Sam Fisher is on the phone with his daughter. He's talking about his feelings. He's telling her he worries about her. "See," the game says, "This is not just another technobabble Tom Clancy military gunfest. This game has heart." Sam hangs up the phone, ready to go to… to somewhere in the Middle East and fight… some terrorist dudes about… something. Oh, damn it all.
Yes, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is, in fact, totally just another technobabble Tom Clancy military gunfest. In fact, it plays like (and has been marketed as) a sort of "greatest hits" collection of the most popular aspects of each of the previous five games in the series. This is the ultimate technobabble Tom Clancy military gunfest. That's not necessarily a bad thing: the game is a good deal of fun a lot of the time. But an increasingly stodgy approach to stealth combined with several of the series' seemingly unshakeable bad narrative habits upend the game's balance and leave Blacklist a less satisfying whole than some of its parts would suggest.