Earlier this week I gave you guys my take on Splinter Cell: Blacklist's singleplayer mode, based on my hands on time with the game.
I also got some time with the Co-op and Spies Vs Mercs multiplayer modes, so read on for my Splinter Cell: Blacklist Multiplayer Hands On...
Shortly after I tried the singleplayer, I managed to get some time playing a Co-op mission with a complete stranger – combined with my limited knowledge of the Xbox controls, I was a little apprehensive, but I needn’t have been.
The Co-op missions are little different to standard missions; you have to get through the entire level, but you have to take everyone out on the way. Naturally, stealth (lethal or non-lethal) is the best way, as alerting the enemies will cause a number more to spawn and make your life difficult.
Having another player with you instantly adds value to the game. From the basic things like being able to tag twice the number of enemies, to better visual intel, and of course being able to co-ordinate strikes. In fact, there's even the ability to double up the normal Execute function, but unfortunately we didn't manage to successfully pull one off.
The maps can be traversed as normal, or if you like you can use special boost walls, in which the two players will lift each other over a tall wall. This often drops you on top of unsuspecting enemies, so be prepared for a quick take down!
I was playing on the Xbox, including the standard headset and mic; regardless of your setup, I'd say comms are required to effectively play co-op, with no obvious way to communicate beyond the suggestion of a double take down. Having said that, playing with another person (even someone you don't know very well) adds a lot to the game, being able to set up alternate routes or lines of fire is fantastic. Something I learned the hard way while trying to be stealthy though; Sniper rifles don't tend to be quiet. At all.
Spies Vs Mercs is the other multiplayer mode, which is competitive rather than cooperative. There are actually two versions, the Classic mode which is just 2v2, and the newer Blacklist mode, which gives you the full 4v4 gameplay.
Both modes have the same goals though; two teams (the spies and the mercs) battle in a style of capture the flag. The spies have to get to one of three terminals and start a hack, and then remain in the room and alive to let the hack complete. If they die, any other spies have 20 seconds to try and resume the hack, or else all progress is lost. Victory is determined after each team has had a round as the spies, and the winner is the team who captured the most points in the time allowed.
Classic mode is a lot more about stealth, with darkness being a much stronger tool for the Spies. To counter this, the mercs get torches, to help them spot the spies before it's too late. Spies in both modes are weaker at ranged combat, and the Mercs have heavy armor; this does make them less agile though, and spies can use alternate routes such as vents to move around the map.
Blacklist is a more interesting mode, with emphasis placed on your class loadout and utilities. For example, one of the Merc abilities will give you a remote controlled explosive recon copter, which can be used to scout dark areas and vents, as well as explode on any nearby spies. Other devices like proximity mines can be used to good effect, as spies are often watching for mercs rather than glowing mines.
The spies of course have their own abilities, such as the recon pulse – this will show you the location of any nearby mercs for a long duration, helping you to avoid being pinned down. For the more aggressive, another spy ability lets you cloak in plain site, helping you escape if you end up in a bad spot.
Spies also have a deadly melee attack, which combined with their stealth and nimbleness is the best way to get rid of pesky mercs.
I found the gameplay very entertaining, and choosing your loadout to complement the rest of the team is important. As a spy, I was the only player with the recon pulse, but I could very effectively keep the whole team informed and help them get pickoffs on the mercs while we waited for the hack.
Similarly, taking away the advantage of the vents with the merc's explosive drone is a big blow to the spies, who consider that space untouchable, and will often not be on their guard there. Although for time reasons we only played with some pre-set classes, you can customise each of your loadouts to suit your playstyle; whether you change your abilities, utility items like grenades or mines, or just switch your shotgun for an assault rifle.
With a variety of maps and with how easy it is to drop into a game from the main menu, I can see this mode adding a lot of re-playability to the game. With some friends and good communication, it has a lot of potential as a competitive mode.
Don't forget I also have a Splinter Cell: Blacklist Hands On with the singleplayer mode.
Do you think this game will be worth getting when it comes out? Do you prefer the singleplayer or the multiplayer? Tell us below!