Posted on March 22, 2013 AT 07:36pm
This year at PAX East 2013 Ubisoft is showing a hands off demo for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Fans prowling the show floor may miss it initially as the game has little in the way of flashy banners or even obvious advertisement, something the staff openly apologized for to incoming viewers. However, it is quite appropriately camouflaged under a net. From either side of Blacklist’s booth fans come in to sit on plastic cubes seats, some of which are clear cubes that glow green. You can also watch from the sidelines as the demo is played and talked over by a member of the development team, but then you miss out on the audio while standing outside the booth.
Unlike previous Tom Clancy games, this latest release is going to be a completely original story and is not based on any of the famed writer’s previous works. Within the Splinter Cell universe Blacklist takes place six months after the events of Conviction. For the first time in the series we see that Sam Fisher has a flying home base. The base acts as a place for Sam to interact with other characters and navigate in and out of co-op mode via an interactive map of the globe. This map allows you to travel the world on various missions, but first up is Benghazi, Libya!
But what’s the first thing you do before you leave your house? You dress for your day of course! Blacklist features a highly customizable load out that covers everything from weapons and goggles to gloves and foot wear. All of this gear can be upgraded and purchased thanks to the in game economy, a rewards based system that lets the player upgrade their gear for both single player and co-op campaigns. Choose the gear according to your play style, dress for frontal assault or stealth, the choice is yours!
The game has a few different difficulties modes such as Rookie, Realistic, and Perfectionist (in this mode player is stripped of all powers and perks). For the particular demo I was watching, our play tester chose to play on Realistic mode and took a very stealth approach throughout the course of the session. Fans watched Sam Fisher execute brutal take downs of unsuspecting guards that flowed seamlessly into taking cover from approaching enemies. The first thing you notice when watching Blacklist is that the game is smooth, not just graphically, but in terms of movement. The game was created using motion capture technology. The actors doing voiceovers are the same character models that are moving in game, creating an air of believability as you watch everyone interacting with the environment. Transitioning from applying a non-lethal submission on an enemy to jumping behind a wall for cover is a completely seamless action, leaving no animation skips of hesitations in between frames.
Some other highlights of the demo:
- Levels are intentionally laid out in a way that leaves the players with several options for how to proceed.
- Dogs can smell you and will warn the enemy if they do. You don’t have to kill them to keep your cover, but you can distract them in other ways.
- Slow motion precision kills are super effective, taking out several enemies with one shot kills in relatively quick succession.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be out on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on August 20th. The game is viewable to PAX East 2013 attendees all weekend at the Ubisoft booth.
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