Armed with his legendary night vision goggles and a new anti-terrorist agency, Sam Fisher has returned to thwart another anti-US conspiracy in Ubisoft's sixth Splinter Cell game. The latest entry, titled Blacklist, is a sequel to 2010 Splinter Cell: Conviction, and seeks to strike a better balance between stealth and action while reintroducing some franchise favorites.
Many Splinter Cell fans felt that Conviction decidedly took the "bag & # 39; em and tag & # 39; em" side of the shooter, encouraging them to kill nervous guards rather than avoid them. While Blacklist refines Conviction's "Mark and Execute" system with a mechanic named "Killing in Motion," you can also look forward to classic stealth skills like dragging down enemies and luring enemies with vocal noises – even if they aren't Michael Ironside's longtime voice comes from Fisher, who is replaced on the blacklist by actor Eric Johnson.
All of this seems to have made a positive impression on most of the reviewers, but some were less than enthusiastic about the blacklist's graphics. Whatever it's worth, while Blacklist might not be the best looking game of 2013, neither would we dismiss it as a cheap console port, as a partnership between Ubisoft and Nvidia helped get the title created right on PC was (as should be) the case with Watch Dogs and Assassin & # 39; s Creed 4).
Like Conviction, Blacklist was created using LEAD, a heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 2.5 with Havok physics, which Ubisoft seems to prefer UE3. PC gamers can look forward to a typical range of graphics options including TXAA anti-aliasing, soft shadows, horizon-based ambient occlusion, and advanced DX11 tessellation. We plan to test all of this with nearly two dozen graphics setups and a handful of processors. .
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We tested a total of 23 AMD and Nvidia graphics card configurations for all budgets. We tested with the ultra quality preset with FXAA, field AO, HBAO + (standard), MSAAx4, field AO and HBAO + as well as FXAA and field AO with deactivated HBAO +.
We used the latest beta driver for blacklist. The AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta 2 driver claims a 9% title gain when running on Ultra at 2560 x 1600.
The GeForce 326.80 Beta is designed to offer the best experience for blacklisting while also offering an SLI profile. No performance claims have been made, so we're not sure how much faster this beta driver is compared to the current official driver.
To measure frame rates, we used Fraps to record a minute of gameplay from the first mission. The Core i7-4770K was used for all GPU tests at its default operating frequency.
After all, we know many of you will be interested in CPU scaling performance as well. That's why we clocked the Core i7-4770K and FX-8350 processors at multiple frequencies to see what effect this has on performance when using a GTX Titan, the ultra-high-quality preset. Additionally, we ran similar tests on a range of processors including the Core i7-3960X, i5-3570K, i3-3220, and AMD Phenom II X6 1100T.
We're going to be looking for an average of 60 fps for stuttering gameplay.