Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Why The Hate?
As expected, Splinter Cell: Blacklist has caused some concern amongst series fans. Calm down, we say.
By now you’re probably in one of two camps: those that like the look of the new Splinter Cell, and those that don’t (there is no middle ground: this is videogames, people).
We can see why fans of the series wouldn’t necessarily like the new direction. All that free-running, climbing, killing with impunity: it’s just Assassin’s Creed, innit?
In one sense, yes. There’s no denying the influence of Ubisoft’s other monster franchise, not just on Splinter Cell but also on Watch Dogs, the company’s new IP. What we’re saying is that we’re not sure that it’s a problem.
After all, those mechanics are popular for a reason: they work. They heighten the feeling of being a badass killing machine. And, when you get down to it Sam and Ezio aren’t too far removed: they infiltrate and kill for a cause they believe in. There were moments in the E3 demo where it looked like you didn’t have to kill everything that moves. It’s not like a new Tetris game suddenly having free-running blocks.
Some will weep for the Splinter Cell’s past, or at least their gameplay styles. To which we say: go back and play Chaos Theory. It still exists, and it is still by far the best example of classic SC gameplay. Better yet, it’s still good, and is available on PSN.
The thing is, franchises have to change (note we’ve not said evolve) and if they don’t they die. Singling out Blacklist as the moment the series changed would be disingenuous: Double Agent wasn’t brilliant, felt tired in its approach. And then Conviction ushered in many of the changes seen here, just not to the same degree.
What we’re saying is that while Blacklist might not be ‘your’ Splinter Cell, it is where the franchise is going. It hasn’t deleted previous entries and – this is a big point – it might actually bear more relation to classic Splinter Cell than you think.
Having said that: if Spies vs Mercs doesn’t return, then we can all get mad.