Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the first game in the series to be produced by relatively young studio Ubisoft Toronto, has so far given the impression that it will change up quite a few aspects of the stealth shooter series; aspects that have come to be close to fans’ hearts, but accompanied by promises that the essence of Splinter Cell remains intact.
When we got the chance to preview Blacklist earlier this year, we found that many of those changes will make the game the biggest in the series so far, with plenty of new detail, technology and gameplay features. Now we know that the game is one step closer to being unleashed upon fans who have heard enough, and simply desire a chance to try the new Splinter Cell experience for themselves.
With the time until release closing in fast, Blacklist has just gone gold – the first game to do so at Ubisoft’s recently-established development studio in Toronto – and is now being manufactured ahead of its release later this month. To mark the occasion, Ubisoft has released a 7-minute trailer showcasing the best of the action and customization available in both the singleplayer and co-operative modes.
The noisy approach to combat was a big focus of the game’s original reveal at last year’s E3 preview, so it’s understandable that the studio would want to appeal to gamers with a range of preferred gameplay styles. But then, there’s no shortage of generic cover-based military shooters out there, and one of the staples of the Splinter Cell series from the very beginning has been its focus on stealth abilities and smart infiltration, rather than simply wading in with guns blazing. Luckily, the new trailer doesn’t skimp on details about Blacklist‘s stealth gameplay.
A member of Sam Fisher’s support team, Charlie Cole (voiced and modeled by David Reale), encourages the player to diversify their approach, but there are hints that the gameplay might still be slanted more towards strategic stealth than a run-and-gun offense. The ‘Ghost’ approach (in which the player strives to never be seen) is described as “the mark of a great operator,” and covert technology available includes a spy-cam that can go into small vents and fire darts to knock out bad guys, along with gas grenades to take out an entire room.
Other designated play styles include ‘Panther’ – a stealth-based but more aggressive and deadly method of approach – and the aptly-named ‘Assault,’ for players who just want to let loose. Players will also be able to mix and match strategies thanks to a wide variety of ever-upgrading gadgets and tech; letting players lean on skills that suit their play-style best.
A number of elements within Splinter Cell: Blacklist could risk upsetting hardcore fans, not the least of which is the recasting of Sam Fisher, but this nonetheless looks like a strong stealth shooter, and in a genre all too sparse these days, is well worth checking out upon release.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be available on PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U from August 20, 2013.