Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is only a few months away, so Ubisoft had a lot to show off for Sam Fisher’s upcoming adventure.
Spies vs. Mercs
The first mode to play is Spies vs. Mercs. Two modes are in the final game, Classic and Blacklist. I played the former.
Blacklist mode gives you access to leveling and loadouts, and ups the player count from four to eight. Classic mode is the traditional Spies vs. Mercs gameplay with everyone on the same level with the same loudouts.
I partner with producer Sebastian Ebacher to start as a Merc playing in the first-person perspective with our flashlights handy. A new system makes the Mercs literally turn jet-black and blend in with the shadows. It makes them very difficult to find.
I die on multiple occasions, which changes my perspective to the security cameras littering the level. I switch between cameras calling out spy locations whenever I was able to spot them before respawning.
As the Spies, I have more gadgets, but no gun. I have a crossbow device that I can use to stun enemies for four seconds, but I unless I get close to them and knock them out during that brief window, it’s a waste of time
I also had luck with a remote explosive camera placed on the floor that I set off as a Merc was walking by while I was hanging from the ceiling.
The co-op levels are open with multiple objectives and multiple paths to complete them in any order you like. I tagged enemies and mines on the ground so my partner Briggs would know when to avoid them. We work together using the Dual Execute skill to take out powerful enemies. My partner Briggs shot the helmet off of an armored enemy, while I finish him off with a headshot.
At a point about halfway through the game, I start a mission that begins on a rainy dock. I quietly sneak past a red laser coming from the gun of a sniper in the distance from a window in the distance. A dog stands in my way, but I electrocute it before he can bark and reveal my location.
Patrick Redding, the director of the game, was nearby to walk me through the level. He instructs me to pull up my inventory to show me my tools and how to switch from my night-vision goggles to my sonar goggles that can see through walls. I can also press a button so that my melee attacks put enemies to sleep, or kill them.
I make it through the level sneaking up on bad guys, hiding in the shadows, and climbing on walls. After many knocked out guards, and one brief accidental firefight, I make it to my objective, photographing some secret documents.
The next room is a specific event that requires that I remain completely stealthy. I could not knock anyone out, or alert anyone in the slightest. I made it halfway through the room, but there is someone whose gaze I can’t avoid. I throw a device that makes noise over in a corner, and when everyone leaves to inspect it, I sneak into a truck to investigate a bomb. The demo ends there.
While playing, I ask Redding if it’s frustrating to watch people play the game, especially people like myself who are impatient and get caught often. Redding laughed and said that a big part of his job was watching people play his game. In fact, Splinter Cell has a large group of playtesters, especially considering the size of the studio.
Splinter Cell is coming to Xbox 360, PC, Wii U, and PlayStation 3 on August 20 and there are currently no plans to port the game to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Right now, the team is focusing on making the best game it can at the end of this generation’s console lifecycle.
This preview was originally published on June 11, 2013.