The story mode is well organized and feels like a second campaign, just with human opponents. Level design is as stellar as the single player, and just as varied. Along for the ride are your typical modes, deathmatch and the like, but playing them in the context of terrorists and secret agents is a breath of fresh air, compared to the ungodly amount of cookie-cutter shooters available today. Put simply, Chaos Theory’s multiplayer is what Pandora Tomorrow’s should have been, we just never knew it playing the second game. The polish has tweaked the experience considerably, and you owe it to yourself to go head to head with some fellow spies.
The cooperative mode takes the gut-wrenching single player and makes it impossible to complete without a partner. Many of the puzzles now require interaction between two people, be it a simple boost up a wall or using a partner as a human ladder. If your teammate is knocked unconscious, it is possible to revive him or her. Equipment can be shared. This is one of the only cooperative games that really takes cooperation to complete, a rare occurrence these days.
In an industry that is becoming clogged with clone sequels, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory proves that new ideas are still valuable. It takes the tired formula of the spy game and infuses it with new life, and a much needed feel of realism. Don’t get me wrong; I love typical spy thrillers. Over the top bad guys and endless explosions can be very entertaining. I’m a huge 007 fan, and I’m feverishly anticipating EA’s From Russia with Love. But Splinter Cell is such a departure from the humdrum that I can’t help but get sucked into it. It’s a meaty game with a LOT of content, and all of it has a sense of realism that is unmatched. The story is eerily believable, and the characters could exist in today’s world. I don’t think you can say the same of super lasers, Metal Gear and villains like Dr. No and Revolver Ocelot. Sorry Snake, but it’s time to grow up now.
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is everything a spy game should be. It takes the relaiable conventions of the previous two Splinter Cells and polishes them to sparkling perfection. There are only a few minor irritations along the way, and the outstanding package as a whole outshines anything remotely bad. This title is sure to sate your stealth/action needs for months to come.
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