The lead voice actor has been changed and the concept of stealth is now mixed liberally with all-out action. In fact, much of what you know of the Splinter Cell franchise is no longer relevant, but for some reason, this combination of factors makes this outing one of the most gripping games from the series.
For the stealth loyalists, Blacklist goes back to the basics of the original game, where Sam Fisher is typically unarmed and outgunned, and needs to hide and surprise his enemy to survive.
But for newbies who might be daunted by the sharp learning curve of the game, Ubisoft has rolled out three methods of play.
You can sneak your way through and achieve Ghost mode, or do a combination stealth and attack to get the Panther rating. The trigger-happy ones can opt for a full frontal attack for that Assault mode.
Or you can do a mix of all three. At the end of each level, your points determine the monetary rewards given to your new Echelon Four team, which can be used to upgrade your weapons and equipment.
And yes, attempting stealth mode grants players more points and more money, allowing you to upgrade your arsenal at a faster pace, while turning Rambo gets you a fraction of the reward.
Completing a kill in stealth mode also triggers the mark-and-execute skill, where players can tag multiple victims and take them out with rapid shots. This is especially effective in crowded rooms where the element of surprise is a must.
The story here is rather simple. A group known as The Engineers has attacked an American military base and it is up to Sam and his newly formed team of soldiers to counter them.
There are some story twists along the way and in terms of gameplay, Sam can perform some rather extraordinary feats, such as sniping soldiers located via satellite, to mask the team's incursion into enemy territory.