Splinter Cell: Blacklist review

SCBlacklist_Review

The look and feel of Blacklist on PC is great; the lighting is excellent, the controls work remarkably well (unlike Assassins Creed), you can, if you so wish, use a controller to play the game on PC and Ubisoft have put quite a bit of work into the PC port. My niggles with the game aren’t really that numerous, surprisingly, because Ubisoft is usually a pain for PC games; they include intrusive DRM, use uPlay as a client instead of Steam, don’t optimise games and usually leave many bugs completely unfixed. This is still somewhat true of Blacklist; you have to go through a “system detection” to verify the DRM, it makes you worry of what will happen with a clean Windows install, if it’ll even work. Then there is the uPlay client; a hideous, pointless monstrosity of a distribution platform, it feels underdeveloped and just doesn’t need to exist, at least with Origin you can tell EA (which are improving in spades since they got rid of their last CEO) are making an effort, but not with uPlay. You see the game on Steam, and instantly turning into Nigel Thornberry, start saying “smashing” repeatedly, until you realise that when you buy it, download it and launch it, it installs and loads uPlay. Granted, the game is £10 – £15 cheaper than its console counterpart, I picked my copy up for £29.99 but I saw it for £24.99 elsewhere, but that was only redeemable on uPlay, I get tedious and prefer Steam, so one can’t really complain of the uPlay installation when you’ve got £10 in the handy pack.

My main gripes with Blacklist’s PC port is that the audio in cutscenes is very hit and miss; it either works or it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, it’s downright annoying. You need to see and hear what happens during cutscenes, it’s important to the story, so when a bug like this exists, it detracts from the gameplay somewhat. I was surprised at how well Blacklist runs; Assassins Creed 3 on PC is a horrible port, garnering 30fps throughout Boston and not much more on the outskirts, it really doesn’t take advantage of the hardware thrown at it. Thankfully, in Blacklist, I get a solid 60fps+ on max settings, which really helps with gameplay, everything is smoother and your accuracy increases, though that is thanks to a decent gaming mouse and keyboard too. I think, even though there are the occasional bugs, the PC version is the definitive version, the best way to experience this masterpiece of a game.

The story is fantastic, going all round the world, completing a variety of missions in a way that you want (either stealthily or Call of Duty style, you’re rewarded accordingly for both), admiring the views and taking out countless enemies or even avoiding them, if you so wish, using a vast array of weapons you can upgrade and customise as you like. You can upgrade Paladin, which I assume is a C17 Globemaster with an altered facade, to upgrade your command center, your weapons are, custody area and various other sections to increase your skill, mission and weapon capabilities. It leaves nothing out with customisation, even including a companion app for your mobile device which allows you to unlock certain items for Mr Fisher. My favourite part of the story must be Sadiq, the main antagonist, who is played (I believe) by the same actor who plays Morris in 24, he has a perfect accent for the enemy.

I didn’t delve into the multiplayer too much, I played a bit of Spies vs Mercs (which has returned from past games and was much hyped by Ubisoft prior to and during release), as I found the matchmaking to be quite slow, either due to it being a relatively new game or just there weren’t that many people playing nearby with a good enough ping. I will say this though, the match I played was a lot of fun, I seemed to do quite well too at 16 kills to 2 deaths, many of those kills were stealth too, a joy of the flexibility of this game. It’s certainly a different multiplayer experience than what’s usually expected of a game of that type; usually the multiplayer is boring and feels thrown together, like that of Assassin’s Creed, but Blacklist’s really excels and is something I’d definitely play more if I didn’t have newer games to indulge in.

Amber

I play games. A lot of them. You can catch me streaming my favourite games on Twitch: twitch.tv/amberplaygames. Can't wait to meet you!