Terrorists calling themselves The Engineers have just attacked a U.S. military base on Guam. Their demands are simple: recall all us troops from overseas, or they will strike again, once every week, at unknown targets on what they call The Blacklist. The President calls on Sam Fisher, back with Fourth Echelon, to go above and beyond to stop the terrorist before they can strike again.
For those of you who are new to the Splinter Cell franchise, your most precious resource is surprise. Stealthily dispatching enemy guards is pretty much the only way to go. Running and gunning is simply not going to cut it here, unless you are seeking a quick and embarrassing death. But fear not, as you have many tools and tricks to outwit and eliminate your foes. The simplest of tricks at your disposal is the attract tactic. Simply tap the Back button and Sam will whistle or quietly call out, attracting the attention of any nearby guards, causing them to come investigate the area. I know you are saying to yourself “But Bryan, I don’t want the guard to come investigate, because then he will spot me and alert the other guards.” Don’t worry, unless the guards are on alert, they will almost always calmly and almost obviously check out your location, allowing you an easy takedown.
Gadgets play a critical role in completing your missions, and boy do you have gadgets. Basics like frag and smoke grenades are neat, but proximity mines and shockers, sticky noisemakers and cameras, and the versatile Tri-roter are the way to go. Each gadget has unique characteristics, and choosing the right ones for your style is key. Unique to Blacklist is the after action reward system, which rewards you based on the style of play utilized in the mission. Silently took down the guards? You earn Ghost experience. Shot your way through? Assault experience is earned that way. The experience is all tallied up after the mission, where Ghost will earn you the highest amount of experience, therefore earning you the most money. Multipliers can be added to your post mission bonus by completing Gone Dark missions (a meta game mini-game where you search the SMI (Strategic Mission Interface) map and use your own real world resources to find the next mission location.)
Since the threat of The Engineers is a global one, you and your team will need to be mobile. Enter, the Paladin, a high-tech cargo plane chock full of gear, gadgets, and of course, guns. This will serve as your base of operations, where you can buy gear, tune your load-outs, access missions, and even chat with your team. Assisting you in saving the U.S. is Charlie Cole, an expert hacker and friend, Anna Grimsdottir, operations manager and recurring member of the franchise, and Isaac Briggs, former CIA operator and a new member to the franchise. Together you must uncover The Engineers, stop The Blacklist, and save the day.
Multiplayer in Splinter Cell has always been a strong point, and this iteration is no different. Spies vs Mercs pits you in an alternating battle between capturing data points as spies, and defending said data as mercs. Spies play and control exactly like Sam does in single player, with only minor tweaks to the load-outs. The mercs, on the other hand, control in first person, adding a a wrinkle to the conventional multiplayer. Mercs almost always win in a head to head firefight, so its up to the spies to use their cunning, speed, and gadgets to get close enough for easy takedowns. Communication is key in these 3 on 3 matches, so I would advise finding a buddy to play with, unless frustrating losses is something you enjoy.
+ Solid mechanics, smart AI, and sweet gadgets
+ Co-op side quests are a great addition
+ Intense story, well written and well voiced
Real World Grade
+ Comes out head and night vision goggles above the competition
= Franchise length is an issue, but by no means do I want it to end