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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action / Stealth

 

Publisher

UbiSoft

 

Developer

UbiSoft

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

March 31, 2005

 

 

- Excellent visuals

- A nice variety of environmental interactions

- Gameplay feels less restricted

- Navigation through the environments is much easier

 

 

- Too many load times

- Co-op mode is enjoyable, but way too short

- Online play hasn’t seen much change

- Would be nice if all the lights in the environment could be shot out

 

 

Review: Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory (NG)

Review: Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow (XB)

Review: Splinter Cell (PS2)

Review: Spy Fiction (PS2)

 

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Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Score: 8.6 / 10

 

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is the third installment of Ubi Soft’s popular stealth action game. The new game in the series has undergone some drastic changes offline, but remains relatively the same online.

 

splinter cell chaos theory review          splinter cell chaos theory review

 

If you have ever played either of the first two Splinter Cell games, then you’ll know that the gameplay was relatively linear and not open ended. Chaos Theory changes this by taking the focus away from the stealth side of things by incorporating more action elements.

 

This time around the single player campaign is much more enjoyable than either of the campaigns of the first two games. Most the single player missions don’t restrict you to use stealth all the time. If you feel the need you can usually shoot your way through most of the levels. To help accommodate the changes in gameplay, Sam Fisher has received several weapon upgrades. Your trusty SC-20K now comes equipped with an option for a shotgun attachment and Sam also carries a combat knife with him too. The combat knife is extremely useful for dealing with enemies quietly and at close range.

 

Aside from the weapons, there are also a number of new environmental interactions. For example, when approaching a locked door, you now have the old options of using an optic cable, picking the lock or the new option of breaking the lock. You can also use the environment to your advantage against the enemies too. If you come upon a door with an enemy standing near the door on the other side you can seriously injure or kill an enemy by bashing the door open. One of my favorite new moves is the water based kills. Certain levels will feature pools or hot tubs for you to hide in. If an enemy approaches the water, you can grab the enemy and drown him.

 

Before each mission, you’ll be given the general background of the current situation from Sam’s associates. Before you begin your mission you can now finally choose what weapon load-out you want. There are three basic choices for weapon load outs: Recommended, Assault, and Stealth. So you can choose your load out based on the way you’re most accustomed to playing.

 

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Like I mentioned before, the single player game is more open-ended this time around. In most missions you won’t be restricted by alarms or restricted from killing enemies. One of the great things about Chaos Theory’s single player mode is that the game doesn’t heavily penalize you for not completing all your primary or secondary objectives. If you fail to complete one or more of your primary objectives, then you’ll usually worry about your other objectives and complete your missed 

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objectives in a different mission. However, you will occasionally come across certain missions that restrict you from killing enemies, so there is some déjà vu from the previous games.

 

One of the most welcomed additions to the Chaos Theory is the inclusion of an in-game map. During anytime during the game, you can pause and look at the in-game map, which shows you the exact location of all your objectives. This time around navigating the environments is much less problematic than in the first two games.

 

Even with all the drastic changes to the single player game Chaos Theory suffers from the same problems that hindered the first two games. Each of the single player missions in the game are split up into different sections, each with its own loading time. So you’ll usually come across three or four load times per level, and it becomes rather annoying and takes you out of the thick of things. One of the most annoying things about Chaos Theory is the fact that not all the lights in the environments are able to be shot out. So unfortunately you cannot manufacture your own darkness.

 

splinter cell chaos theory review          splinter cell chaos theory review

 

Chaos Theory features a new two player offline cooperative mode. The levels for the cooperative mode are built from scratch. The idea of the cooperative mode is relatively the same as the single player mode, both you and your partner play as Spies trying to complete various objectives. One thing that makes cooperative stand out is the heavy emphasis placed on team work. There are a number of special team-based moves placed specially in the co-op mode. You can do various things like give a boost to your partner or use your partner as a ladder. The only unfortunate thing about this mode is the length. There are only a total of four levels and each of the levels can be completed in less than ten minutes. The cooperative mode is still a nice addition, and hopefully Ubi Soft expands upon this mode in future titles.

 

Following up on Pandora Tomorrow’s multiplayer, Chaos Theory features online play for up to four players. The online play sees spies pitted against mercenaries. There are three modes of play: sabotage, neutralization and extraction. Each of the three modes plays out relatively similar to one another, but the online play still proves to be fun nevertheless.

 

Visually speaking Chaos Theory is easily the best looking Splinter Cell game. The animations for both your own character as well as the enemies look superb. The development team incorporated the Havoc Physics Engine, so the death animations now look extremely impressive. I there are some minor clipping problems, but overall Chaos Thoery shows off what the PS2 hardware is capable of.

 

Overall Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory makes a lot of additions and introduces some new things that will hopefully be expanded upon in future versions of the series. If the first two games left you in the dark with the heavy emphasis on stealth, then Chaos Theory will certainly intrigue you as there’s the option to play it like an action game.

 

- Siddharth Masand

(April 24, 2005)

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