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Splinter Cell: Blacklist. So fun it made me buy the entire serie.

Back in 2016, a steam sale among others. Me and my dumb kid brain decided to buy Blacklist, hoping to make it run in my geforce 920m powered laptop. It never even reached the installation process and went silent (lol) for a few years. Up to recently, when I watched my game list and had time to kill due to lockdown. So hippiti-po, here we go, I pressed the install button and launched the game.

And boi it was fun.


About the game

Splinter cell: Blacklist is the last episode of the famous serie of stealth game released by Ubisoft between 2000 and 2013. It's now an almost 8 years game, but it aged like old wine. At its release, it was widely disliked by a lot of original splinter cell fans for its action-oriented gameplay (a critic that had already been adressed to its predecessor; splinter cell: Conviction). It's basically a stealth/tps game where you embody Sam Fisher, a kind of super soldier crossed with a futuristic ninja, who infiltrates enemy bases to dismantle a terrorist organisation known as "the Blacklist".


About the gameplay

The gameplay is surprisingly fun. The game drops you directly inside ennemy territory with an objective and lets you completely free of your approach. There is 3 ways of playing: ghost, panther and assault. As a ghost, your main objective is to remain undected, forcing you to use alternate paths and engage ennemies as less as possible. It's a really rewarding playstyle, as it forces you to exploit everything the game has to offer. As a panther, you will engage in fighting but try to stay undetected. And as an assault, you will force your way with brute force. Probably the hardest way of playing the game as ennemies are really strong. Speaking of which, the AI in this game is really good. Ennemies will notice your presence, look for you, spread out, and regroup when they find you. They use grenades to destroy your hiding spot, rush your position, do a lot of damages, etc. Once they are alerted, dealing with them is really hard and you will be forced to remain undetected if you want to complete your objectives. Because yes, this game is hard. But in a good way. It really forces you into stealth, and gets really rewarding once you get to know the mechanics. Not like one of those games like the Ghost Recon saga where stealth becomes an option without real implications, and once your cover is blowed you know you can make your way through the game with a heavy shotgun. In Splinter Cell you will end up not using your guns at all, and sacrificing every protection for discretion.

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About the story

It's stupidly fun. Feels like one of those old action movies. You are an american patriot fighting a terrorist organisation, with leads you to bring your interventionists boots to every pacific country you can think of. Sam Fisher is a freaking obsessive nutcase that ignores every established rule to get what he wants. It gets almost comical when you end up infiltrating some impossibly secure locations like the Guantanamo prison camp or the strategic HQ of Iranian special forces. Without direct approbation from your government, needless to say. Every mission is an escalading joke of "no, we can't do that… can't we?" However, sometimes it gets (slightly) political. It's an american game and you play the american way, and bad guys are bad guys, and they are either russian or arab. But it's not always one-sided and sometimes you feel like you are the bad guy and your enemy is in the right. Anyway, don't count too much on it, it's a scenario meant to be fun and permissive, not carry a deep political meaning.


about the rest

Graphics don't feel old at all. Minus stuff like dynamic effects, everything stands up to today standards. Sound effects are a pure bliss. It really makes the game immersive. Unrealistic yes, but 100% cool. It ressurected the "merc vs spy" mode and it's ridiculously fun. It's a 4vs4 match where a team of hackers try to hack terminals and a team of security mercs try to stop them. Hacker team has the speed, agiliy and stealth. Merc team has the armor, brute strength and firepower. It can get really tense and it's a lot of fun. This kind of asymetrical gameplay is a fantastic multiplayer experience.

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a few bad points

You need Ubisoft Connect to play it (yuck), it has a few online purchases (only gear and weapons), the variety of weapons is useless as you won't use most of them, and it still has a bit too much action to really be an authentic splinter cell experience.


conclusion

It's a super fun game, and it's less than 10$ on steam. It's also a great way to be introduced to the Splinter Cell saga as most of the games can feel old and dated. After completing it I went to purchase the rest of the saga and went through the original game and chaos theory. Didn't had as much fun, but it was an interesting experience nontheless. Buy it and enjoy yourself!

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