"Chaos Theory sets a new standard in gaming, how? Read on!"

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Review by MagicalMonkeyMop

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I've been a long time Splinter Cell fan, I have owned every game in the series and I have loved each one. When I heard about Chaos Theory I thought "What the hell does Chaos Theory have to do with Splinter Cell?!" then I thought "I gotta get it!". So a few days after release I walk into my local Best Buy and pick it up for PC, when I got home and plopped it into the drive, I gotta say, I was amazed.

Graphics:

Lets start the review with the graphics, the Splinter Cell games have always pushed dynamic lighting, high quality models and top of the line animation. They have done it again with SCCT; it is a absolutely beautiful game. Extremely high polygon models, the best lighting in any game I have ever seen with fantastic animations that make the game look so real you'll get emersed in this game. The game has it's great graphical touches, like where Sam goes out in the rain, his suit becomes reflective and looks wet- or how the enemies eyes grow wide with horror as you grab them and put a knife to their throat. These are not major, but it makes a big difference when you can tell the enemy's emotions through their eyes.

As for the animation, not only have they been smoothened out but they have added various new moves to Sam's already stunning arsenal, such as the ability to strangle or snap someone's neck as they pass underneath you if your dangling from a pipe, or the ability to pull a enemy off of a ledge- or better yet, the ability to rush up to someone and slit their throat with a combat knife, all the new moves are beautifully brutal and are a new benchmark in games today.

Graphics: 10 out of 10, absolutely jaw dropping.

Sound, Music and Voice Overs:

With the sound, I'm going to immediately go to the voice overs for starters, you have the same cast from Pandora Tomorrow (Michael Ironside etc) doing a excellent job to make this game really feel like a espionage thriller. This game is packed with funny lines, great one-liners and a good showing of in-depth story telling. Sometimes, the voice acting doesn't quite live up to the main actors, such as the various guards and bad guys who sound like they were ripped from the awful Roger Moore James Bond movies. What is good, is that the enemies talk to each other, and I don't mean scripted talking, I mean if they see you they will talk about seeing you in the shadows, they'll get a team of guys who are obviously scared slowly approaching you using squad tactics the entire time.

With all the chatter going on it makes the enemies feel alive, not well acted, but still alive. As for the music, it's fantastic as usual- some heavy techno that fits the theme as well as tribal drums and orchestras, the music is top notch- it's movie quality all the way through and once again, is a new benchmark for the genre, if not games in general. The sound is also great, you can almost feel the rain when you head outside or feel like you are walking inside a ship when you hear the engine noises, your feet on the metal flooring and the talking of people on various decks. The sound, music and voice overs are amazing in general though I cannot give it a 10 out of 10 because of the sometimes bad acting.

Sound: 9 out of 10, great!

Controls and Interface:

The controls in this game are great, they take a bit of getting used to but once you do they do the job quite well. All the special moves Sam has are pulled off easily and moving and jumping is very natural. The interface is well done, no complex menus here, just very well laid out options. Your HUD in game is very easy to read and you always know what does what on screen. I cannot say much more about it, just very well done.

Controls: 9 out of 10, great!

Single Player, Cooperative and Versus:

Single Player: The solo gameplay in this game is fantastic- it is better than the first two Splinter Cell's combined, and is so far the best single player of the stealth/action genre. The game takes place in the near future, during a time where information warfare is the main focus. Japan has started the ISDF service which threatens the Chinese and North Koreans, this starts off what could be a major conflict- especially once New York is hit with a terrorist attack that creates the largest blackout in North American history. I won't go very deep into the plot, but it's quite good and enganging. Sam during the game gets to various locals, from Japanese tea houses, New York apartments and old Spanish forts; there is plenty of diversity to be found here. The levels, though more open ended than the last games are still fairly linear- though there are many ways to complete a objective now. A new ability in this series is the ability to select a "load out" which allows you to select what equipment you bring with you. Though there is not much diversity in weaponry (you are stuck with the SC-20k rifle) there is diversity in your rifle's attachments. Your rifle can be outfitted to be a shotgun, a sniper rifle and of course, a assault rifle- not to mention the various gadgets that go with the rifle (typical air-foil rounds, sticky shockers and grenades). The single player is awesome, but that's only where the game begins...

Cooperative: Wowzaz! Online Co-Op! The co-op in this game is great, and beats the crap out of Halo's any day, the only problem is getting it to work. If you are running it through a router or a firewall you will have to open various ports or disable your firewall in order to play online. On top of that, the co-op tricks the game into thinking that it is just 1 computer, so it's best if you and your teammate have the exact same graphical options when playing. Besides the annoying problems starting up Co-Op, it's worth it. The campaign is not just the single player one, it is it's own seperate game. New levels, moves and voice overs are added for co-op, making it like a second game. It lasts about half as long as the single player, with 5 missions- don't think it's short though, the levels are longer than any in single player and are more difficult. Without a good partner, you will fail these missions at higher difficulty settings. Absolutely fantastic co-op, if you can get it to work.

Versus: Versus is almost identical from the Pandora Tomorrow multiplayer, it does not use the new Chaos Theory engine, but instead uses the old PT one for stability. Co-Op consists of 11 multiplayer maps, 5 of which are old (Deftech, Warehouse, Bank, Muesem and the Mall) with 6 new. The gameplay has two teams, Argus Mercenaries and Shadownet spies trying to either kill the other team or complete various objectives (depending on game modes). While this does not sound new, it is very original in concept- the mercenaries play like a first person shooter, while the spies play like they do in single player- 3rd person. This means that you can sneak up behind a mercenary and break his neck, or pull him off of a ledge, while the mercenaries can kill spies with well-aimed sniper shots or grenades. Absolutely fantastic- though my only issue is with the community. Most players online either suck, or quit during gameplay; so if you are skilled at the game getting any competition is difficult. Besides that, it's a solid multiplayer mode that could be it's own game. Fantastic!

Gameplay: 10 out of 10, jaw dropping!

This is a amazing game, and easily a game of the year title- it's also of a great value, it's basically 3 games in 1 with each offering their various challenges and differences. Make sure you pick this one up as soon as possible, it's easily the best stealth/action game ever made.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory gets a 10 out of 10, a amazing game!

~MagicalMonkeyMop


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/05


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