[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”Splinter Cell: Blacklist” developers=”Ubisoft Montreal / Toronoto” publishers=”Ubisoft” platforms=”PS3/360/PC” genres=”” release_date=”Out Now” version_played=”PS3″]
Splinter Cell has never been the apex of good storytelling, but Blacklist tries to keep the player intrigued with an otherwise basic terrorism plot. A terrorist group known as ‘The Engineers’ begin orchestrating attacks on U.S assets, with the demand that the government pull all U.S soldiers from foreign lands, otherwise executing the Blacklist, a series of deadly attacks. In continuation of Splinter Cell Conviction and it’s fractured leadership, President Caldwell from the previous installment reinstates Fisher and recurring favorite Grimsdottir to Fourth Echelon, which basically is Third Echelon all over again, with Fisher as the leader.
The story is hardly remarkable, and doesn’t contain a trace of Chaos Theory’s nuanced and subtle style of storytelling (which overtly focused on optional data collections to piece together the whole story rather than Blacklist’s linear progression of the story through cutscenes) but it’s well voiced, the main antagonist Sadiq is very well portrayed and as a vehicle to drive the gameplay forward it does the job fine. When the lines start to blur between Fourth Echelon and the American Government, as we are shown how far the team will go to protect their nation and people, is where Blacklist shines. Some surprising twists abounds, but ultimately the story fizzles out in the end due to a nuanced final encounter and plot points that purposely leave the door open for a sequel. That’s all well and good, but Blacklist suffers for not continuing the story in favour of a probable next-gen outing.
New characters Charlie and Briggs are nothing more than shallow stereotypes (the nerd and the rough and tumble partner) which is a shame; neither holds a flame to the old favorites Lambert or even Redding, and do nothing other than exchange shallow quips and break rules/back up Fisher, respectfully. There’s little emotional connectivity, and even Grimsdottir isn’t up to snuff. Fisher himself has lost the charm of his witty and sarcastic past self. Given the subject matter and Conviction/Double Agent’s foray into playing it straight, this is less of an negative, more of a confirmation that this looks like the road we’ll be going down. Conviction’s Victor Coste and Kobin both make appearances, and it’s actually sort of nice to see Kobin get a role that doesn’t involve him getting beaten up in every encounter.