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I'm going to think twice before buying another Prima guide
on October 19, 2013
If you're a Splinter Cell fan you will love Blacklist. If you're a strategy guide fan, you should not buy this guide.
I've bought strategy guides for years. While not religious in their use, I like to break them out occasionally if I hit a wall and want a "nudge" in the right direction. As it's difficult to tell where the "nudge" will be needed, I like my guides complete. I'm even happy to pay a little extra for those "limited edition guides" which provide a bit more depth or concept art because it helps round out the experience. I've got the Skyrim guide by Prima Games (excellent ... and oh so necessary) and the Borderlands 2 Limited Edition guide published by Brady Games (with the Claptrap punch-out paper-fold doll ... not necessary but super cool). I even still have some of the Halo guides (back to Halo 2) which had a ton of art in it ... and are still great to pull out and look through to remember fun gone past. As I've seen Prima put out solid content before (see Skyrim above) ... I'm baffled how this guide turned out so poorly. I should have known something was wrong when the book got delayed several days past release ...
I pre-ordered the guide prior to release. It was supposed to be available on August 22nd and it wasn't shipped until Sept 3rd. This was after a number of other sites (like Gamestop) just dropped the guide altogether. I now have a better idea why it may have been dropped ...
The Front and Back cover advertise Bonus eGuide Access. Including Tactical Multi-player Videos, Detailed Interactive Maps, and advanced Co-op Strategies. I went through the registration process to get access and guess what ... there's no such thing on their site. It's literally a copy paste of what you already have in the book ... so no value there. From here on out, what I describe is the same both on the site and in the book, so there's no difference.
The guide (260 out of 285 pages) is almost completely single-player, and really doesn't do that well either. In the game you can go through trying to get achievements in Ghost, Panther and Assault mode. The single player guide only covers Ghost and Assault, tactics, not Panther. So ... missing value there.
As for co-op Mode, something that adds as lot of re-playability due to varied difficulty levels and randomly spawning enemies, and is a lot of fun to tackle with a friend, there are only sparse descriptions of what's in the game. There a several types of co-op missions from Grimm missions which are all about stealth to Charlie missions which are waves of bad guys you need to mow down (think Horde Mode in Gears of War). There's five missions in the Briggs co-op chain you can play. Want to know what the Briggs mode is about ... here's the description in the guide: "Sam and Briggs must work together to get to the root of a nuclear weapons smuggling operation, one whose roots reach back to one of 3rd Echelon's darkest secrets." That's it. No maps, no tactics not even the mission names ... nothing useful ... at all. The names are Smugglers Compound, Missile Plant, Voron Station, Abandoned City by the way. Really was that too hard to add into a guide?
Now for the real meat. The asymmetric multilayer. This is where the real "re-playability" comes in. This is what the Splinter Cell community called for and got in spades. There's even a bit of "Call of Duty-esque " unlocking of guns. The list of unlockables is from page 270 to 285 in the guide. 15 pages of tables. And that's most of the multi-player help. No maps, no descriptions no tactics. And the kicker is this, the developer did a great job of putting all that table data in the game so you can automatically compare between items. There's no need for the tables in the book. It's just filler.
So here's the deal. If you like Splinter Cell, then you'll enjoy the game. It's a lot of fun. If you wonder what Splinter Cell is about, and haven't tried it yet, this is a great one to start out with. Just don't buy the guide. It's a total waste of money. Unless you're looking for a new door stop or something.