In the latest incarnation of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, operative Sam Fisher has taken cues from Hollywood. Fisher's voice is more palatable to all ages, while his love of lingering in the shadows and his silent takedowns have been softened to make him more of a threat to enter situations with guns blazing.
Blacklist carries over much of the visual flair and excellence from the last game in the series, Conviction. The dialogue snaps with more one-liners, and, if you choose, the baddies fall violently from the explosion of gunfire at your disposal.
The game introduces a few new gadgets, such as an unmanned drone and some gameplay tropes familiar to military shooters, such as attacks at night from military aircraft. These additions take you away from the more daring, up-close-and-personal nature of Fisher's takedowns.
Work through the campaign quickly, because you need to enjoy the superb multiplayer option. The popular Spies vs. Mercs mode returns, and it remains one of the best cooperative modes ever created.
Teams of stealthy spies must complete tasks while gun-toters hunt down and kill anything that moves. Playing modes that reward teamwork always deserve praise, and few perform better than this one.
The solid -- if slightly watered-down -- campaign mode gets overshadowed by the far-superior online mode, but as a whole, the game is a worthy addition to the franchise.
RATING M for Mature
PLOT A Tom Clancy hero vs. terrorists
DETAILS Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $59.99
BOTTOM LINE Patriot games don't get better than this