The sixth Splinter Cell game, Blacklist, hits stores this week, and though many video game franchises well and truly run out of steam after 10 years of consistently pumping out new titles, such is clearly not the case here.
Though many feared that 2010′s Conviction marked the “casualisation” of the series from here on out, Blacklist isn’t just a return to form, but it’s an apotheosis of the series; a reminder and refinement of every great innovation the series brought to the surface.
As a result, it’s fair to say that this just might be the best entry in the Splinter Cell series. It’s not without its flaws – namely the absence of Michael Ironside voicing Sam – yet it takes those coveted core elements and elevates them to such a high degree that Sam Fisher really never has been more fun or badass to play. Here are 10 reasons why Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the best of the series…
10. Greater Focus on Stealth
Conviction was without question Splinter Cell going the casual route, as part of a conscious effort by Ubisoft to make the game more accessible. Conviction’s Mark and Execute and Last Known Position mechanics streamlined the game and made it easier for new players to pick up, with stealth being given the short shrift (you couldn’t lock pick, hide bodies or whistle, as was hugely disappointing) in favour of action-packed set-pieces.
Thankfully, Blacklist is back to the style of stealth-based gameplay that made the first three games in the series especially so good. The vast majority of those favoured mechanics have returned, along with a few others thrown on top.
Though players are nearly forced to get aggressive at a few key points, smart players will still be able to go the stealth route, albeit with more difficulty. Also, some of the more irritating stealth-related elements from earlier games – such as sound detection – have been smartly elided.
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This article was first posted on August 15, 2013