Ubisoft has a very strong portfolio of game IP's but few are stronger than their Sam Fisher starring stealth action franchise Splinter Cell. It is somewhat surprising that it has now been over three years since the last outing in the franchise (that being Splinter Cell: Conviction) but in a matter of weeks Sam Fisher will again be gracing our screens in Splinter Cell: Blacklist and it looks like being the best game yet.
The United States has a military presence in two thirds of countries around the world. A group of 12 have had enough and initiate a terror ultimatum called the Blacklist - a deadly countdown of escalating terrorist attacks on U.S. interests. Sam Fisher is the leader of the newly formed 4th Echelon unit: a clandestine unit that answers solely to the President of the United States. Sam and his team must hunt down these terrorists by any means necessary, and stop the Blacklist countdown before it reaches zero.
Blacklist really is a gorgeous looking game.
As has always been the case with this series gadgets available to Sam during the missions often play an integral part in success or failure. These items include a Tri-Rotor drone to scout areas, distract enemies, or even fire Sticky Shocker darts. A Sticky Noisemaker is a small speaker that can be used to distract enemies while a Sticky EMP puts out an electromagnetic pulse to disable electronic devices such as lights or security systems and a Sticky Camera acts as a remote camera but can also be detonated. Finally the Goggles allow Sam to use Night Vision and Sonar Vision.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist will include a single player campaign, a co-op mode so you can join together with a friend to play through special co-op missions and a multiplayer mode - the return of Spies Vs Mercs. This multiplayer mode sees either a team of agile, stealthy Spies looking to infiltrate a location and hack terminals to gather information, all while remaining undetected. On the other end, you have a team of heavily armed and powerful Mercs that must defend their terminals and stop the Spies from gathering the data by any means necessary. Naturally each team has pros and cons, as well as different abilities and tools at their disposal. This game mode can take place with 2v2 or 4v4 matches.
Sam has a range of optics available.
When it comes to audio visual presentation few companies match the quality of Ubisoft and Splinter Cell: Blacklist looks like pushing current-generation hardware to its limits. Gone are the boring tones of the previous game and in its place a much more realistic looking colour palette. We're only hoping that with no next-gen port in site the good old PS3 can keep a solid frame rate.
Fans of the franchise may be somewhat dismayed to learn that Michael Ironside will not be returning to voice Sam Fisher which he has done since the first game in 2002. Taking over the reins, and now providing motion capture as well, is Canadian actor Eric Johnson who most would know as Whitney Fordman in Smallville or Luke Callaghan in Rookie Blue.
With a worldwide release set for late August we don't have too long to get our hands on the latest Splinter Cell. From everything we've seen to date this looks like everything we've come to expect from this fantastic franchise.
Below is the co-op trailer for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It certainly gives a pretty good idea of the game in motion.