Ubisoft didn't have the best first showing for Splinter Cell: Blacklist at E3 2012 when the game was officially announced. Everyone was worried that the series was just going to continue its more action oriented approach with the series much like Conviction. For most Splinter Cell: Conviction was a good idea that probably was in development for to long. However, Ubisoft has been taking the right steps since E3 to show that Blacklist is actually going to be a better mix of action, but still retain the kind of stealth the series became famous for.
While this may be the sixth game in Sam Fisher's long running series, no previous knowledge of the past games won't hinder on your experience. Following the events of Conviction, Blacklist will have Sam taking on a group of twelve terrorists called "The Engineers". The Engineers are counting down for an upcoming strike on American assets called "The Blacklist". Sam and The Fourth Echelon are the only ones who are able to take this group down before it's to late.
Blacklist's story isn't by any means raising the bar in terms of story, but similar to past games tells the game's story in interesting ways through gameplay primarily. Hopefully Blacklist will also have some sort of way to tell a summery from the past five games upon starting it. This will mark the first Splinter Cell since Double Agent that will be simultaneously released on every major console (and the Wii U).
Gameplay thankfully has taken a turn since Conviction that feel much more like Chaos Theory did in terms of options. If you want to go all out action third person shooter and prepare yourself before hand, that is totally a viable option. While playing non-lethally is still as challenging and rewarding as always. Playing stealth will be a very time consuming endeavor as if you don't sneak successfully can be shot and killed in a matter of seconds. Sam is by no means a bullet sponge with his stealth equipment.
Multiplayer in Blacklist will feature Co-op side missions and Spies Vs. Mercenaries making it's real return from Chaos Theory. Co-op missions will let you and a friend go through 14 levels or 16 if you pre-order the game. Co-op stealth and action has always worked well in Splinter Cells past. This still seems to be the case even with Blacklist.
In case you are new to Spies Vs. Mercs, it is a 2v2 mode where spies try and hack a terminal that is being protected by the mercs. the spies play the game in a third person perspective, while the mercs play the game through a first person perspective. This has always lead to many highly intense online matches in Chaos Theory and with the original team working on this for Blacklist, hopes should be high for this multiplayer mode.
The mobility of Conviction is actually still very present in Blacklist. Keeping this and integrating it with more familiar gameplay seems to work extremely well. While it may sound like fans of Splinter Cell hated Conviction, this is not the case at all. The story was a Splinter Cell story for sure, but the gameplay felt like something way to new and different. There were many good gameplay ideas and bringing them into Blacklist will make it the next gen Splinter Cell game fans have always wanted.
Splinter Cell Blacklist is releasing on PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Nintendo Wii U (with no offline multiplayer) on August 20th in North America. Let us know what you think of Splinter Cell Blacklist in the comments below and look for our review at the end of August.