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E3 2012: Splinter Cell: Blacklist interview
by Andrew Whipple III

Being a guy who's been in and out of the Splinter Cell series, I found Splinter Cell: Blacklist to be one of the biggest surprises of E3.

Not only does it appear to be bringing back the original style of the first few games, but it's making use of all the major mechanics that have made each title great. Ubisoft Toronto is literally fusing all of these elements into a sort of, ultimate Splinter Cell monstrosity and you need to see it to believe it.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist interview

For a first title, Ubisoft Toronto sure has its hands full. Splinter Cell isn't exactly a under the radar franchise and fans will be expecting nothing but the best coming from Blacklist. I don't think there'll be anything to worry about though, because Blacklist was easily the biggest surprise for me at E3. Not only did its visuals look masterfully done, but the gameplay left me in a state of perpetual shock.

To give the game a premise, two-thirds of the world's countries are occupied by American troops. As you might think, some of these countries have simply had enough. Threatening the USA by bringing the war to their doorstep, these rogue countries have banded together to form the blacklist. Unless the military pulls out in a certain amount of time, the USA could experience high-grade forms of terrorist attacks and it's up to Sam Fisher to stop it.

Guys, there's some trouble somewhere in the world.

Now part of the 4th Echelon, Fisher is the boss and it's represented in the gameplay. With the ability to call in support via artillery strikes, Fisher isn't taking no for an answer from anyone. Grizzled and angry as he may be, Ubisoft Toronto clearly wanted to represent everything Fisher has gone through up until this point. Never hesitating for even a moment, the up close and personal moments where Fisher breaks limbs, smashes heads and gut-punches feel like they hurt. This is how Fisher was built up and it feels incredibly accurate, just... how old does this guy need to be before he slows down?

One of the new features Blacklist touts is an improvement on the mark and execute system from Conviction. Instead of building up a meter of sorts, marking and then letting the bullets fly, Fisher can do all of this while on the move. They're calling it 'killing in motion' and it's absolutely breathtaking to behold. In one fluid movement, Fisher can shoot a target, snap another's neck, jump over a cart, shoot two more dudes at the same time and then finish the last guy off with a stab to the chest; all in ONE MOTION. Capitalization is required for being too awesome.

Where'd everybody go?

I mentioned earlier that Ubisoft Toronto is taking the best elements from all the games. Expect to get your hands dirty with intimate interrogations ala Conviction, make use of nifty gadgets from the first games that'll make you smile, spies versus mercs from Pandora Tomorrow, co-op and a stealth element that isn't being talked about. According to Ubisoft Toronto, they're bringing stealth back in a big way and I'm excited to see just what they mean.

Of course, there's a ton more hardcore fans of the series will automatically notice when playing and that's something else to anticipate. It's great to see Splinter Cell being 'revived' by taking everything that's made the franchise so renowned, augmenting it and packaging it all nice and neat in one retail box. Expect Blacklist to make its way into your system in the Spring of 2013.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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