A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Although elements of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.
This game glamorizes military action including stealth, gunplay, and melee combat. It touches on real-world terrorism concerns and is set in real-world locations, such as Benghazi, and at times feels alarmingly real.
Positive Role Models
Sam Fisher may be a good guy, a loyal and courageous soldier, and a loving dad, but his job requires him to do some really nasty things. Most parents probably don't want their kids taking many cues from a fellow trained and experienced in the disciplines of killing and coercive information extraction.
Ease of Play
It's not easy, but in-game instructions and cues provide all the tools necessary to win. Players will need to practice if they want to master all the mechanics. Success online will depend largely on the experience and abilities of your allies and adversaries.
Violence & Scariness
This game is filled with graphic violence and gore. As superspy Sam Fisher, players use guns, knives, explosives, and other implements to kill human enemies, who grunt and moan and bleed red. Closeup, cinematic combat sequences glamorize melee action in particular. Players see Sam choking and stabbing enemies. He also sometimes slits throats and violently snaps victims' necks.
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Occasional use of very strong language, including the words "f--k" and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
This game is part of Ubisoft's long-running and very popular Tom Clancy-branded game series, which was inspired by a series of hit novels.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One mission is set on an opium farm. Characters reference the drug but don't use it.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist is an adult-oriented stealth action game with lots of violence. Its story focuses on lifelike terrorist attacks, and the fighting is often brutal. Superspy Sam Fisher uses both weapons and hand-to-hand combat techniques, and players will see blood flow as he shoots and stabs his enemies. The game frequently employs stylized animations and cinematic sequences that serve to glamorize the violence. Parents should also be aware that dialogue includes some strong four-letter words, and characters reference -- though don't use -- narcotics.
Is It Any Good?
Blacklist manages the unusual feat of taking a well-established franchise in new directions while simultaneously appealing to fans of the series' stealth-based roots. The ability to choose between multiple missions, visit with team mates aboard a plane that acts as a central hub, and deeply customize Sam's appearance and loadouts represent steps forward for Splinter Cell. Also, combat action has never been smoother, more cinematic, or more accessible. This is a game that's nearly as much fun to watch as it is to play.
At the same time, there are plenty of missions and sequences that hearken back to the Splinter Cell of old. These have Sam stalking quietly through the shadows using classic gadgets -- sticky cameras, sleep gas, noisemakers, and the like -- to stealthily knock out or eliminate entire compounds full of enemies. It isn't quite as polished as one might hope -- you'll likely notice a few minor quirks and bugs along the way -- but it's hard to imagine many fans of stealth and action gaming coming away disappointed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.