In a world where regurgitation is the norm, seeing the Splinter Cell series rise from a humble Xbox launch title, to the console spanning giant it is today, feels heartwarming. With that frame of mind Splinter Cell Blacklist, now gracing the Wii U library, is a success. It is originality in a world that lacks it. Unfortunately for us it is also: unpolished and clunky. Fans of the series will enjoy this latest installment whereas new players approaching for the first time will feel a little wary afterwards. Let's look at the ins and outs of Splinter Cell Blacklist.
Splinter Cell is actually iconic for its main characters minimal costume: the black suit with glowing green goggles. That image alone can tell you where the bulk of gameplay is going to be spent. This is good news, as the latest installments prior to Blacklist moved away from the strategy and stealth formula. The combat in the game is based on efficiency, stealth, and strategy and every kill can bring in the euphoric feeling of finishing off a great hunt. Moving from wall to wall, cover to cover, is nerve wracking and an absolute joy. The ability to mark out kills is also very useful.
The Wii U is not quite on the level of processing that the other next gen consoles are and the results are mismashed because of this. Sam Fisher looks great and the other character models hold up well, but the textures overall are just OK. Fortunately for Splinter Cell the graphics were never going to be the calling card of the video game.
The story of the game has Sam Fisher joining up with a new group, The Fourth Echelon, taking over for the Third Echelon, in order to take out the new baddies. If you are a fan of the Tom Clancy novels then you will probably love the story a fair bit more than I did. The usual build up is all there: twists, turns, new baddies, new buddies, and the technological thrill to the whole story. Nothing to write home about, certainly not classic literature, but it is functional and will keep you moving towards the endgame.
Let's take a look at where Blacklist starts to break down. For a stealth game, and one not installed into an open world style of play, there are too many cutscenes and after the third one in a thirty minute span, the pace begins to wear down. There are also a plethora of audio glitches, including moments where the audio simply gives up and cuts out. No excuse or apology--just done.
Where Splinter Cell excels is when you lose yourself in the game. The single player offers enough story to give you hours of fun chasing down new baddies, and the available multiplayer is a thrill: armed mercenaries versus strategic spies. There's also a co-op mode as well to add a bit of replay value. Splinter Cell: Blacklist is an uneven game with moments of real joy.