Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist Game Poster Image

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist



Brutal, lifelike stealth game is for mature audiences only.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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.


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.

Not applicable

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


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.

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'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.

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
Subjects:Social Studies: cultural understanding, geography, global awareness
Skills:Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Available online?Not available online
Release date:August 20, 2013
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language

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

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What parents and kids say

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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 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

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
Teen, 17 years old Written byJackSmith880 April 10, 2014


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 smoke grenades and tranquilizer guns against enemies.I think if parents are considering letting their son/daughter play this game it is a good choice because it uses stealth and tactics(dont forget the amazing graphics).If your child if fairly responsible they will be fine with this. Thanks : )
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use