Splinter Cell delivers in the series’ latest edition.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist follows the familiar protagonist Sam Fisher and his new team of Charlie Cole, Isaac Briggs and Anna ‘Grim’ Gr?msd?ttir who make up the “Fourth-Echelon” counter-terrorism group.

“The Blacklist” is actually a list of terroristic attacks that will be committed by a group who call themselves “The Engineers”. Not exactly the most menacing name, but they take out an entire air force base in the tutorial. From there, Fisher and his gang travel the world from Benghazi and Dallas to stop these attacks from being carried out. U.S. President Hilary Clinton Patricia Caldwell greets you frequently throughout the game in great distress to remind you exactly how much she can’t help you.

To thank you for your service to the United States, Ubisoft brings the gameplay back to the basics of what the series was founded on: covert play. However, for those who enjoy the spray-and-play action games like Call of Duty provides, Blacklist gives you that satisfaction as well. Parts of the game force the gamer to tip-toe around ninja-style, while others have to charge at the enemy, automatic rifle on full-blast.

Although the forced parts of the game are annoying, the majority of the game lets the player decide on what style killer they want to be: stealth, stalker or assault. Any way the player wants to play works well for the setup. Several side missions courtesy your team and one prisoner on-board your airship also strictly test the player in team play, stalking enemy soldiers, and a shoot-til-you-survive arcade mode. The health of the character and the earned upgrades to gear give a realistic understanding of the danger in being a covert agent. A couple of bullet wounds will have you starting over.

The difficulty of the game is a bit of a challenge at times. But games like Splinter Cell: Blacklist should harken back to the level-style games like Super Mario and Donkey Kong where the simplicity made it hard, but not unbeatable. When you beat a level on this game, you feel accomplishment.

The most believable part of the game lies in the audio and visual aspects. The subtle sounds and music track designed for the game add suspense when needed and realistic silence (wind, birds, gear-clanking together) at the right moments. Unlike other similar games like Assassin’s Creed, the game feels more real rather than a computer simulation.

This game made several strides since the last game in the series when many people said the game was too much focused on the action. It’s now an appropriate balance between stealth and assault that gives every player something to like. The environment designed for the players gives them a realistic world that they must save.

It might be better had the game not force players to be super-sneaky or spray-and-play when it does. In addition, the graphics, while great, are a bit basic when you’re up close to anything.

Overall, this is a good buy for moderate to experienced gamers who are up for an addicting and exciting challenge. It’s sure to keep you on your toes.

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