Splinter Cell: Blacklist takes the latest midlife crisis of Sam Fisher, dropping the aging counter-espionage into the sort of bright environment you wouldn't want to wear night vision goggles in: the Middle East.
It's an extension of the work they did on Splinter Cell: Conviction. No major overhauls since then, so it's a more dynamic Sam, snapping between executions he's pre-tagged from cover, rewards for his previous stealthy kills. It's actiony, with Sam dragging enemies all over the place, snapping out from cover, and slamming their faces.
The level shown was a terrorist camp, expectedly linear (for demo purposes). New tricks include Kinect-enabled voice commands that I'm imagining will be tied a button on the PC (although adding them to a microphone support would be the smart thing to do): Sam distracted a terrorist with a small shout and dragged him over a ledge.
There were other moments of classic Splinter Cell hidden in the demonstration: at one point he slashed a hole in a tent top move around, which I haven't seen him do since Chaos Theory three games ago, but this is very much standing on the shoulders of Conviction. The end of the demo promised Spy vs Mercs multiplayer and let us all know that it would be out Spring 2013.
Also visible is a sort of electrifying crossbow bolt that's zapping some terrorists stupid enough to stand in an unlikely looking puddle. How can a puddle exist when there's that much sunshine? And why is Fisher wearing his night vision goggles during the day? Perhaps this one is set during an eclipse? We'll learn more tonight.
Here's the first footage
Interrogations were a big part of the previous game in the series, Conviction. So there's return of the gruesome, context-sensitive, smashing-bad-mens'-faces-off-stuff minigame.
Conviction also briefly took in the sights of the Middle East in an early, action-focused mission. Sam's blasé attitude to broad daylight stealth here could suggest a bias towards the more explosive style of infiltration.
Is that Grimsdottir doing a bit of planning there? Yes. Yes it is.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier style augmented reality comprises some HUD elements, replacing the neat "digital projector" style of Conviction. Having consulted Google Maps, Mirawa is either a fictional location, or a restaurant a few miles outside Oslo.
One of Sam's new(ish) tricks: a crossbow capable of firing electrified bolts at puddles, zapping any bad men who happen to be loitering shin-deep in the stuff. We're not certain if the science behind this is sound.
Oh look, Sam Fisher's shooting from behind cover now.