Written by Christiaan Joubert
What made this South African launch event special was that it marked the release of a sequel to the single gaming franchise that got me to trade in my old launch model PlayStation 2 for the slimmer version, just because it had an ethernet port to allow me to play online. Even then it was also the first franchise that forced me to buy a headset so I could chat with online team-mates, which meant driving over 70 kilometres to the ‘nearest’ shop so I could get my hands on it!
Yes, I’m talking about Splinter Cell, but to be more specific, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. Both of those games had a breath-taking singleplayer experience that pushed my console to within an inch of its life, and a multiplayer mode that had me up all night and gaming to an inch of mine. Like with any romance, though, after the wonderful initial bliss Splinter Cell and I seemed to have reached a slump in the current generation of consoles. It just wasn’t the same as it used to be and the spark that had me so addicted was now swiftly fading…
… when all a sudden something changed and I caught wind of something most promising! One night that could be make or break for me as a Splinter Cell fan – the South African Splinter Cell: Blacklist launch event!
When we arrived at the event we were each handed a special coupon booklet which entitled us to a few free drinks on the house – make no mistake, we were spoiled for choice and the staff treated us like old friends. After a few brief moments of socializing, we were invited to finally come and enjoy live gameplay from Blacklist in the auditorium.
We were shown an array of mechanics to help us get to grips with the new feel and since the game was making a leap from stealth to action adventure, it was only natural that a few things would have to change. One element that Splinter Cell: Conviction fans may be happy to see make a return is the ‘mark and execute’ manoeuvre, which for those who don’t know lets you select a couple of targets and then watch Sam effortlessly execute them. This is as long as they are in range, of course.
The gameplay demonstration had the whole audience at the edge of their seats, and what really whipped everybody into a frenzy was when we were told to choose if the final target would live or die. So like a bunch of brutal coliseum goers chanting for their favourite gladiator, we were treated to our desired outcome and rightfully labelled as the blood thirsty bunch that we are.
After this attendees were spoiled some more with random prize giveaways, before we were told about Blacklist multiplayer. Yes, the original Spy VS Mercenary action is back and this time with massive four-on-four teams, and even a deathmatch gameplay mode at long last! This means that you can mix up a team of spies and mercenaries for a fight until the last man is standing.
To anybody who played the original PlayStation 2 titles, this is a big deal! Back in those PS2 days, there were people who would create a game and then simply make up rules in the lobby via headset chatter to try and organize a basic deathmatch. I know this is something that will be bound to attract new fans and old.
The South African Splinter Cell: Blacklist launch event was an amazing evening spent with friends and what will probably become a future favourite game of mine. Everybody had a great time at the event, too – thanks to Megarom and Xbox South Africa for hosting the evening.
Be sure to read El33tonline’s full Splinter Cell: Blacklist review for much more information on the game and to find out if Sam Fisher’s latest adventures are a worthy entry to the series.