Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist Game Poster Image
Brutal, lifelike stealth game is for mature audiences only.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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.

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 & Representations

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
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.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byFatherofThreeSons September 13, 2013

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 ar... Continue reading
Adult Written bycrazygamer August 22, 2013

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 i... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old August 21, 2013

best game ever

awesome game language can be turned down i think its for 9 and up
Teen, 17 years old Written byJackSmith880 April 10, 2014

Awesome!

At first my parents were wondering if it was the right choice,but after a while they really liked it.They even played online with me.It is not too violent;using... Continue reading

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?

Game details

For kids who love action and sports games

Our editors recommend

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