Below is the first gameplay video for Splinter Cell: Blacklist (releases Spring 2013 ) released directly by Ubisoft.
*Before we begin I feel like I need to clear something up. As a true fan of the series and completing every previous version of the game, I have developed a certain respect for the storyline of each game. I have thoroughly enjoyed every game, including the PSP version and most definitely, Conviction. A seasoned player can find enough stealth action in Conviction to be completely satisfied. I needed to make this clear due to a lot of people claiming that the series was completely ruined by the mark and execute features and seemingly more fast paced gameplay.
First Take:At the start, we see Sam Fisher carrying the dead body of a "fallen friend" in broad daylightto a tent filled with unsuspecting foreign soldiers. Shortly after, the mark and executefeature was sure to show in it's reuse stemming from Blacklist's precursor, Conviction. This segment is a sure shocker for most; however, for me, this was an excellent display of how they're flexing Sam's ability as not only a spy, but also a sole special operative. The world's finestspecial operatives agent would very well employ tactics which would put himself eye to eye with the enemy, such as the disguise he temporarily wears before pulling off an elite clearing of the room. What I like most about this segment is the fact that he doesn't try to carry on the disguise for too long because that would just seem too unrealistic. The split decision is made immediately after the attention is turned to him, which to me, shows his experience in the field.
Next, we see Sam's actual outfit, which after hearing talk at E3, is completely customizable due to a new monetary system. This suit is very much throwback, seemingly similar to the first 3 games in the series, which is favorable. After a short walk, another throwback quality appears when Sam cuts into the back side of the tent with his knife, which also has made a huge return. The knife has been widely missed by most fans of the series since Double Agent, so seeing this early is an awesome sign of quality and Ubisoft really listening to what fans have been saying. Before cutting, we also see the return of the sonar goggles, which were an awesome addition in Conviction. After entering the tent, Sam snaps against the tent wall, reaches through the doorway to grab an enemy soldier, and pulls him into the darkness, creatively putting him out. To me, this shows a lot of promise to the stealth action side of the game. Also, a huge point the creator emphasized during the E3 demo was the option to play through the game based on your preference to style: stealth or straight action.
After the tent sequence and marking a few further enemies, Sam flexes an exciting new addition to the world of mark and execute. By holding the A button on Xbox 360, you can now mark and execute while on the run, automatically vaulting over anything in your path, increasing the smoothness of gameplay. I think this feature will add a lot of value to the game, while also increasing the options for the player. This sequence also shows great cinematic styled play and very realistic deaths. These guys really appeared to be shot, which is great and adds a ton of realism.
Later, Sam crosses a wall and you're back behind another enemy who is only one crates-length away. The player is able to grab him from across the crate in a realistic fashion, and then again, put him down in a realistic manner. After some careful maneuvering, Sam climbs a wall and very classically, hangs waiting for a rooftop enemy, only this time, another thowback feature is showcased: whistles/distractions. Any Splinter Cell fan who's played any game other than Conviction has probably well-missed the stealth feature, but no longer. After throwing the enemy off of the roof into the medium sized puddle below, guards obviously hear the fall and run to his aid. While investigating, Sam is able to fire a sticky shocker into the puddle to incapacitate the enimies via electric shock. Another awesome feature, which again, adds realism.
The next sequence includes a drop kill, a few executions via an unsilenced rifle and an awesome display of how physically accurate Sam is when bashing and stumbling through doors. Hiding behind weak cover is no match for the huge stationary machinegun that he faces, but thanks to his new Fourth Echelon crew he is now able to call an airstrike to remove the pest. I know this is VERY unconventional, but theoretically, Sam would have never had to use the airstrike if he would've approached the situation differently. There are other very tactical options. Either way, while the huge gun fires towards Sam's position shortly before exploding, the enviroment is shredding to pieces, very realistically due to the large caliber bullet being fired. Also, when the vehicle actually explodes, tires and vehicle scrap fly toward the screen very cinematically, yet without a break in the game. The in game cinematics are on point.
Next, in the above video, Sam tags 3 of the 4 soldiers behind the door before placing an explosive, waiting for it to explode and rushing in, executing the remaining 2 leaving the last behind for the final cutscene. However, in the E3 version, the explosive is placed, and Sam takes a different route onto the roof, rappels down the side of the building, and then after the explosion, he rope swings into the building, executing the remaining soldiers that way. This again, just exercises some of the options that will be available throughout the game. Also, a few final words from the creator include the return of the extremely epic interrogation scenes, and also, the long missed, Spy vs. Mercenariesmultiplayer mode from Chaos Theory. All in all, this game looks extremley promising, and although some players may take the broad look at the "lack of stealth play", this game has plenty of depth, and I will definitely be tracking it until next Spring. Updates as they come!