A playstyle is a distinctive and different approach to playing a game.
Although heavily stealth influenced, the Splinter Cell series offers many different ways for players to approach the gameplay. Despite not being specifically named, these three playstyles have been present in the games as an option players can choose.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist reintroduces the three distinct playstyles that players use to play the Splinter Cell games. Playing a particular style will reward the player points in one of the three approaches to gameplay.
The three distinct playstyles are called Ghost, Panther and Assault, respectively.
The Ghost playstyle rewards players that use stealth to slip by enemies or non-lethally knock them out. Ghost players use stealth and deception to sneak past enemies without them knowing, using an array of less-than-lethal gadgets against opponents when necessary. This playstyle garners the most points, rewarding players more for choosing the stealthy and non-lethal route. Ghost playstyle are sometimes essential for completing a mission.
The Panther playstyle favors a lethal form of stealth, striking from the shadows and quickly killing enemies. It is introduced more prominently in Splinter Cell: Conviction as the driving playstyle. Using weapons and close-quarters knife/hand-to-hand kills, as well as sticking to the shadows, is where Panther players are most efficient.
The Assault playstyle is meant to be played as an action game, using the cover as an advantage in combat and not worrying about stealth or being spotted. Un-suppressed weapons and explosives are ideal for the Assault playstyle. This playstyle rewards the player less than the other two.
- The Ghost playstyle is represented by the recognizable trifocal goggles symbol. The Panther playstyle is represented with a 'paw print' of a panther, and the Assault playstyle is shown with a crosshair symbol.
- In Blacklist While moving to the next sequence of a mission or completing one objective of Grim's missions, the player receives points in Ghost Style based on how many enemies are left undisturbed.
- The Assault playstyle was represented in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory as the 'Assault Loadout', usually giving the player the shotgun/sniper rifle attachment as well as lethal gadgets, such as frag grenades.
- The novel Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist Aftermath directly referenced the playstyles and noted that Sam Fisher had made them.