I’ve been a keen gamer ever since first playing the flight sim my Dad bought me along with our first computer, and over the years the Splinter Cell series has probably averaged out as my favourite. The sixth in the series, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, was released this August. It was also the first Splinter Cell game since the original I did not buy on release day, primarily due to a lack of confidence that it was going to take a good direction.
Overall it turns out this concern was unnecessary. The developers have clearly made a concerted attempt to bring the stealth gameplay back to the fore, and they succeeded in doing this without returning to the rigid “game-over if you’re seen” which the preceding Conviction was trying to escape. It’s this stealth gameplay that we all bought Splinter Cell for, and it’s also what distinguishes it from the plethora of other action games on the market.
I greatly enjoyed playing through the game. The missions are well designed to challenge and encourage innovation. The objectives make sense and the levels build tension well.
I was less enthusiastic about the characters and inter-mission banter. Sam Fisher is no longer voiced my Michael Ironside, and his replacement sounds just like you’re average gritty American, without the depth that Ironside brought. And Sam doesn’t really look like Sam any more. Moreover, the bitchy arguments between the characters were forced and irritating. It’s so rare to find good writing in a game, and I’m always baffled as to why.
But this relatively minor quibble shouldn’t put you off. If you’ve enjoyed past Splinter Cell games you’ll enjoy this one!
(Header image, Ubisoft)