Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell, give me your answer do / I’m half crazy / For half of what you do / It shouldn’t be a stylish barrage / But I’m intrigued by your gameplay styles’ marriage / So you might look sweet / Upon the seat / Of a game machine built for games.
So basically, Blacklist’s three styles are Ghost, Panther, and Assault. Ghost should be self-explanatory, but Ubisoft’s now defining it as all forms of non-lethality – meaning that taking down everyone and everything is fine so long as no one dies in the process. Personally, I aim to approach levels like a gentle waft of wind through a worrisomely wobbly China shop – making it seem as though I was never there in spite of the heart-pounding odds stacked against me – so I hope levels/scoring systems also facilitate that. Now, though, I have my doubts. Oh well. At least a lot of the tech toys – for instance, the flying drone and knockout gas – look handy, although purists will almost certainly object.
Panther, meanwhile, is basically Ghost, except you carry a license to kill in one hand and a gore-rusted knife in the other. Thanks to mark-and-execute, it looks mesmerizingly stylish, but less like a challenge and more like a “How To Be Sam Fisher The Right Way” instructional video. Except without Michael Ironside. And then Jesus wept.
Lastly, there’s Assault. Take human shields, shoot dudes, throw away your silencer and duct-tape a megaphone onto the end of your pistol and call it a megaphone bayonet. Because Sam’s old and paradoxically wild and he doesn’t give a fuck anymore.
So there are your options. I guess they add up to form kind of a halfway point between old-school Splinter Cell and Conviction’s comparatively madcap antics? I don’t know. I’m more hopeful about this one than I was before, but honestly, that means a lot less than I’d like it to in this case. Don’t get me wrong: it looks like it’ll be a strong game. But Splinter Cell’s not just any old series, and I’m not sure how good Blacklist will be at being, well, that.