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Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs Multiplayer Deconstructed


Our exhaustive analysis of new video footage of Splinter Cell Blacklist’s Spies vs Mercs multiplayer mode is here.


Ubisoft’s ComDev channel has recently posted the above gameplay footage of Splinter Cell Blacklist’s Spies vs Mercs mode in action. Combined with it and various previews that have surfaced, we’ve picked out all the key details that have otherwise been missed. The main takeaway is that Spies vs Mercs has two distinct modes. Classic mode bathes the level in shadow, removes customisation and limits the player count to 2v2. Blacklist mode blows the player count up to 4v4, contains lighter levels and offers a full suite of customisation for both Spies and Mercs. This includes distinct classes, passive armour perks, as well as active abilities. For more, check the screengrabs below.

Spies in Blacklist mode not only have access to lethal and silenced pistols, but also automatic weapons.

Spies in Blacklist mode not only have access to lethal and silenced pistols, but also automatic weapons.

In Classic Spies vs Mercs mode, spies can use their  sticky shocker crossbows to disable security cameras. We're not sure if the effect is temporary or permanent, or whether the cameras need to be manned by one of the Mercs or automatically set off an alert upon sensing motion.

In Classic Spies vs Mercs mode, spies can use their sticky shocker crossbows to disable security cameras. We’re not sure if the effect is temporary or permanent, or whether the cameras need to be manned by one of the Mercs or automatically set off an alert upon sensing motion.

The Spy who's hacking the terminal to the lower right has just set off an ability, creating an expanding radial pulse. We think it might be an area-of-effect EMP.

The Spy who’s hacking the terminal to the lower right has just set off an ability, creating an expanding radial pulse. We think it might be an area-of-effect EMP.

This is what a Merc’s vision looks like when it gets hit by such an EMP.

Classic Spies vs Mercs mode places more emphasis on light and shadow interplay, adding flashlights to the underbarrel of the Mercs' weapons.

Classic Spies vs Mercs mode places more emphasis on light and shadow interplay, adding flashlights to the underbarrel of the Mercs’ weapons.

One of the Spies deploys a gadget - a smoke grenade.

One of the Spies deploys a gadget – a smoke grenade.

To the left and right of this hallway you can see prominently-placed fire extinguishers. We assume these can be shot to create a smoke cloud, by either team.

To the left and right of this hallway you can see prominently-placed fire extinguishers. We assume these can be shot to create a smoke cloud, by either team.

Spies can perform some kind of a slide move. Note their four health blocks, too.

Spies can perform some kind of a slide move. Note their four health blocks, too.

Melee kills from any direction appear instantaneous and brutal for either team. All that seems to matter is who attacks first.

Melee kills from any direction appear instantaneous and brutal for either team. All that seems to matter is who attacks first.

The sound sensor on the lower portion of the Mercs' HUD displays audio disturbances. This is a replacement for the formerly crosshair-centric system in Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory.

The sound sensor on the lower portion of the Mercs’ HUD displays audio disturbances. This is a replacement for the formerly crosshair-centric system in Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory.

Spies can perform instant-kill Death From Above takedowns.

Spies can perform instant-kill Death From Above takedowns. Note the Merc’s much larger health pool.

Those takedowns can me chained into an instant melee kill of an enemy nearby.

Those takedowns can me chained into an instant melee kill of an enemy nearby.

If a teammate begins a terminal hack but dies in the process, a fellow Spy can resume the hack if they reach and re-activate the terminal within a short window.

If a teammate begins a terminal hack but dies in the process, a fellow Spy can resume the hack if they reach and re-activate the terminal within a short window.

The Hunter Merc class has access to an explosive tri-rotor that can apparently visualise Spies through walls before detonating in their faces.

The Hunter Merc class has access to an explosive tri-rotor that can apparently visualise Spies through walls before detonating in their faces.

Mercs are rewarded with killstreaks for performing well.

Mercs are rewarded with killstreaks for performing well.

This Merc class is radiating a constant yellow pulse. We're not sure of its function, but it could be the Distruptor's ability to disable Spy electronics within a radius around him.

This Merc class is radiating a constant yellow pulse. We’re not sure of its function, but it could be the Distruptor’s ability to disable Spy electronics within a radius around him.

Good old, reliable proximity mines.

Good old, reliable proximity mines.

This Spy has activated his Sonar Goggles, which emit a red pulse and mark enemy Mercs through walls, as seen toward the top of the screen.

This Spy has activated his Sonar Goggles, which emit a red pulse and mark enemy Mercs through walls, as seen toward the top of the screen.

Moving with the Sonar Goggles active creates visual distortion. This will be familiar to Conviction players.

Moving with the Sonar Goggles active creates visual distortion. This will be familiar to Conviction players.

Ledge Takedowns are back in.

Ledge Takedowns are back in.

Mercs will see hit markers display on their crosshair if their VX Gas Grenade cloud manages to damage an enemy Spy.

Mercs will see hit markers display on their crosshair if their VX Gas Grenade cloud manages to damage an enemy Spy.

Spies suffer a momentary blindness when activating their night vision goggles.

Spies suffer a momentary blindness when activating their night vision goggles.

The radar in the bottom left of the screen appears to be a unique ability. Enemies are displayed as red dots. Also note the "Overcharge" ability on the right - its function is currently unknown.

The radar in the bottom left of the screen appears to be a unique ability. Enemies are displayed as red dots. Also note the “Overcharge” ability on the right – its function is currently unknown.

Zip-lines!

Zip-lines!

The Spy on the left is in the process of activating a cloaking device. Too slow.

The Spy on the left is in the process of activating a cloaking device. Too slow.

We’ll have more on Splinter Cell Blacklist’s Spies vs Mercs mode when we see it at E3 in June.

Daniel Hindes

Further Investigation
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Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs
Sneaky Bastards PAX Aus Stealth Gaming Panel
Fifty Shades of Black: Splinter Cell Blacklist Hands-On
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist Co-op Trailer
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Wii U Trailer
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Abilities Trailer
Image: Splinter Cell Blacklist Box Art
Redding’s Recommendation – The Splinter Cell: Blacklist Interview
The Blackjacks: E3 2012 Stealth Awards

3 Responses to Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs Multiplayer Deconstructed

  1. By DeviousBoomer, May 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    The light-amplified exploding quadrotor has me worried about balance.

    • By DeviousBoomer, May 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Whoops, I meant tri-rotor.

    • By Daniel Hindes, May 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      It looks like it has a limited battery whilst flying, as well as a significant recharge time. Hoping for hands-on at E3, so we’ll definitely investigate!

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