Splinter Cell Blacklist: Top Five Spy Tips

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Fancy yourself a shadow stalker? Then these are for you: the top five tips for playing as a Splinter Cell Blacklist Spy.

Five: Keep your eyes on the prize
It’s all too easy to get distracted hunting Mercs in the darker corners of Blacklist, so keep your eyes on the prize. Whether you’re playing Classic or Blacklist mode, 10 minutes isn’t a whole lot of time to hack three terminals when four angry Mercs are gunning for you – so get to work.
Unlike previous games in the series, you can no longer hack three terminals at once, so I’d recommend hitting one terminal, then – successful or not – hitting the terminal farthest from it.
The additional time gained as the Mercs have to pelt their way to the active hack offers ample opportunity for those sneaky ambushes Spies like best.

Four: Outsmart, outwit, outrun
Mercs may be tough, but they can’t climb worth a damn, and rely on their tech when their eyes let them down. Spies are faster, deadlier close-in and are expert ambush predators.
Once you’ve played a map a few times you’ll get a sense for the routes Mercs regularly use – and the points along that route Spies can take advantage of to thin their numbers.
Set traps with sticky cameras, use EMPs to turn out the lights, and take down isolated Mercs when they least expect it – but if there’s more than one, bide your time, as a second Merc can spell instant death once the ‘knife-kill’ animation ends.

Strike hard, then vanish in a literal puff of smoke...

Strike hard, then vanish in a literal puff of smoke…

Three: Go vertical
Mercs, existing with their inability to climb, have a habit of not looking up. This is, of course, a perfect opportunity for Spies to literally get the drop on them.
Aside from making excellent hiding spots for the weary hacker, vertical kills are effective at thinning Merc ranks, while allowing a quick escape. Try a vertical take-down, followed by a quick EMP grenade (double-tap the grenade button) or smoke grenade. Sure, it puts you at greater risk of horrible, bullet-ridden death, but as long as you’re not the hacker, and only defending, it’s a great way of drawing your enemies away.

Two: CQC
At range, Mercs will win any firefight. Sure, Blacklist mode teases the unwary spy with a selection of silenced weaponry, but they’re a popgun compared to the Merc arsenal.
That’s where close-quarters combat comes in.
If a Spy can get close to a Merc, a tap of the ‘X’ button will take them down with a nifty throat-slit – a technique which works on multiple Mercs if you get chance, as they turn too slowly to catch the speedy Spies.
That said, getting in close without getting your face blown off is the real issue, and use of vertical approaches, shadows and unconventional movement allow this – strike up close, then escape fast, as Mercs will always gun you down if they catch you mid-knife kill.

Taking on a Merc head-on always ends badly...

Taking on a Merc head-on always ends badly…

One: Team takedown
As with their Merc counterparts, Spies work best as a team, whether in Classic or Blacklist modes. In Classic, the lightly armed Spies need to co-ordinate their attacks closely, and counter the aggressive search patterns of the Mercs, but in Blacklist, a team of four Spies working together is practically unstoppable.
Again, chatting on Xbox Live is essentially dead, but try to have at least one spy with each of the three base gear set-ups on offer. The overcharge Spy can work brilliantly with the intel Spy, working to expose, de-fang and eliminate the Mercs – but aside from the tech, working as a team can make all the difference towards achieving a victory.

Keep an eye out for Top Five Merc Tips coming soon.

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