Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
Published by Ubisoft
It's not often that a series not only improves visually, but adds
completely new elements with each installment. The original Splinter Cell introduced a new stealth action hero in the
form of Sam Fisher. The game looked and played great, but what really stood out was the potential for a successful franchise.
Pandora Tomorrow broke new ground by creating an online multiplayer stealth-action game. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
continues the trend with improved controls, graphics, a highly polished adversarial mode, and new on- and offline co-op missions.
It is amazing to see the range of gameplay elements that have been squeezed into this title. It is even more impressive to
experience how well each of them works.
Chaos Theory contains three unique gameplay types, but this doesn't mean the solo mode
has been overlooked. The story follows a typical Tom Clancy formula of throwing as much globe trotting and technical jargon
in a person's face as possible. While Sam Fisher is a step above the typical meathead video game protagonist, he seems to
have a very small emotional investment in his job. There are no Metal Gear love triangles or family disputes; Sam is
simply a soldier who is doing his job.
There are 10 levels of single player international espionage and each one contains
multiple paths to complete the primary and secondary objectives. The levels are larger and better designed than the other
games in the series. While many of the scenarios in Pandora Tomorrow were easy on the eyes, they felt too short and
lacked depth. In Chaos Theory, the levels are not only visually impressive but they are expertly designed to offer
a ton of replay value.
The combat in the first two Splinter Cell games contained a slight contradiction. While
they emphasized stealth, Sam Fisher was in possession of the equipment and the abilities to kick some serious ass. Pandora
introduced incremental alert stages in which enemies would outfit themselves with better equipment as the alarm level increased.
This addition, along with some very touchy AI, seemed to force a more restrained type of gameplay. Thankfully, this feature
has been removed from the game and instead Ubisoft lets gamers decide their style of play.
At the beginning of each
level offers an equipment selection screen giving players the choice of a stealth or assault package. There is also a third
option called "Redding's Recommendation" that usually contains a mixture of items best suited to the level. This doesn't solve
the problem of having an overly powerful protagonist, but it does address the issue. Whether players choose stealth or action,
Chaos Theory offers an assortment of new moves and improvements.
First off, Sam now carries a knife that can be used
for quick, lethal takedowns. Sam either jabs an enemy in the gut or takes him down with a quick throat slash. He also brandishes
the blade when interrogating an enemy, which is a bit more threatening than a headlock. The lethal knife attacks are executed
so quickly that it can be very enticing to take care of every threat in this fashion. The knife can also be used to cut through
plastic sheeting and paper walls. This creates even more pathways from which to approach your objectives.
also a number of environment-based kills that allow players to take out the bad guys with style. When a spy is hanging over
an enemy he now has the option to grab him from above and either knock him out or snap his neck. When approaching a door there
are now four options: open door, open door stealth, bash door, and optic cable. The stealth opening allows players to manually
push the door ajar, so as not to disturb whomever is on the other side of it. "Bashing" causes Sam to enter the room with
a quick kick, which knocks out any unlucky soul on the receiving end of the swinging door.
Ratings (scale of 1-10):
Sound effects and music: 9