2005 Reviews

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

  • Review Date: 2011-01
  • Release Date: 2005-03
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Rating: 5.5

I am, first and foremost, a fan of action-oriented shooters. Not stealth. However I can tolerate it. I played through Thief 3: Deadly Shadows, and it was one of the most memorable games i've ever played. The Chronicles of Riddick also had it's fair share of stealth. Just as long as there's a good story and atmospheric design to go with the game, then I can tolerate stealth.

Now Thief 3 definitely had an enthralling story and it's graphics, with great level designs and lighting, were excellent. Which meant I could put up with the sometimes frustrating gameplay.

Chaos Theory, on the other hand, was weak the in the storyline and the design sometimes looked a bit bland. However the actual stealth gameplay was a fair bit more enjoyable. Probably 90% of the enemies I ended up taking out; by means of strangling them unconcious, hitting them in the head or a gun shot. So it meant I wasn't going back and forth creeping around enemies. The actual gunfights in Chaos Theory were frustrating though. If you only have one enemy to hit then you have no problems, but taking on two or three is a problem because your weapons are very useless. Same enemies seem to take quite a lot of bullets before they finally die, and you simply don't have that many bullets to begin with. I guess it's designed this way so that you use your guns as little as possible. However I would have preferred more accurate weapons, but perhaps less ammunition.

In the graphics area, Chaos Theory's lighting looks great. There's high contrast throughout and some great lighting effects. But you would expect this from a stealth game where shadows are an important element. The level design, however, could have been better. For most of the game it looked decent, but considering you move at snails pace and there's only ten levels, which are all fairly small, they could have focused on a lot more detail or set pieces. I mean they do all look good, but I could have designed these levels all single-handedly in six months. Ubisoft is one of the biggest game studios in the world. They had a dozen level designers working on the game. So, I'd expect the level design to be amazing, not just decent.

The story is supposedly a big part of the game as your chasing terrorists in a plot to launch Korea and USA to war. However it was convoluted, boring and confusing. The story fell flat. The only positive here was the often amusing humour of the main character.

So what is the best thing about Chaos Theory? The soundtrack, composed by Amon Tobin.

Overall Chaos Theory has no replay value for me. By the end of the game, which was a good ten hours, I was getting bored with it. Not helped by having to repeat the entire last level because I killed one of the enemies, not realising I needed him for a retinal scan. The game has a few of these gameplay bugs that should have been ironed out in testing. Another time a scripted sequence never triggered, meaning I was completely stuck.

If you like stealth games though, it's fairly enjoyable.