David Klein On October 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

SCB_Screenshot_MPEVENT_COOP_SamBriggs02Splinter Cell: Blacklist had a lot of potential in my eyes. Conviction was a fun and exciting game that while spent years in development delivered a new start for Sam Fisher on a next generation console. The multiplayer I got to try out before Blacklist came out was solid and left me with me with a good taste in my mouth leading up to the release of the game. Now where did it all go wrong, what did Blacklist do so that I’d have one the worst experiences of any current generation console game?

When I booted up the game I’m greeted with an unwelcome sight, the prompt to install data to my PS3’s hard drive. I thought to myself I believed we were past the need for mandatory installs to the HDD but all right let’s roll with it. Next I wait for one of the longest install times I’ve ever had with a disc based PS3 game. Afterwards when I got around to checking it had actually moved a whopping 8 gigabytes so essentially the entire contents of the disc was transferred to the drive. I thought to myself after a half hour had gone by and the install had finished let’s jump in and play some multiplayer but the game had different plans for me.

I get dropped directly into the game’s story without any chance to go to a menu, without any chance to even adjust my screen settings before I go into the game. It’s starts you off by teaching some basic mechanics: crawling, jumping from cover to cover, stealth kills and earning and using executions (lining up a series of targets that the game will automatically kill for you). So far despite the rocky start I’m starting to get into the game, I’m about to reach the end of this tutorial mission and get through the final climatic cutscene and …. the game stops. I try to hold down the Playstation button and nothing. So I do the only sensible thing and shut down the PS3 and reboot. I’m still not that discouraged, after all while crashes are unusual they happen from time to time…. fast forward 5-6 freezes later constantly getting to different points in the cutscene and never getting past it I decide to skip the tutorial entirely and forfeiting anything in game items you might earn while doing it. So the tutorial is broken, that sucks but I’ll just play through the rest of the game… if only it were that simple

Now before I even get into the main game I once again froze at least once during the cutscenes following the tutorial prepping you for the first mission but I finally did get into the next mission. I managed to get 20 minutes into the mission this time before, you guessed it another crash. I’m greeted with another quick series of crashes at various unexpected but never welcomed moments, from the pause menu to the Unreal Engine logo at boot I was getting many a crash to the point where I was strongly considering using the game disc as a frisbee or just snapping it in half to end the misery. Every time I boot the game up it decides for no apparent reason to take it upon itself to update my trophies which no other game does and takes forever because of the system Sony has in place is poor, all the while this annoyance being made much worse by the constant crashes. I spent about 2 hours trying to get through this single level that should have been a cakewalk but I couldn’t make any real progress because every time I got anywhere with it the game decides to get temperamental and stop cooperating.

I decide I’ve had enough of the single player and decided to try the multiplayer. When you’re first starting up you only have access to the Spies vs Mercs Classic mode (If you want a full description of the mode then checkout my hands-on with multiplayer article) It’s about as fun as the online modes I played at Ubisoft and I can’t really say there was much lag so that’s good… except it crashes before I ever finish a whole series matches. I’ll just drop out of the multiplayer game because the game decides to freeze on me leaving my partner high and dry. That means I can NEVER complete a full game, which means I can’t rank up to earn any perks or new modes. Once again any enjoyment I might have had with the game is completely killed by how buggy it is. I’ve played Alpha versions of games before that are more stable than this.

Now you might think that I’m doing something wrong or my PS3 is broken but I’ve already gone through all this. I’ve tried spraying the machine with compressed air to clear the vents, reinstalling the game data over and over again, cleaning the disc (especially before reinstalling the data), going into safe mode and having the PS3 check for corruption in it’s file system. I’ve made sure it’s not my PS3 being unstable by running a series of games including The Last of Us without encountering a single problem anywhere. Everything that I could think of that that could be wrong with my setup I’ve tested and double checked. I’ve looked on online forums where there are some other people who are encountering the same problems as me without a solution in sight.

Now before I finish off this review I’ll give you some quick thoughts on the presentation. The graphics engine doesn’t seem all that optimized for the PS3, even the basic menus feel kind of laggy and the texture are sub par. The draw distances are horrible, where if you look even a meter ahead of you things start to look blurry. The voice acting that I actually got to hear without crashes was void of emotion where lines like “He pretended to kill my daughter” were said like they were reading a grocery list. Lacking in this entry is the performance of series mainstay Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher who’s been replaced this time around with a far less capable newcomer. The music is all right I suppose but I didn’t really get to hear a great range while playing.

No game should ever come out the factory where the player will have so many issues straight out of the gate. I do understand there are probably plenty of happy gamers who aren’t having the same problems but for me it was totally unplayable. I’ll put it this way, It’s $60 of your money to buy this game so why play russian roulette?


The mechanics are decent but the fatal flaw of not being able to play the game drags the score down.


I don’t know if it’s just the PS3 version or all the versions of the game that don’t look especially great.


The changeover in voice actors really hurt the series.


If the game was playable on the PlayStation 3 I’d be writing a far different review but as it stands as of this writing, it’s broken.

One Response

  1. uirelbu says:

    Yeah this game crashes like heck on PS3, fix it already! Buy the Xbox 360 version instead.