Review by RogueStriker

"Sam Fisher is a Splinter Cell. Are you?"

Game Introduction (Taken from the back of the case): What if an algorithm could crash the stock markets, black out New York, and hijack ballistic missiles? THIS IS 2007. THIS IS REALITY. The one programmer who has the key to this algorithm has vanished. Find him at any cost. Bring the battle closer to the enemy - bring it to their soil before the chain of chaos becomes unstoppable. You are Sam Fisher. You are a Splinter Cell.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is the 3rd game in the Splinter Cell series. Created by Ubisoft, Third Echelon's Sam Fisher once again defends America and the world from terrorists. With new features and advances to the gameplay, Chaos Theory increases the highly favorable reputation of the video game series. I will like to point out that I have not really played the two previous games.

- Excellent single player experience
- Great story
- New Gameplay mode: Co-op is fun
- Soundtrack by Amon Tobin rocks (seriously)
- Michael Ironside and other voice actors do a great job

- The only reward for gaining 100% in Mission Statistics is your own satisfaction
- Trying to play online can get frustrating due to server or game problems
- Spies vs. Mercenaries while still innovative, is again a hit-or-miss gameplay mode to some

Story: (9/10)
The story is amazing for a stealth/action game. While Third Echelon and Fisher search for the missing programmer, Japan causes an uproar across the Asian Pacific with the release of the government's Information Self-Defense Force (I-SDF). Continuing this game leads to a much deeper and darker story. Probably the only gripe with the story is how some elements don't flow in as well as it should be.

Graphics: (10/10)
Ubisoft does an excellent job with the graphics. Everything looks nice from Sam the man himself to the lightening of the environment. The difference between Shader Model 1.1 and 3.0 is huge. I played this game on a laptop and I was still surprised at the detail, though I had trouble looking at keypads. I blame my ATI Mobility Radeon 9000.

Controls: (9/10)
Controls for the single player game work really well and is easy to understand. The Co-op control scheme is similar to single player. Meanwhile, with spies vs. mercenaries there is a different control scheme for each type of character. I have a hard time remembering the controls for spies vs. mercenaries so that is why I gave out a 9.

Gameplay: (9/10)
In single-player, there is the addition of the knife, the OCP and the noise meter bar. The knife is a nice weapon to use while taking out an enemy up close. The OCP or Optically Channeled Potentiator is attached to the 5-7 SC Pistol. It is used to disable any electronic device for a short amount of time. The noise meter bar is useful with the steatlh meter bar in becoming silent and deadly. The missions now have less linear paths, allowing more freedom and different experiences in reaching a said point. Sam Fisher's weapons and moves are fun to use and do in the game. Using the Split Jump still looks cool. In co-op, the use of two people introduces a few nifty tricks that can't be done without a partner. It's fun to work with a partner and voice chat is possible while playing. Spies vs. Mercenaries is a gameplay mode that not all can enjoy including me. Though it looks fun, there's a huge learning curve in this gameplay mode and it can be frustrating if the player does not know what to do. Take a huge look of the map to have a higher chance of winning.

Music: (10/10)
Ever heard of Amon Tobin? Me neither until I started playing this game. The soundtrack composed by Tobin is excellent and really fits the atmosphere of the game. Setting off alerts and being in tough situations makes the music run faster and in a desperate tune. I listen to "El Cargo" many times and even the soundtrack to Chaos Theory is available for purchase. The sounds effects are great, for example the movements of Fisher and the different types of gunfire. The voice acting is great too, Michael Ironside again gives out the great characteristics and sarcastic charm in Fisher. Third Echelon and the enemies sound great also. Have fun listening to the conversations between Fisher and the rest of the Third Echelon team. Choosing the Natural Language option scares me.

Lasting Appeal: (7/10)
Single player is great, lasts 5-10 hrs and is worth replaying over again. Co-op and spies vs. mercenaries allow many countless hours of gameplay. So why did I give this game a 7 in Lasting Appeal? The two reasons I have is the mission statistics and online. Completing the single-player mode with 100% in mission statistics gives you no bonuses whatsoever. I think fans should be rewarded for beating the game without even allowing the enemy any chance of attack on the player. Getting the game to work online is so frustrating. Not only do errors and freezes hamper the gameplay, but also trying to get the game started takes awhile for the most part. If this were a review of the XBOX version, I would gladly be proud of playing online, but on the PC, it's a pain in the butt to work with and sometimes doesn't feel worth it to get it started.

Hit, Miss or Try: Hit for the Splinter Cell Fans. Try for the newcomers and stealth/action fans.

Final Say: I highly enjoyed this game, the music, the characters and co-op mode. I'm not a fan of spies vs. mercenaries but that's just an opinion. I'm really disappointed on getting the game to work online and I wish Ubisoft did more work on the online servers. This is why Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory for the PC is not perfect in my books.

Score: 9/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/27/06

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