Although there are several popular multiplayer archetypes in 2022, one that is noticeably lacking is that of spies vs mercenaries. This type of game was originally introduced in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and became a huge hit with fans as well as a big part of Splinter Cell’s identity going forward. But since Splinter Cell hasn’t had any new installments in almost a decade, this experience has been all but forgotten…
Developer studio Symbiosis plans to change that with Spectre., a new title that takes direct inspiration from that classic multiplayer mode. The version I’ve played is a work in progress, but I’ve seen great potential for those who have been waiting for the bug. With a variety of gadgets in your arsenal, as well as several different options to approach your objective, I think Specter could finally give us what Ubisoft doesn’t want to bring back.
If you are not familiar with that modality of Splinter Cell, Specter is a multiplayer team objective game in which each side has a different goal. Played from a third-person perspective, Spectres are stealth operatives whose goal is to hack every terminal on the map. The Reapers, meanwhile, are played from a first-person perspective with a simple goal: kill the Spectres.
If you sneak up from behind, you can grab them, suffocate them, and snap their necks.
Both sides have different equipment and abilities in their kit. As Specters are more passive in completing their objective, most of their tools consist of ways to escape combat or remain hidden, thus they are not equipped with a lethal weapon. His stun gun can temporarily disable an enemy Reaper, but can also disable cameras, elevators, and laser detection grids. You can even run through the lasers undetected if you time it right. Just like in the game it’s inspired by, there is a way to kill a Reaper. If you sneak up from behind, you can grab them, choke them, and snap their necks, but this takes some time, so if an enemy teammate sees you, the action could end badly for you.
The Reapers, meanwhile, are more offensive in nature.; They carry an assault rifle, grenades, and a flashlight to spot enemies when they’re hiding in the dark. That said, they can sacrifice their light at the flick of a switch, giving them the motion vision ability, allowing them to see Specters even if they’re cloaked. Meanwhile, elevators are free to use for Reapers, but must be repaired if hacked by a Spectre, while Reapers are also capable of freely passing through lasers.
The Reapers, meanwhile, have a more offensive character; they carry an assault rifle, grenades and a flashlight.
Playing as Specter is the highlight as there is more freedom to attack your target as well as movement. You can be direct and go straight for the target or be as patient as you like to wait for the right moment to neutralize the enemy team. Being able to sneak while camouflaged adds an extra level of fun, especially for people who like stealth games, but aren’t the best at them. You can get on the highest platforms to get an advantage on the map and hide in places like ventilation tunnels…
However, part of what makes playing the Specter so much fun is what also makes playing the Reaper so rewarding. You have fewer resources, but also fewer potential risks, so when you take down a hiding Specter with the aim of assassinating you, it feels great. Symbiosis has managed to find the right balance of funregardless of which side you play.
Although I’ve enjoyed my time with Spectre, it still feels like a work in progress that needs a little more development time. Nevertheless, promises a lot. The sheer variety in how you approach objectives, whether you’re a Specter or a Reaper, makes each round of play different from the next, even if you’re playing on the same map. The other big issue for Specter is the modern era that it will be released in next year. Nowadays there is a lot more competition in the multiplayer space. Will gamers still want to play that mode made popular by Splinter Cell? Time will tell, but we hope developer Symbiosis Games will make the answer an irresistible ‘yes’.