. Blacklist was tons of fun, I played through the campaign twice. I experimented with going through it "run and gun" style but since I've never done well playing any game that way, I quickly abandoned it in favor of my usual stealth. It was weird that a good number of the missions were during the day - I still was able to do it stealthily, but really.... during the day? Why did 4th Echelon choose to do a mission during the day? It didn't make sense but I tried not to think about it. A nice change in this game is there wasn't a lot of profanity - in Conviction, the enemy AI were nearly always yelling the F word, which can irritate some people. But in Blacklist, the enemy AI didn't yell profanity (thought I'd mention this in case it mattered to you).

So the gameplay was really fun, and I liked the storyline, but for me, this game does lack the character that previous Splinter Cell games had. By that of course, I'm referring to the new Sam Fisher voice actor who sounded a bit bland (I kept thinking of Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series, and Sam looks like an older Shepard in this game), and it didn't help that the writers didn't give Sam Fisher the witty, unique lines like he's had in previous games ("Face, meet Wall. Wall, this is a Face."). There was some banter with a jailed character that *almost* came close, but not quite. I do recommend Blacklist, but I sure do miss Michael Ironside.
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on September 16, 2015
In this game you've patched things up with the government. You work for the government in this game. You are Sam Fisher and your job is to stop a major Terrorist attack called the Blacklist or millions of American lives will be lost.
In this game you have a team but the single player missions are done solo and side missions can be done alone or with a friend. In this game you have everything at your disposal. Any type of gun or gadget that you could possibly want is in this game. Oh, and I forgot to mention several different types of body armor are available! But, you have to have the money and upgrades to your plane necessary to get these items. Luckily you get cash for every main and side mission you complete.
You have three styles you can carry out your mission with: Ghost, Panther, and Assault. Ghost is using non lethal methods to take out your enemies. Panther is killing your enemies lethally but silently and strategically as a panther. Assault is plain and simple, you go in guns blazing. I played mostly the panther style. There is a level where you have to play Ghost style. One level was so hard I played mostly Assault Style. To me Panther style was the best and the most fun way to play. Just a little friendly tip, you get more points and cash if you play the Ghost or Panther style. Ghost is actually worth the most points and cash.
The plot and story line is great. The missions are not terribly hard but, some of the Charlie side missions are hard and the final main mission in single player is extremely tough. Lots of bad guys and laser grids to go through. If you get detected by a laser grid the mission automatically aborts in some cases. I was definitely yelling and cussing alot on the last mission. It was very difficult and frustrating.
Overall excellent game. It gets five stars. Best Splinter Cell game yet! I will definitely consider buying the next Splinter Cell game if one ever comes out on the next generation consoles.
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