Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Common Sense Media says

Brutal, lifelike stealth game is for mature audiences only.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Occasional use of very strong language, including the words "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism

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.

Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns. This game can be played online with strangers with open voice communication. This opens the door to the exchange of personal information and risks exposing players to inappropriate language and topics of discussion.

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • geography
  • global awareness

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

What Kids Can Learn

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • geography
  • global awareness

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

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 Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
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 (Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byFatherofThreeSons September 13, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Disappointing language

First you should know that I am a HUGE Splinter Cell fan. I absolutely loved 1-3 and enjoyed 4. Second, you should know that I find profanity offensive. Some argue its contradictory to find language offensive and not be offended by the snapping of an enemies neck. I have my reasons but to put it simply - the violence is fake. Profanity is profanity - there is no difference between hearing it in "real life" and in a game. When I heard Conviction was overflowing with the use of the f-word, I did not buy it. When I heard the language was toned down for this title, I was excited - I thought I'd be able to play Splinter Cell again. I never played conviction - so based on what I've heard, I'm sure Blacklist is a notch down. However, the language is still excessive. I heard the f-word twice in the opening cutscene, 3-4 times in the first full mission, another couple times between missions, and another couple times a short way into the 2nd full mission. That's where I stopped. It's about all I could take. I hope that some that have similar feelings will find this review helpful and save your money. That said - the gameplay (what I got to see) was top-notch. I decided to play a little more. So far the language after the 2nd mission is significantly less. I'll continue to play and update this post after I finish the game.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 9 years old August 21, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

best game ever

awesome game language can be turned down i think its for 9 and up
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written bycrazygamer August 22, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Splinter Cell Blacklist Review

I think this game is a great game with some language that may pop up twice or three times in the game. There is some violence that contains a lot of blood but it isn't like any other Splinter Cell game where you can choose good or bad sides to slit throats but you can interrogate terrorists that try to kill you which can be considered brutal. So there is a slight positive message from Sam Fisher that shows you that he interrogates only in self defense. Children should know that violence in the real world is wrong and they should only protect themselves from getting hurt and that they shouldn't cause any violent acts. This game is pretty good for mature teenagers around 14-15 years and up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide