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Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

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Level 36
Mar 15, 2006
I cannot talk enough about how fucking perfect this game is in every way. It's another older game (2005) that holds up so well that I play it every year (I have a list of games that I just go through and replay every year, and I've been doing it with Chaos Theory annually for the last 3). You can pick it up on Steam for EXTRA cheap, and it is by far the best Splinter Cell experience you will ever have.

Like, where do I even fucking start? Okay, stealth. This is the most hardcore stealth game you will ever play. Sure, it lets you choose whether you're going to just barge in there and shoot the place up, or use stealth- but if you're clever, it's actually much easier to complete the levels via stealth (the gradual alarm stage system makes sure of that), so it's like the game actually rewards you for being patient and clever and doing the level the way it's meant to be played.

This is super important for me because lately Splinter Cell has become pretty much an action game with a few stealth features. It's not even close to what it was. Ubisoft has previously said that Chaos Theory was just too hardcore for casual gamers, and I agree. It is not a casual gamers game. But when I was new and sucked at Splinter Cell, I looked at strategy guides when I couldn't figure out what to do, and eventually I got good enough that I didn't need them. And you know what? Actually going through the crazy, crazy steps it takes to complete a Chaos Theory level is insanely rewarding- much moreso than just shooting my way through a level in Conviction or whatever.

Story. All of the Splinter Cell games actually have a fairly strong story, but Chaos Theory's has always been my favourite. If you like reading, there are a number of excellent Splinter Cell books. Unfortunately, after the first 2 (Splinter Cell, and Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda), the plot 'resets' itself and just ignores the events of the first 2, which is a damn shame. They're in first person, so you're literally inside Sam's head. Really great for immersing yourself in the Splinter Cell experience- it gives the characters a lot more depth and really gives more weight to what you're doing in the games.

Music. Chaos Theory is unique because the soundtrack was done by the composer Amon Tobin, who is insanely, ridiculously talented. The soundtrack for the game is the PERFECT stealth atmosphere, and the audio clips actually adapt so that the music changes depending on the amount of tension in your current situation. Alarm stage 3 and being chased by guards? The soundtrack goes ballistic, really ups the tension.
If you're skeptical about how much impact a bit of music can have on your gaming experience, listen to this and tell me that it doesn't sound like the perfect music for sneaking around.

It's my favourite song off the soundtrack and honestly gives me fucking chills every time I listen to that opening. The soundtrack proved to be so popular with fans that it was actually released as a stand-alone OST, which is pretty rare for games. Even special editons for super popular blockbuster games usually bundle the OST in with the limited collector's edition or whatever the fuck. No. This game's soundtrack sold in stores all by itself. That's how rad it was. You can still pick it up on Amazon these days, though I'm personally looking for one of the ultra-rare vinyl picture disc versions.

There have been rumours that the new Splinter Cell game will be a 'return to form' of sorts, and will be the most like Chaos Theory yet, which if you ask me is the best news ever. I only hope it's true. There are tons of generic action/stealth games out there. If I wanted one of those, I'd buy one. If I wanted hardcore stealth games that make me feel like a superspy, then I would go straight for a Splinter Cell title.

Also- this game came out in 05 but goddamn does it hold up well to the test of time. The gameplay is right up there with the best of 'em, and doesn't show any kind of age. The graphics obviously are not as good as anything contemporary, but they don't look dated and don't really throw you out of the realism all that much. If you have a PS3 you can actually by an HD remake version of the game as part of a bundle that includes HD rereleases of the first 3 games. It's the only time I've been seriously tempted to buy a PS3.

Have you played Chaos Theory? If so, what did you think? If not, what are you waiting for?
Level 22
Jun 28, 2010
Chaos Theory was the best Splinter Cell I ever played (the second being Double Agent, which is more disappointing and the Conviction was lack the stealth Chaos Theory had and too action) I remembered how cool the Co-op was. Climbing, breaking, supporting together. The light and sound aspect in it. How we uses tactic like sticky cameras and such, throwing teammates :D
Level 11
May 10, 2008
i sadly never played Chaos Theory, the only one i played was the Pandora Tommorow, and even that one i only played for like 2 levels, so i didn't really play it, but it definitely was an interesting and realistic stealth game. The only stealth game i can think of i completed would have to be Metal Gear Solid 4 : Guns of the Patriots, and i honestly loved that game to death, probably one of the best games i played regardless how long the cinematics were (some lasted for 2 hours +). As for what i'm waiting for would be the new Metal Gear Rising game, I think it will be awesome playing as Raiden and actually slice things into a million pieces, but i'm going to really miss the stealth espionage gameplay from the Metal Gear Solid games, idk how well the game will do but i'll get it regardless of what anyone says.
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