Ubisoft had a very successful E3 in that their three strongest titles were probably in the top ten of the entire show. This just doesn’t happen with third party publishers so we had to acknowledge that here. Assassin’s Creed III was dominant at E3 2011, so we’re picking Splinter Cell: Blacklist by a hair over the very promising Watch Dogs as the Best Ubisoft Action Game. Sure it’s a narrow category but one of those games had to be the best.
Splinter Cell Blacklist barely gets the nod here because it’s an older franchise that’s been reinvented and remixed more than most, yet with higher expectations, it still captured the attention of those who were able to get up close with it.
Beyond the return of the Spies and Mercs multiplayer mode, Blacklist is focusing on sharpening its core systems. Making enemies smarter and more challenging is to be expected at this point in the PS3-Xbox360 era. This specialization of enemies means that all of your new ways of killing will be necessary and encouraged. The tagging system that was introduced a few games back now carries more risk than ever since that kind of automated attack will leave you vulnerable against bad guys who are impervious to your bullets or blades or bare hands.
This focus on fundamentals –how you deal with various enemies– puts all the spy gear, equipment and Sam’s new Fourth Echelon leadership responsibilities in the “icing” category instead of trying to be the whole “cake.”
Honorable Hot Coffee Mug for Best Ubisoft Action Game: Watch Dogs