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The Blackjacks: E3 2012 Stealth Awards


With E3 2012 a wrap, we bring you the best of the stealth titles featured on the show floor. These are the sneaky games to observe closely…


We came to E3 dressed to impressed, but it was ourselves that walked away stunned: a surprising amount of stealth games were present. Though the absence of Thief 4 was disappointing, and the new Metal Gear cuts more than it sneaks, E3 2012 showed the stealth genre emerging from the shadows to stand alongside its louder, flashier, blockbuster brethren – literally and metaphorically. Sneaky Bastards infiltrated the Los Angeles Convention Centre and scoured the show floor for exclusive stealth interviews and hands-on time with the genre’s biggest upcoming titles. You’ll see these roll out on the site over the next month. For now, it’s time to wrap up the show with our first annual E3 Stealth Awards: The Blackjacks.


Mark of the Ninja

Klei Entertainment | 2013

Hands-on time with the entire first level of Klei’s sidescrolling ninja simulator left us with a single thought: this is the smoothest stealth we’ve ever played. The agility of the main character, the fluidity of his animation and the readability of the environment and its systems blend to serve up a stealth experience that feels as though it flows directly from your fingertips to the on-screen sneaking.


Hitman: Absolution

IO Interactive | November

Like the double-film cinema features and Robert Rodriguez homages this award shares its name with, Hitman Absolution is a game of two halves – complete with fake trailers. Thankfully, our worries concerning Absolution’s initial linear, scripted gameplay reveal were sent back in a suitcase during our hands-on and demo sessions. The classic Hitman gameplay persists beneath its more bombastic half, and it is excellent.


Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Ubisoft Toronto | 2013

The new Splinter Cell title did not have a good stealth showing at E3, preferring a hotter action-oriented spectacle that actually left fans feeling cold. So we interrogated Blacklist’s Game Director, Patrick Redding, and extracted exclusive details on the game’s stealth approach. All we can say for now is that if you liked the sound of our previous Trade Secrets interview with Redding, you’re going to get a kick out of Blacklist.


Tokyo Jungle

PlayStation CAMP | TBA

The most original game on the entire show floor also has some of the most hilarious stealth gameplay, by nature of its inherent absurdity. This modern-day, hierarchical animal survival simulator will have you sneaking pomeranians through patches of grass, or flipping a skip bin over your deer’s fragile form and box-stealthing past predators. It’s Snake Eater, as an actual snake.


Watch Dogs

Ubisoft Montreal | 2013

Nobody expected Ubisoft to reveal a game set in a modern-day, open, persistent world where everything is hackable. But the potential for a brand new mode of stealth is here: one where you’re hiding your own and hacking other peoples’ digital shadows. Stealth elements sizzled in the background of the reveal, but we won’t know how far the game pushes them until later this year.


Dishonored

Arkane Studios | October

There’s not enough space here to go into detail as to why Dishonored wins Sneaky Bastards’ coveted Golden Blackjack. But our hands-on time include five playthroughs of the same mission, including one successful and utterly thrilling ghosting run. Everything that is detailed in our recent stealth preview works beautifully.  We’ll say no more, other than congratulations to Arkane, and October blink here fast enough.

Daniel Hindes

Further Investigation
Redding’s Recommendation – The Splinter Cell: Blacklist Interview
Splinter Cell: Blacklist has been unveiled. In our conversation with Patrick Redding, Game Director, we uncover exclusive details on the game's overhauled AI and stealth gameplay.
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Sneaky Bastards PAX Aus Stealth Gaming Panel
The complete audio recording of our Stealth Gaming panel hosted at PAX Aus is now available!
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Fifty Shades of Black: Splinter Cell Blacklist Hands-On Preview
With a little over a month before the release of Splinter Cell Blacklist, Sneaky Bastards goes hands-on and speaks with Game Director Patrick Redding about his systemic approach to stealth.
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Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist Co-op Trailer
Ubisoft has revealed the first footage of Splinter Cell Blacklist's co-operative mode in action.
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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.
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Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs Reveal Trailer
The first footage of Splinter Cell's signature multiplayer mode returning in Blacklist is here!
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Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs Teaser
Ubisoft has released a teaser video for Splinter Cell Blacklist's Spies vs Mercenaries multiplayer mode.
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Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Wii U Trailer
Splinter Cell Blacklist is coming to the Wii U - and the console's gamepad is a perfect fit for Sam Fisher's sneakier gadgets.
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Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Abilities Trailer
Ubisoft Toronto has just released one of the stealthiest trailers for Splinter Cell Blacklist yet - check it out, here!
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Image: Splinter Cell Blacklist Box Art
Splinter Cell: Blacklist's final box art features a gratuitous image of Sam Fisher getting a bad back.
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Redding’s Recommendation – The Splinter Cell: Blacklist Interview
Sneaky Bastards PAX Aus Stealth Gaming Panel
Fifty Shades of Black: Splinter Cell Blacklist Hands-On
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist Co-op Trailer
Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs Multiplayer
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Spies vs Mercs
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Wii U Trailer
Video: Splinter Cell Blacklist – Abilities Trailer
Image: Splinter Cell Blacklist Box Art

3 Responses to The Blackjacks: E3 2012 Stealth Awards

  1. By Linkage, June 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    If I were giving Splinter Cell: Blacklist any award it’d be the “Cautious Optimism” award. Despite the very action-oriented (and sort of unimaginative) gameplay shown at E3, I see a lot of potential within the gameplay mechanics and setting for some good stealth play. All the word from the developers since supports that but we also really gotta wait for some more gameplay before we can tell more. :S I just hope the single-player campaign is a good few steps forward from Conviction’s.

    I haven’t seen a lot of Mark of the Ninja but it sounds pretty great from what you and others have been saying. It’ll be especially interesting seeing a few 2D stealth games (Mark of the Ninja, Gunpoint, Monaco) come out in the near future and see how they each pull it off compared to the “traditional” 3D stealth approach.

    It was also really great to finally see some Dishonored gameplay, after getting so excited from all the write-ups it’s received. It almost took some getting used to because I had my own ideas in my head of how it would look, but I’m really excited about the Thief/Hitman elements you can see at play in there.

  2. By Organic_Shadow, June 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Dishonored is a beast, i’m gonna play it at least five times, i’m gonna go for the no-kill playthrough :)

  3. By ctrayne, June 13, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Perfect choices. Dishonored will be great.

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