What Makes Blacklist Different From Previous Games In The Series? - Splinter Cell: Blacklist - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Splinter Cell: Blacklist

What Makes Blacklist Different From Previous Games In The Series?

Ubisoft's latest Tom Clancy project looked mighty fine at E3 this year. We investigate the new game to figure out what sets Blacklist apart from its predecessors.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist represents a new direction for the Splinter Cell franchise, both in terms of story tone and gameplay style. While many of the foundational elements of stealth gameplay remain important to the series, Ubisoft Toronto is exploring a number of features and story elements that will make Blacklist stand apart from previous entries in the series.

The Blacklist

The title of the game offers the first hint of what escalates Splinter Cell's plot into new levels of global significance. The game's developers were inspired by looking at the issue that the United States has troops of some sort in two-thirds of the nations in the world. What does that mean to those other nations, especially to those that wish that US would stay out of their affairs?

The Blacklist represents a new pact by a number of rogue nations who have banded together to demand that US soldiers leave their countries. To make it happen, these renegade states have devised a plan to attack America where it hurts the most - targeting major sites in the US for terrorist attack, each one representative of a particular American value. The list of their targets is the Blacklist.

Fourth Echelon

In response to this unprecedented threat, the President reaches out to Sam Fisher. Sam's had enough of the spy game after the events of Conviction, but the President manages to convince him to return to the fight. His condition on returning is that he needs to be able to do things his way, and lead the organization that will deal with the Blacklist threat.

Third Echelon is dead. A new mobile task force is formed with Sam at its head; Fourth Echelon is based out of a high-tech plane, from which Sam can deploy himself and his forces around the world. The SMI (Strategic Mission Interface) is onboard; it's a super cloud computer connected to all the major US intelligence organizations.

From the SMI, Sam has missions and new content popping up all over the world, and this interface will serve as the hub for everything you do in the game. Single player, cooperative, and competitive missions are all available from this station, and each mission will move the story forward and contribute reward money that Sam can use to improve Fourth Echelon's capabilities.


Blacklist has a new approach to upgrades. No matter what mode you play, and whether you're playing alone or with friends, you're acquiring money that can be used to improve your versatility in the field. Money can be spent to get new weapons, new equipment, upgrade existing tools, improve Sam's field suit, and more. The idea is to let players customize their loadout and strengths to their own playstyle, no matter what mode you choose to play.


Sam Fisher has been offered the fifth freedom to do whatever it takes to succeed in his mission, and he's taking advantage of the leeway.  The demo we saw included Sam Fisher taking out a healthy share of bad guys in brutally efficient fashion. A big part of his new lethality comes from the ability to kill on the move. Like in Conviction, Sam can mark targets from cover before heading in for the attack. Unlike in Conviction, Sam can now take out marked targets while on the move. The resulting action sequences are thrilling, as Sam enters a room and pops one target after another as he moves forward, often eventually coming close to a final target who he engages in melee. This new Sam Fisher moves faster, and is deadlier than before.

Motion Capture and Acting

Ubisoft has invested in a deeper storytelling experience for Blacklist, and that means plenty of strong voicework and extensive motion captured animation. As players, it's easy to tell the difference. Cinematic scenes are tense and facial features are detailed and emotive.  In particular, the interactions between the new actors behind Sam and Grim carry a lot of weight.

Fourth Echelon Moments

Not unlike the ability to call in your Brotherhood in Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell: Blacklist introduces a new mechanic that lets players call down aid from Sam's compatriots in Fourth Echelon. In the sequence we witnessed, Sam comes under heavy assault from several terrorists, including a pickup truck with a heavy machine gun mounted in the back. While Sam could choose to confront the situation on the own, in our demo he called down a "Fourth Echelon Moment" that resulted in a airstrike that totally destroyed the truck and the nearby fighters. These moments won't always be bombastic in nature. At other times, Sam will be able to call on Fourth Echelon to aid him in remaining stealthy, like one instance in which he can call for all the lights in a building to be shut down.

Beyond specific features, Splinter Cell: Blacklist simply comes across as a more ambitious game than its predecessors. Offering increased choices to players, the stealth options that dominated early games in the series have returned in full force. Simultaneously, several sequences we saw proved that the more action-focused elements present in Conviction have expanded as well. The game showed great at E3, and gave us hope that the Splinter Cell franchise has many more years ahead of it. 

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  • How is it different? Well it tries to be COD clone.

  • I can tell this is going to be great.

  • i miss michael ironside.  the new voice actor just has a very...generic sound.  its not particularly bad, but he just sounds like a very typical male voice actor.  ironside had a very gritty, almost clint eastwood-like way of speaking.  go back and play the old ones if you get a chance, he's got some great lines lol

    "i see you forgot to shave today, let me help you out with that..."

  • I'm a little worried that Ubi Soft is "re-inventing" Splinter Cell YET AGAIN. But I don't think many people liked Conviction, so I suppose this is alright. It IS awesome to see Sam Fisher return to spy stuff; this game already seems like a massive improvement in tone alone over the last one. Ubi Soft is hit-or-miss, mostly miss, when it comes to rebooting their Tom Clancy series. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a mess that's noticeably worse, even visually, than Advanced Warfighter 1 (and that was a 360 launch game too! Yet it had much better lighting, better environments and a less desaturated, muddy color palette). Rainbow Six Patriots seems troubled too - it wasn't even at E3 this year. And now they're rebooting Splinter Cell? At least, out of all those, this Splinter Cell reboot actually looks like it's on the right track. Let's just hope it doesn't go dark for a year and come back far less ambitious and completely rebuilt again, like Ubi's other current Tom Clancy brands.
  • Need to get it!

  • This game looks really good, is it only coming to the 360?  It would be a shame if it didn't come to the PS3, but I guess playstation does have quite a few of its own exclusives.

  • So much complaining...

  • people complain way too much. Just look at DMC. That series is totally changed now. This game is going to be awesome. And you choose how you play. so quit complaining.

  • The graphics sure look great.

  • I am excited for this because they are giving choice. As long as it has a combo or Chaos Theory and Conviction then I cant wait

  • If they can somehow find a perfect place between stealth and action shooter then this game will revolutionize the genre. Convition had it close but stealth was kind of in the background for that game.

  • The question is, will it be 360 exclusive?


  • Can't wait for some awesome Spies vs. Mercs moments.

  • Really? What makes it different? EVERYTHING.

  • poop

  • This game would have been so much better with a new protagonist and have Sam Fisher be in the communications noise.  Fisher's too old for the spy game!  This generation needs a newer breed of spy!!!

  • EPIC!!!

  • EVERYBODY YOU WANTS IRONSIDE TO VOICE SAM FISHER!!! SIGN THIS PETITION! www.change.org/.../ubisoft-allow-michael-ironside-to-play-sam-fisher-in-splinter-cell-blacklist

    It basically is saying that you wont get the game unless they change the voice, so sign up!

  • ...and THATS why Splinter Cell is one of the GREATEST franchises of ALL TIME!!!