Sam Fisher has been gone for a while, but here’s what happened the last time we saw Fourth Echelon’s spymaster in Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
By Brendan Bell
Published Aug 19, 2020
When it comes to stealth video games, many franchises deserve the right to be called the best of them all. Perhaps the most deserving of these franchises is Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.?Debuting in 2002, the game gave stealth addicts their dose?of sneaking through the shadows while holding bad guys at gunpoint as gruff CIA operative Sam Fisher. The series, as well as Fisher, became so popular that Splinter Cell is even getting?its own Netflix series.
Eventually, fans lost their love for the games as the franchise slowly turned away from its stealth-focused gameplay towards a more action-oriented focus with 2010’s Splinter Cell: Conviction. Fans were upset with the direction Ubisoft took with this game. Little did they know that what Ubisoft did with the next game in the franchise would upset them once more.
Related:?Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Sam Fisher, the Third Echelon’s Top Spy, Explained
In 2013, Ubisoft released Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The emphasis on stealth gameplay returned alongside a design philosophy of allowing the player to switch between using stealth to tackle missions and going in as loud as possible. Right off the bat, though, the game left a sour taste in the mouths of fans, as Sam Fisher’s iconic voice actor, Michael Ironside, was not returning. Ironside had voiced?Sam Fisher since 2002, but a recent cancer diagnosis led to him opting not to reprise the role for Blacklist.
Smallville alum Eric Johnson replaced Ironside, but many?longtime?Splinter Cell fans just couldn’t get behind it.?Part of the criticism came from the fact that he replaced Ironside, while others felt that Johnson was a good voice actor who just couldn’t do Fisher justice.
Other areas of the game that received criticism include the graphics and the story’s ending. The game’s story kicks off with Sam Fisher surviving a terrorist attack on an Air Force base in Guam. The culprits of the attack are a group known as “The Engineers,” led by a man named Majid Sadiq. Sadiq promises to execute a series of “Blacklist” attacks against the United States unless U.S. troops are withdrawn from foreign countries. This leads to Sam Fisher getting his own team of operatives and his own base: a cargo plane.
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Fisher’s team includes series staple Anna Grímsdóttir, also known as “Grim,” hacker Charlie Cole and CIA agent Isaac Briggs. Depending on how you feel about him, one can consider Fisher’s former enemy Andriy Kobin an unofficial team member, as he does assist Sam with his mission to take down the Engineers by guiding him towards the buyers of the weapons used in the Guam attack. Players can even visit Kobin in his cell on the plane after missions and have optional conversations with him that give him some character development.
These same conversations also occur with other members of the team. Fisher can even call his daughter after every mission. All of these optional conversations make for some excellent character development. However, these developments don’t amount to much. Splinter Cell: Blacklist?all wraps up in a disappointing ending,?one that doesn’t feel as if the writers thought it through entirely. The ploy is ultimately a plan for Sadiq to steal government information. While Fisher is able to stop him, Sadiq is kept alive but secretly incarcerated, possibly to set up for a future sequel that never came.
While Blacklist had plenty of negativity surrounding it, most people who played it seemed to think it was a good game despite the criticisms against it. Ubisoft, however, announced that the game did not meet sales expectations. As of now, Blacklist?is the last Splinter Cell game in the series. Until another game is released, fans will just have to settle for Sam’s cameos in other Ubisoft games such as Ghost Recon Wildlands and, more recently, Rainbow Six: Siege.?Fans are waiting patiently, hoping that?Sam Fisher returns with his own game soon.?Sam Fisher has largely skipped this console generation,?but with the upcoming release of next-gen consoles, it may finally be time for the?Splinter Cell?revival everyone is hoping for.
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About The Author
(8 Articles Published)
Brendan Bell is an aspiring writer from Baltimore, Maryland who has spent the past 5 years honing his craft by writing for various websites. For his whole life, he has been obsessed with video games as well as professional wrestling, comic books, and pop culture. Currently he writes for Valnet Inc covering television, movies, and video games on CBR.com. Follow him on twitter @blaqman_beyond.
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