Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist isn't just about a compelling single-player story, as you might have seen from our previous impressions. Nope, it's a total package that also comes with two additional options – co-op missions and Spies vs. Mercenaries, a multiplayer mode making its return here. We recently had a chance to check both out at an Ubisoft event – and they're great.
Let's first get to co-op...
In co-op missions – which are different from the single-player mode and require utmost cooperation to get through them alive – you play as Sam Fisher and his cohort Isaac Briggs as they infiltrate a number of enemy bases, completing objectives without giving away their presence. Your mission isn't over if you're discovered, but it's trickier to survive a gunfight than it is to avoid one – especially if your partner is down for the count.
That's because when you are critically injured, you have to wait for your teammate to come and revive you. And if you've got enemies shooting at you, it's not easy to stay in a single position for a few seconds while attempting a revival. If both of you are critically injured, the mission is failed.
On top of that, when you're working with your partner, you might need to keep them out of danger. Some enemy soldiers don't get knocked out so easily with a melee attack and will swivel you around and use you as a human shield so that your partner can't take a solid shot to kill him. Youcould try to push him off, but he'll likely grab you or, worse yet, kill you.
It's important to work as a team, like having one man take a low path and eliminate guards there, while another works higher up to take care of snipers and other threats that could eliminate the operative on the ground. Sometimes you'll also need to work together to get over high walls or through other areas, so it's advisable that you stay close together.
Co-op can be tricky – we ran into a few frustrations trying to get our partner on the same page, and we kept dying as a result – but with the right person to back you up, it's good fun. You both have the same capabilities, so Sam doesn't outshine Isaac when it comes to killing people. It's a nice balance, and one that will keep you playing through the multiple co-op missions available. Just be advised – some of the survival missions can be tough, like trying to kill all the guards in an area while avoiding gunfire and landmines strewn through the area. Step through too many of those, and you're dead.
Moving on to multiplayer...