2015 was a good year for video games. The current gen consoles really put their foot down and there were a number of great games. From Goliaths like The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 to Davids like Her Story and Rocket League, every game delivered a grand and memorable experience. The sheer number of good games there were in 2015 is in itself stunning.
But there a few games out there which have survived the tides of time and somehow still manage to stand their ground amidst the elite current gen games. These games hold a special place in our hearts and we want to tell you why.
Welcome to Forgotten Treasures. Our new series where we revisit our favorite last gen games.
This series is kicked off by a game that had a load of expectations it needed to reach and a reputation it needed to protect. And it did so with flair.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist, developed by Ubisoft Toronto and published by Ubisoft, came out in August 2013. The game is a sequel to Splinter Cell: Conviction and is the sixth installment in the franchise. It came out on the PC, PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 on August 20th, 2013.
You take up the role of the iconic Sam Fisher, a high ranking and a highly efficient government spy working from the shadows. Sam is tasked with the job of stopping the Blacklist, a series of terrorist attacks aimed at the United States in order to cripple and take down the country. The game follows Sam and his team as he tries to prevent one Blacklist attack after another. It is a rather simple plot design which is executed brilliantly.
All missions are started from Sam’s HQ, The Paladin, which is basically a plane in the sky acting as the player’s safehouse. Here you can customize your load out, upgrade The Paladin for special benefits and plan out your next mission. But it is the personality of The Paladin that really shines. This game is about one man and his team fighting against one of the world’s biggest terrorist organizations; and The Paladin does everything it can to make sure you feel that weight. The Paladin is claustrophobic, has huge screens that keep reminding you when and where the next Blacklist attack is going to take place and is filled with a minimal crew who is always looking up to you to get the job done. These members also give you side missions which are loosely connected to ongoing events in the game. Sam can also call his daughter between missions and talk to her and these small conversations are voice acted so well, you can feel the stress of a father who might possibly be speaking to his daughter for the last time. Everything in this HQ does everything it can to remind you about the scale and the importance of the mission at hand.
To complement the game’s wonderful atmosphere, there’s a strong cast with some really top class voice acting. Fan favorite Anna Grímsdóttir (Grim) makes a welcome return and new characters Isaac Briggs and Charlie Cole join the crew. Although not particularly well defined, the characters stand their ground and further strengthen Sam’s character.
After the player has talked to his team onboard and prepared themselves for the next mission, they can choose to begin the mission and select a custom gear load out giving the player to choose, upgrade and buy equipment. And the gameplay is where the game shines the most. The guns work in a decent way and the game uses a point to point cover based system which works well for the most part. Each mission is set in a different location and at different times. From a stealth infiltration op under the bright sun to a kidnapping mission under the darkness of a moonless sky, the game offers a variety of settings. And you can choose to execute these missions in any way you see fit. You can either go in guns blazing or sneak in like a snake or why not both? The gameplay really makes up the back bone of this game and the levels have been carefully designed to accommodate all styles of gameplay.
There are tactically placed covers for those who prefer gun fights and vents and hidden passages for those who prefer the shadows. And like the previous games, there is always a lethal and a non lethal way to take out enemies. This immense gameplay freedom offered to the player results in a high replay value and although the outcomes of the missions and the story are always the same, different playstyles provide different experiences and makes playing the game a second time worth your while.
The game also features both online and couch co op in the side missions. The co-op missions are designed specifically to enforce team work between the players. On the multiplayer front, the game once again features the unique ‘Spies vs Mercs’ mode. But to talk about the multiplayer aspect of a 2 year old game would be in vain as the servers are hardly populated.
From a technical point of view, there is nothing much to say really. The game looks beautiful. All the levels and the environments are very detailed and the lighting effects are at their best. The game did have some issues at launch but have since been fixed.
However, Blacklist is not a perfect game. The gameplay is as satisfying as it can get but the story leaves something to be desired. The antagonist and his motives are never really focused on and the story isn’t as well rounded as it should have been. It gets harder to follow the plot as the game moves on. The story isn’t bad per se but could have had a lot more flesh in it.
In conclusion, Splinter Cell Blacklist is a fun and engaging game, filled with atmosphere, exquisite settings, great gameplay and an amazing cast. It almost does everything right in fitting the player into the shoes of one of the world’s best secret agents. And it is definitely a game that deserves your time and money if you haven’t played already it.
What are your favorite last gen games and why? Let us know in the comments below! And subscribe to our website to read about more Forgotten Treasures!