Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist (Xbox 360*)

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Ubisoft's original stealth series returns for its sixth installment as gamers once again take control of grizzled operative Sam Fisher while he attempts to thwart a group of rogue states that have banded together to unleash a series of escalating terror attacks on U.S. interests around the globe. Set six months after the events of Splinter Cell: Conviction led to the shuttering of the Third Echelon, Blacklist finds Fisher heading up the new Fourth Echelon agency as they use stealth, high-powered weapons, and advanced technology to track down terrorists know as The Engineers.

As was the case with Conviction, Blacklist is designed to be more fluid and conducive to action than the first four games in the series, typified by the new Killing in Motion mechanic that lets players highlight and dispatch several targets while running. However, gamers are still invited to take on the missions in any way they see fit, earning Assault points for direct combat, Ghost points for pure stealth, and Panther points for a mix of the two styles. Those points can then be used to upgrade Fisher's suit, weapons, and advanced equipment like remote-controlled drones, electromagnetic pulses, cameras, noisemakers, and his iconic goggles.

Xbox 360 users can get further into the action by saying things to distract foes, or by using the Kinect Sensor to control the action through motions and gestures. A separate co-op mode finds Fisher joining the new character Isaac Briggs for 14 specialized missions, while competitive multiplayer fans see the return of the Spies v. Mercs mode, which finds teams of two or four choosing from the stealthy, third-person Spies, or the heavily armed, first-person Mercenaries as they do battle on a variety of maps.