The latest in the Splinter Cell series, where you play the perennial NSA ninja, Sam Fisher.
This is the first time in the series that the voice is not provided by Michael Ironside, which is s shame, but doesn't detract from the game overall.
Also,Sam Fisher seems to have grown younger by a decade, and also now looks like Doplh Lundgren.
One of the new game mechanics is a broadening of play styles, allowing CoD type players to run and gun, whilst allowing the ninja gamers to sneak through a mission. It's a good idea, and opens up the variety of approaches for redoing missions.
However, let's be clear here, this is less hardcore Splinter Cell source gameplay and more CoD with sneaking, and I suspect this is to cater for the ADHD twitch gamers, who do not have the patience to watch an enemy patrol pattern for five minutes.Single Player
The campaign sets a scenario where a rogue MI6 agent is conducting a major offensive against US assests. Your goal is to foil these attacks before each event counts down.
The campaign missions, in true geo-political style, aspan across the globe, and in true Splinter Cell style, almost every high security facility in the world is run by demon accountants, who demand the greatest savings in lighting, giving plenty of shadows to hide in.
Naturally, if they modelled them on real life facilities, the entire area would be bathed in incandescent lighting, and Sam Fisher would be shot dead before he reached the first climable ledge. However, moving on..
Spoiler alert One thing that was never clarified was Sadiqs motivation for wanting to kill the US presidency and Congress, and to be honest, he could have achieved the same aim much easier than the menu of demands provided over a week. He just was presented as eponymous bad guy, with no strong motivation for his actions Side Missions
This time you have a team under your command. These team members are essentially quest givers, with different play styles.
- Grim is strictly Ghost style. Any alerts and the missions is over.
- Kobin is Panther/Ghost. Kill/subdue all enemies on the map. Reinforcements get called in if you are spotted.
- Charlie is wave based. Kill/subdue all enemies in each wave. Can extract after wave 5 for completion. 20 waves total.
- Briggs is co-op story missions.
These side missions, along with the main missions will net you money, and can be farmed to get more money, as well as to perfect a play style.
Why do you need money ? Well, you can upgrade both your plane, gear and weapons, all of which is highly recommended.
In additon to the side missions, there are daily and weekly challenges and Gone Dark missions which are lightweight investigation missions.Mutiplayer
The game was released in mid 2013, and as a result the gaming herd has mostly moved onto other games.
There is still a lot of fun to be had in completing coop missions, and if you want to explore that side of the game fully, I'd recommend getting some of your mates to buy the game as well.
Most of the players appear to be US based, so there is some lag and time differences to take into account, and that brings me onto the lobby system.
It is very much in the CoD interface style of 'hide everything from the player'. Seach for players, and if no one is around, you are given the opportunity to start a lobby for players.
Other than that, the lobby is very basic, so no setting max ping or region based gaming. Furthermore, there is no way to text chat in the lobby - has to be via microphone.
In game, you can both voice and text chat, but there is no history view, often is obscured by a game alert banner and when you are incapacitated, it is removed all together, which completely bemuses me.
The games' origin from a console is obvious, especially when you are trying to complete an action - many of the action triggers use the same button, so you will have situations where you want to open a window, and he flicks off the light switch.
Just for fun, many of the actions are closely grouped together, so when you are trying to move quickly, you get a Benny Hill scenario where Sam Fisher will leap over a fence, leap back, jump up onto a ledge, jump through the unopened window - shattering the glass.
All you want to do was switch off the bloody light.
In one co-op game, my partner was downed, and I had to race to him to resusitate him, leaping over obstacles and dashing forth with courage and valour, under fire.
Well, that was the intention.
Closely grouped actions, panicked button pressing and lag all conspired against me, so rather than a heroic rescue, it appeared my character had suddenly decided now was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate a bracing set of gymnastics, all whilst my partner rapidly bled to death.
Unimpressed, he disconnected shortly after.
Adding to the action hilarity, is that fact the developers have bound some contextual actions to key combinations - but then failed to document them anywhere.
For instance, you are running up to a door, pressing (Shift + W). Once you arrive at the door, rather than stopping to allow you peek under it, Sam will instead kick it in, despite the action for Door Bash is bound to (F).
Of course, kicking the door in alerts every ♥♥♥♥ing guard in the area, and may well terminate your mission.
The average PC keyboard has 104 keys, and yet Ubisoft have only utilised 2 for action keys. ♥♥♥♥ poor effort.
There is a lot to like about this game, but there are so many bugs in this game, I could fill several reviews with the bugs found in gameplay. Most of these issues stem from Ubisofts general disdain for PC gamers, catering to the console market first, and as this is a business policy, highly likely we are going to see the same style of issues in other PC games.
There are also some questionable design decisions (such as, you can't press Esc to skip through the logo loading screen, but once it has loaded, Esc dumps you out of the game with no confirmation; evidently a very clear decision from Ubisoft to say ♥♥♥♥ You)
In summary, it is a good game, and a lot of fun to play.
Given it's age, it can be picked up cheap from a number of outlets, along with the DLC. so, if you can see past the game bugs, it will provide you with a lot of entertainment (and frustration) and is a blast in Co-op.