A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
American superspy Sam Fisher takes on a major terrorist threat in TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST, a highly realistic stealth action game designed with adult audiences in mind. A group calling itself the Engineers carries out an attack on an American military installation, then claims it will undertake additional attacks on a regular schedule until the United States calls home all troops stationed in more than 150 countries across the globe. Working with a small team, Sam flies around the world in a stealthy airborne headquarters as he follows leads, carries out missions, and slowly works his way closer to the source of the menace. The game's open, integrated structure means players can choose from a variety of campaign missions, side jobs, and cooperative and competitive multiplayer games on a single map, earning cash to upgrade Sam's arsenal of gadgets and weapons along the way.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you think there's a way to believably portray the business of a soldier that doesn't include the glamorization of violence?
Families also can discuss how acts of terrorism make them feel. How do you respond to and cope with news stories about terrorist attacks?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, geography, global awareness
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: August 20, 2013
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.