|System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC|
|Release: August 20, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Splinter Cell: Blacklist also has a brand new bone-lighting-based stealth system to brag about. Essentially, Sam Fisher has a virtual skeleton mapped out by the game system. At any point in time, the game uses its own lighting engine info to relay data about what parts of Sam are lit and what parts of him aren’t. The game then uses this data together with enemy line of sight to tell whether or not Sam is spotted. This means that random elemental effects give you a chance of being spotted. Lightning flashes, for example, briefly light up the entire playing field from one direction. So if you aren’t in the shadows when they flash, you have a chance of being seen by the enemy.
It’s worth noting that the presentation of Splinter Cell: Blacklist is one of the snazziest we have seen in this console generation. The game looks amazing, right down to its menu design. Every single part of the game is integrated into this: When you look at your mission list in HQ, it will show you single-player, bonus missions, multiplayer co-op, and multiplayer competitive missions all at once, including data from your friends list. Loadout creation and selection is integrated directly into the preparation sequence for starting each mission. There is no “press Y to go into a menu;” it’s all just seamlessly integrated into the gameplay experience.
Of course, all of these modern day loadouts and upgrades may be a bit too much for the classic Splinter Cell fan. That’s why Ubisoft has developed a new Professional level of difficulty. This difficulty level turns off all of the modern day conveniences. Gone is the ability to mark and execute targets. Gone is the ability to see through walls with visors. Gone are special gadgets and tricks that help you get through a level unnoticed. All you have is your eyes and your stealth savvy. Also, enemy aggression is seriously turned up in this mode. If an enemy spots you, they will shred you to bits in a matter of seconds. Luckily, you can swap your difficulties between each level, just in case you decided that playing on professional was a horrible mistake.
Overall, I have to say that Splinter Cell: Blacklist was the surprise of the convention for me. I was never a big fan of the Splinter Cell franchise, but the sheer open nature of the game made it very appealing in a “Deus Ex done right” sort of way. It may not be the most popular game when it releases, but it is sure to be a cult classic that will please longtime Splinter Cell fans and newcomers to the franchise alike.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: April 8, 2013