Aspects of Play: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist’ belongs to is the Console.

When playing Splinter Cell Blacklist, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Mimicry, Alea, Illinx and Agon

In terms of Mimicry, you play as Sam Fisher, commander of a covert espionage splinter cell called Fourth Echelon. You play as Sam on various covert ops to take out the terrorist organization known only as The Blacklist. Alea comes from the varying array of weapons and gadgets available to you in which mix up the play-styles and allows the for a more random and less scripted sequence of events on each mission. Illinx comes from a few aspects of the game, it’s present when the player can get blinded by flash-bang grenades and is present in certain situations of which require the player to be uncover or when the player is hurt and moving slowly in an non-ordinary fashion. Agon within this game comes in the form of the multiplayer mode known as Spy vs Mercs, which pits the Sam Fisher-esque characters against gun-toting mercenaries.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the free-reign that the gameplay gave. You could choose to be as stealthy as possible or go in all guns blazing, the game didn’t punish you (for the most part) for breaking stealth and going on the offensive. Also the stealth play had more than 1 singular route of which was very refreshing to have multiple ways to complete a single objective. I also enjoyed the semi-linearity the game gave, instead of being a stealth game that goes from A to B and then ends, it provides a hub-based mission center of which provides a greater illusion of choice for the player, rather than being forced to do specific things in a sequence.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes. I found the stealth aspect of the game to be very engrossing. Personally, I’ve never been too fond of stealth based games because I have a lack of patience, but surprisingly I thoroughly enjoyed being patient with the game and watching the enemies routes across the map.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would find a way to make it more open. I know the stealth gameplay dictates a scripted scenario but I feel that the situations these games are put under with the usual ‘Terrorist attack! We must stop them!’ it gets old fairly quickly. I’d find a way of crafting a world in which the missions are more dynamic and fluid for the player to experience.

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