The Splinter Cell series includes only two released titles, but that pair of games has done wonders for the genre. The first Splinter Cell installment has catapulted stealth gaming to the popular place it holds within the gaming community today. Even by today’s standards, it’s a very fun and engaging game to play. The second in the series, Pandora Tomorrow, brought with it a lot of hype and it included the multi-player element that was missed in the first game. Unlike many multi-players, Pandora Tomorrow tries to balance forces. You can play as either a mercenary or a spy, each having their pros and cons. And with a maximum of only four players per game, two mercenaries and two spies, the rounds are more thrilling and strategic than if there were more players; playing a multi-player with twenty gamers can often evolve into a frenetic experience. Pandora Tomorrow‘s multi-player forces you to be more team oriented, because it is just you and your partner battling your foes, and you have to rely on each other if you want to win. Of course, the single player mission is outstanding also, adding new moves to the already agile Sam Fisher.
Now, UbiSoft has developed a third game in the stealth, action series: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is due to release in March of this year. Actually, it should have been on shelves last year. Fans are waiting with anticipation to discover if Chaos Theory will live up to the Splinter Cell reputation for being one of the most innovative stealth action gaming series on the market.
Chaos Theory brings new and improved elements to the series without sacrificing the traditionally strong aspects of the previous two games. The Splinter Cell series is known for its great single player experience and, since the release of Pandora Tomorrow, its multi-player game as well. Chaos Theory takes the series’ multi-player option to the next level: it includes a cooperative mode. While the multi-player in the sequel is more team oriented than in other games, in Chaos Theory you have the option to plan infiltration missions against the A.I. with a partner over the Internet.
For fans of the series, the co-op mode will sound like a godsend. In Chaos Theory, you get three games in one. This is due to the fact that the co-op missions are different from those found in the single player, and the scenery included in them is specifically designed for this mode, while the multi-player maps are designed separately. When trying to conceptualize the cooperative mode, think of 007: Everything or Nothing; the maps for this mode are also different from those found in the multi-player and single player modes. If all this is not cooperative enough, add the fact that if your teammate dies it’s “Game Over, man!”
Now, you really have to work with your partner. As a single player, you have some control over the partnership dynamic, however. Both players can heal each other via an adrenaline shot, so the survival and success of the duo isn’t necessarily predetermined by the strength of your partner.
Aside from forcing the gamer’s mind to play within this unique strategic design, Chaos Theory also includes moves exclusively for the cooperative mode. These moves require both players to perform then in tandem, and there’s also a case-sensitive co-op button. There are four levels in this mode and they all have cases throughout when you have to use these moves in order to advance. Players that have experienced a cooperative mode in other games and have played any of the Splinter Cell games, have a better idea of what Chaos Theory will be in that respect.
The multi-player competition also gets revamped, with new weapons and the ability to perform some of the co-op moves. These are just examples of the minor changes to make an already amazing multi-player even better. There are going to be three multi-player modes in Chaos Theory: Story, Disk Hunt and Deathmatch. In Story mode, you have different objectives that you must complete in order to win a round. The element that makes the difference in this mode is the fact that the completion of some of the objectives change the layout of the map or the access location to some areas, so you get an ever-changing map to compete on. The Disk Hunt mode puts spies in the position of finding computer disks throughout the map (there must be a shortage of disks in Splinter Cell) and the mercenaries have to try and stop them. Finally, there’s the must-have mode: Deathmatch. This is a no-brainer. Just kill your enemies. It’s that simple.
With the promising new cooperative mode and the legendary multi-player mode, one might easily forget that there is still a single player mode. This is where Splinter Cell succeeded at in the first place, and in Chaos Theory the gameplay has been updated and improved. The cool moves, handy gadgets and firepower have returned as Fisher’s allies. The remarkable A.I. from previous games has been improved on for part three; it promises to be a more challenging game than before. Besides the challenge, Chaos Theory also aims to have more replay value. If the games before had it, now it’s going to be more tempting to go back and play the missions again because there are going to be different ways to finishing them. The game promises that the player will really be able to complete a mission as a shadow, without alerting anyone and without bloodshed. Or, if you prefer a less subtle approach, you can take out the big guns and destroy all enemies to reach your goals. All in all, it claims to be more open-ended than the previous efforts.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory looks impressive and promising, even more so than the hyped Pandora Tomorrow, thanks to the new features the game is boasting. Fans of Splinter Cell and stealth games don’t need to be told to check out Chaos Theory, and if you aren’t a big action stealth fan, but enjoy a good game, the Splinter Cell series gives a strong historical case for trying Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.