Splinter Cell Blacklist gameplay video preview series – The Dogs

Today we’re taking a look at Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Blacklist which following on from the previous game Conviction takes a step forwards, and more importantly a step backwards in terms of introducing some of the slower paced gameplay from earlier games in the series.

Part 2 a look at Ghost gameplay can be viewed here.

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The stealth aspects have been well adapted here in that the gameplay provides players with the three well publicized methods of approach. What’s neat is setting player goals and sticking to it, or adopting a more adaptive approach that reacts to the situation Sam is in at the time. There’s always, an option for escape despite the game being quite tough once the bullets begin to fly.

Looking at the stealth, and there are two methods of approach, The Panther and Ghost. Both are similar in terms of utilizing the light and dark aspects of the environment to move about unseen and scout an area – the difference being that Panther relies on taking out enemies undetected, whilst Ghost means no interactions at all.

When playing either style, it has been relatively easy in the past to stick to the shadows and accomplish ones goals, safe in the knowledge that the dark provides an almost absolute safety zone. While in Conviction this became far less usable due to patrolling guards carrying flashlights, Blacklist throws in some additional challenges for the player. DOGS!

The canine companions are on full show in Blacklist, and whilst there isn’t one of every corner – thank the heavens – when they do appear, they become the greatest threat to any player adopting stealth approaches. Let’s take a look at various Dog scenarios where they play a pivotal role in the enemy defense.

Firstly, the dogs don’t necessarily have to see Sam to arouse suspicion. One whiff of a foreign scent and the barking begins. This is a warning and means Sam needs to move as the dog is now tracking.  The range of the dog isn’t massive, but once Sam is detected it’s challenging to shake off as the dogs will follow- even if the guards give up. The Dogs audio alert informs any nearby guards that something is amiss, who then enter an alerted state and investigate. For those simply camping in the shadows, being dog discovered is bad news and in our experience the beginnings of being caught out – there goes the ghost bonus!

Secondly Dogs pose the problem of getting in the way and causing trouble, to the extent that if there’s no higher ground or opportunity to sneak past, the only option is to take the dog out of the equation. This can be accomplished with a well placed sticky shocker or even gas grenade, but the resulting unconscious pooch will rouse suspicion if discovered by a patrolling guard. Whilst bodies can be dumped in strategically placed containers – of which there are very few and only hold one body, when there’s none around a dark corner has to make do. So, when tackling dogs players somehow have to make sure the body is hidden at the location of being shot, or simply moved somewhere – creating a little more risk.

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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