Common Sense Media Says: Not for kids

Brutal, lifelike stealth game is for mature audiences only.

What Parents need to know

Parents need to know Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist is an adult-oriented stealth action game with lots of violence. Its story focuses on lifelike terrorist attacks, and the fighting is often brutal. Superspy Sam Fisher uses both weapons and hand-to-hand combat techniques, and players will see blood flow as he shoots and stabs his enemies. The game frequently employs stylized animations and cinematic sequences that serve to glamorize the violence. Parents should also be aware that dialogue includes some strong four-letter words, and characters reference -- though don't use -- narcotics.

Consumerism:This game is part of Ubisoft's long-running and very popular Tom Clancy-branded game series, which was inspired by a series of hit novels.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking:One mission is set on an opium farm. Characters reference the drug but don't use it.

Language:Occasional use of very strong language, including the words "f--k" and "s--t."

Positive messages:This game glamorizes military action including stealth, gunplay, and melee combat. It touches on real-world terrorism concerns and is set in real-world locations, such as Benghazi, and at times feels alarmingly real.

Ease of play:It's not easy, but in-game instructions and cues provide all the tools necessary to win. Players will need to practice if they want to master all the mechanics. Success online will depend largely on the experience and abilities of your allies and adversaries.

Positive role models:Sam Fisher may be a good guy, a loyal and courageous soldier, and a loving dad, but his job requires him to do some really nasty things. Most parents probably don't want their kids taking many cues from a fellow trained and experienced in the disciplines of killing and coercive information extraction.

Privacy & safety:Serious privacy and safety concerns. This game can be played online with strangers with open voice communication. This opens the door to the exchange of personal information and risks exposing players to inappropriate language and topics of discussion.

Sex:Not applicable

Violence:This game is filled with graphic violence and gore. As superspy Sam Fisher, players use guns, knives, explosives, and other implements to kill human enemies, who grunt and moan and bleed red. Closeup, cinematic combat sequences glamorize melee action in particular. Players see Sam choking and stabbing enemies. He also sometimes slits throats and violently snaps victims' necks.

What's the story?

American superspy Sam Fisher takes on a major terrorist threat in TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST, a highly realistic stealth action game designed with adult audiences in mind. A group calling itself the Engineers carries out an attack on an American military installation, then claims it will undertake additional attacks on a regular schedule until the United States calls home all troops stationed in more than 150 countries across the globe. Working with a small team, Sam flies around the world in a stealthy airborne headquarters as he follows leads, carries out missions, and slowly works his way closer to the source of the menace. The game's open, integrated structure means players can choose from a variety of campaign missions, side jobs, and cooperative and competitive multiplayer games on a single map, earning cash to upgrade Sam's arsenal of gadgets and weapons along the way.

Is it any good?

Blacklist manages the unusual feat of taking a well-established franchise in new directions while simultaneously appealing to fans of the series' stealth-based roots. The ability to choose between multiple missions, visit with team mates aboard a plane that acts as a central hub, and deeply customize Sam's appearance and loadouts represent steps forward for Splinter Cell. Also, combat action has never been smoother, more cinematic, or more accessible. This is a game that's nearly as much fun to watch as it is to play.At the same time, there are plenty of missions and sequences that hearken back to the Splinter Cell of old. These have Sam stalking quietly through the shadows using classic gadgets -- sticky cameras, sleep gas, noisemakers, and the like -- to stealthily knock out or eliminate entire compounds full of enemies. It isn't quite as polished as one might hope -- you'll likely notice a few minor quirks and bugs along the way -- but it's hard to imagine many fans of stealth and action gaming coming away disappointed.