When you talk about great and exceptional titles, few franchises come to mind. We have the Halo series for the Xbox, the Gran Turismo and Sly franchises for the PS2 and Zelda on the Cube. Another franchise that is certainly worthy of joining the list is Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, which has released its latest iteration, subtitled Chaos Theory. Does Chaos Theory bring something new to the genre, and be worthy of such recognition? Read our full review to find out!
For the uninitiated, Splinter Cell is, in my opinion, the most perfect simulation of stealth action in a videogame ever. Now please don’t take me as some Splinter Cell fan boy. In fact, I must say I am not the kind of person that has a whole lot of patience with these sort of games, but being an editor I do see that the game has that distinct formula that for the first two games has just plainly worked.
So now let’s move onto Chaos Theory itself, and talk about what’s new in this game and if it’s worth the upgrade. Well one of the lowest points I think the Splinter Cell series has had is its storylines, which to be honest just seem to drag and lack originality. However I don’t want to really give any of this year’s story away as it really is one of now the stronger points the game has to offer. It is now suspenseful and really seems like a movie within a game. Now I am not saying it’s as coherent as the Metal Gear Solid series and its story lines but it is really interesting and will keep you wondering throughout!
One of the most influential additions this year is the addition of a knife to Sam Fisher’s arsenal. Now most people probably wouldn’t think this would be all that big of an upgrade, but to be honest it does offer up a whole lot more to the game. For one, they’re great for silent and up close executions. The whole knife implementation was really quite significant and really enabled you to really take advantage of some of the tougher spots the game has to offer.
Another key addition to the game is that it tries to move away from being so linear and that enables you to take more then one method of trying to get through levels. Now in the game it is more accessible to try and run your way through the game, although this way in many cases is significantly harder it still allows more of an opportunity to do it. This may make some of the hardcore fans a little agitated, but I think for the most part people should be pretty excited about the ability to really decide how you want to complete the missions. Overall the single player is by far the best out of the three, and really does the best job of giving you the choice on how to carry out the missions and also combines that with a solid story line.
It was in the last game Pandora Tomorrow that we saw the arrival of multiplayer, which really has given the game a whole new dimension. Similar to Pandora Tomorrow, the Xbox Live support is pretty much the same thing, so if you liked the last one you will enjoy this as it posts up the spies versus the mercenaries in a four person battle. But not only that but the game also includes the Co-Op mode that is something I think a lot of people are excited about, and for good reason. This is a very crucial mode in the game and although it can be kind of weird to play the game with people on Live, it’s an easy way to learn new tricks and just to get to know people as well. The mode requires a lot of communication and teamwork, therefore when playing this game with a friend you really see it at its fullest potential. The online portions of the game really just amount to so much that you really get two games for the price of one.
Overall the gameplay of Chaos Theory was honestly spectacular. As I tried to see what negative aspects of the game I could find, I was really left with none, and that right there just shows you how impressive this game is. I am not even a huge stealth fan and the gameplay in this game has been refined in a way that I just find spectacular. The online mode does take some time to get used to but the overall gameplay quality was solid and flawless.
I think if I had to pick the most impressive quality the Splinter Cell series has had, it would have to be hands down the graphics, which have amazed me since the original. Just the use of lighting and shadows is just the most amazing experience, and to be honest it is games like these that really get you excited about the next generation of consoles. So does Chaos Theory keep me drooling?
What is crazy about Chaos Theory is that it actually improved upon last year’s Pandora Tomorrow. I honestly thought this series was getting to the peak of where it could be on the Xbox but this year just really impressed me. You can see that the developers did a tremendous amount of work to get this game where it is and the amount of detail found in Chaos Theory is absolutely astounding. The lighting effects are still brilliant and shockingly in some of the darker levels, you can even see more work done on these effects to really give an amazing look.
Mr. Fisher himself isn’t all that much more detailed but the game just looks great from start to finish. Even when online the game really just performs beautifully and I didn’t experience an overwhelming amount of lag either. Overall this may be the best-looking Xbox game out there.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is a game that really tests a lot of your patience, and that I think is one of its strongest qualities. The single player mode is by far the strongest one of the series. The one thing I must admit is that I didn’t have as much fun online because a lot of the players seemed to think they knew it all and therefore you really had to be quite skilled in the game to really play online. With that being said the game still really offers up a really fun experience and if you enjoyed the previous two games you will enjoy this one.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is by far the best game that the series has produced, which is not an easy task. The game just combines both great single and multiplayer experience, which really makes your $50, go along way. If you’re a fan of the series I really think this is a must have and I can guarantee you, you won’t be disappointed.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.