Review by Deezlink
Fun even when you accidentally throw the rock at the guards
I was always into sneaking around when I was a kid, just for fun. Heck, I did it to see how far I could get. I even took out books from the library about it. So a few months ago, while hanging out at my friends house, he introduced me to (Tom Clancy's) Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. It was all I dreamed about, being a spy with some high tech tools, and actually, get this: spying. I shortly purchased this game after playing.
The story of the game is basically a bunch of short stories, or missions, that all somehow connect to an ending. I can not really explain it, but the story is not needed to make the game fun. However, it is a great added touch, and the co-op (I will get into this later) story is also very awesome.
The first thing you'll notice when you start playing is that it is in a third person view. It is out of the normal at first if you are used to first person shooters, but I am glad this approach was taken. The game itself is divided into a few tasks which can be accomplished in many ways itself. You can hack a computer, bribe a guard, break into a compound, to get whatever information you need. All while being stealthy. But how does the game actually run?
Well, you have two meters: light and sound. The light meter is represented by a black to white image that has a little bar that shows you, well, how bright the light is that you are in. This should be kept in the black range as much as possible, to avoid being caught. The sound meter is a grid based system with a square box indicating the limit of sound you can make (due to surroundings), and should not be gone too far above. While in the later games the system of sound and light are done in a different manner, I find this system to be the most accurate and greatest of all of them so far due to simplicity. But since the game is in the dark, you need to have a way to see where you are going. Due to this, you are equipped with night vision, electricity vision, and thermal vision goggles, which can easily be switched with the D-Pad. Night vision is self explanatory. Electricity vision can be used to see turrets, cameras, computers, whatever you would need to see that has electrons flowing through it. Thermal can be used to diffuse bombs that have a hot wire in them, to see people, anything that is living and breathing (but don't get scared when that oven has a red glow around it). The system of all the different views is a great one at that, and this game would be unthinkable without it.
The combat is complex. You can knock out a person or kill them, depending on if you want a 100% completion rating for the mission. You have a gun at your disposal, but in all honestly, you will not need it much (to shoot bullets, that is). Most of the time you will be taking men out by hand, sneaking up behind them (or leading them towards you by throwing a rock at a close wall and waiting). The system is pretty much a sandbox, dropping you in with some flash grenades, shootable cameras to check on the enemy, and a pistol that has the capability to stop electricity flows to stop a camera from seeing every move you make. There is so many more ways that this game operates, but outlining every
move that is possible and situation would fill up anyones attention span. The game is so open ended that it is almost hilarious. You can bash a door open, stealthy open it, or just screw the door and blow a hole through the wall.
The AI is programmed superbly. If they get scared, they will start shooting into the darkness. They can trigger alarms, yell to their buddies, and you will not once feel cheated. If you lose in the game, you will know it is because you deserved it. :P
However, that is one of the biggest flaws in the game. You are thrown a few video tutorials and a huge manual, and that is it. From there it is all yourself experimenting with what works and does not. It is really vague at explaining how to play the game, so newbies: beware. It will take a little bit to get used to how the game plays and works. However, plying the game with a friend will cut this time in half.
The co-op, while short, is a very fun part of the game. It is the reason I originally purchased the game and it lives up to what I expected from it. It is relatively short, though, about 30 minutes for each section of a mission, and theres 5 missions in total. However, the replay value is quite great.
You can replay this game many times due to the sheer open endness of the game. It is not as much as a game such as Grand Theft Auto, but it is still impressive. The Co-Op and online multiplayer (which I have not had a chance to play, due to problems with my PS2) add even more hours to the time you'll spend happily wasting the day being a spy.
Give the game a chance; it is a nice break from all the normal shooters you will play. Find it used for $10 dollars like I did, and it will best the best $10 you ever spent.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (US, 03/28/05)
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