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Review: Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the *gurk* dept.

Games 194

Not every worthwhile game title involves headshots, big explosions, high speed racing, or athletic prowess. The stealth genre, which started to gain attention with the likes of Tenchu: Stealth Assassin, is now typified by the modern military series Splinter Cell. The newest title, Chaos Theory, improves on concepts introduced in previous games, continues to offer a unique multiplayer experience, and expands the gameplay in a few minor ways. All told, Splinter Cell : Chaos Theory is a worthy successor to the previous games in the series, and offers up familiar gameplay that never once feels stale.

  • Title: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • System: Xbox
  • Reviewer: Zonk
  • Score: 9/10
* Splinter Cell titles center around the missions of Sam Fisher, an American military tool in the information warfare age. Chaos Theory, like the titles that preceded it, follow the exploits of Mr. Fisher as he moves from one mission to another. Events and characters that mimic real world analogues very closely fill the game, and despite some nonexistent devices to further gameplay (like hacking a computer from across a room), the impression you receive is that Sam Fisher's world is very much our own.

As such, the entire game is steeped in realism to preserve the flavour of the modern day experience. The graphics and lighting are gorgeous, and the fluidity of motion that the game's character portray is extremely impressive. The artificial intelligence of enemy opponents, while not perfect, is certainly better than many other titles in the stealth genre. This allows for some lovely emergent gameplay, as you can take actions in the game world and can plan on a logical reaction taking place. The first mission allows you a perfect opportunity to try this out, with two mercenaries patrolling near a tent. Taking out the merc outside the tent allows you access to the generator for a large lighting system nearby. By turning off the generator, you make the guard inside the tent curious...a vice which gets cats and guards in trouble.

* The need for stealth in the game is paramount, but not as rigorously enforced as in previous titles. You can set off as many alarms as you like, and until you are slain the mission isn't over. This, and nearly every other, addition to the Splinter Cell gameplay library was made to make the game more accessible to players. The addition of a knife to Sam's arsenal allows him to take out enemies in a single thrust in near silence. Gunshots are noisy and attract attention, but laying out your opponents with deadly fire is an accepted way to complete a mission. The previous titles were extremely punishing of mistakes, and Chaos Theory counteracts that by allowing Sam to take on a more kick-ass take-names approach. If you've played the previous incarnations a great deal, you may find the going easier than you expect. Higher difficulty settings are provided to challenge the more skilled. This eased gameplay also allows for more than one way to complete a mission. Even if you decide to kill the captain of the cargo ship without interrogating him, you can still sweep the ship with your weapon drawn looking for your target. Arbitrariness and gameyness have been deliberately reduced.

* That sense of realism is extended by the story and voice acting. The tale centers around a series of missions which take you from one end of the earth to the other. Each mission has a good deal of background to it, and the depth of the Chaos Theory story is entirely at your discretion as the mission briefings are entirely skippable. Each portion of the mission briefing is handled by one of the memorable non-player characters, each with their own area of expertise. The memorable nature of these characters is solely based on the quality of the dialogue writing, which comes off very natural and spiced with quality humor, and the skill with which the voice actors portray their roles. Fan favorite Don Jordan returns as Irving Lambert, and Michael Ironside returns to the tight fitting bodysuit of Sam Fisher.

The score, by Amon Tobin, nicely accentuates the mood and temp of the game with a modern vibe that never feels as though it was composed by software. Tobin's composition, his first for a videogame, is very promising. I hope to hear more from him in the future.

* Like the previous title, Pandora Tomorrow, Chaos Theory isn't something you have to enjoy alone. Multiplayer via Xbox Live is once again a unique experience. The four-player Mercenaries vs. Spies gameplay returns, with some tweaks and refinements. To ensure that you're briefed on the objectives of the multiplayer game, you are required to go through a training scenario. The maps allow you a range of several types of gameplay, including a deathmatch, a disk capture mode that is a variation on keep-away, and a new story mode. Story mode is probably the most interesting addition, forcing the mercs and spies to complete several missions in sequence and tying them all together with a workable plot. Chaos Theory has a lot of living room local multiplayer potential as well, with four cooperative levels available. There are several moves that two spies working together can accomplish, and the gameplay is accentuated by a story which works the co-op levels in as part of the backstory to the single player campaign.

Nothing is perfect, of course. While I enjoyed the game, my previous experience with Splinter Cell titles is limited. I found the game challenging on Normal mode, but players who have honed their skills on less forgiving titles may view the single player campaign as a cakewalk. The darkness mechanic can start to feel slightly contrived after a while, as you move through areas that wouldn't be as dark as the game allows them to be. The realism of other areas of the game makes it a jarring experience when you find a well guarded part of a bank in pitch blackness. The co-op mode, finally, could have been more fleshed out. Cooperative play is one of the most interesting aspects of modern gaming, and I would have liked to see a more developed co-op aspect for this title. Minor complaints, but the attention to detail that the game takes in all other areas makes weak points stand out.

For fans of the previous games, and players who enjoy modern tales, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is a perfect fit. It has a sensibility all its own, and the high praise it has garnered around the industry is well deserved. If you're looking for a stealth action title, Chaos Theory will fit your needs with military exacting precision.

Screenshots are from Microsoft's official Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Xbox site, ©2005 Microsoft and Ubisoft.

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194 comments

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First (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272155)

FG - First time for graphics on slasdot?

Re:First (1)

Nodar (821035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272376)

no, penny arcade had graphics

Re:First (4, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272562)

The inclusion of more relevant graphics on slashdot may be to discourage readers from blocking all images on slashdot pages (which would block some advertisements...)... in addition to graphics sometimes being very useful of course.

I'm basing this partially on this CmdrTaco comment. [slashdot.org] Am I reading it right?

fnggnagst (1)

Helen Keller (842669) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272160)

postgnnnnnnnngngngnaaaahhh

Apparently the article tried some stealth too... (5, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272163)

"Nothing for you to see here, move along". Yeah, right. Jedi mind tricks won't work on me, Mr. Fisher.

Dear Moderator: RTFA! (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272401)

"Mr. Fisher" is the main character of the reviewed game, and he must use stealth. So, instead of giving parent poster its deserved +1 funny, you scream your ignorance with -1 offtopic. Oh well...

An infomercial? (-1, Troll)

Gogogoch (663730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272173)

Is this an Infomercial?

Where are the ninjas? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272183)

Tenchu still rules. I want to have Ayame's children.

Wait. I mean. I want her to have my children? Is that it???

I want to fuck her. However I say that politely. ^_~

Two out of Four... (5, Informative)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272193)

"Not every worthwhile game title involves headshots, big explosions, high speed racing, or athletic prowess."

Stealth games always have the first two items on that list.

Re:Two out of Four... (1)

ElVaquero (867318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272248)

athletic prowess Yeah, I hear the physics system on the beer gut is top notch.

Re:Two out of Four... (3, Informative)

mog007 (677810) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272397)

I'm a big fan of the Splinter Cell series. I love the stealth genre, and I was first in line to buy the game after I played the demo a few weeks ago. It's still extremely unstable, however. I don't mean unstable like SC2, where the game would crash after browsing for more than 10 seconds for a multiplayer game to join, more like... piss poor porting. I was getting blue screens during play, until I read on a forum to uncheck one of the advanced video options, that only prevented the blue screens while the game was running, it would then do it every time I quit the game. After a few days of doing that, I played it again, and it said my saves were corrupted. Needless to say, I'm not impressed with Ubisoft.

Re:Two out of Four... (5, Funny)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272530)

It certainly can't be a problem with your hardware.

Re:Two out of Four... (1)

wyldwyrm (693798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272591)

And a without headshots and big explosions, the only real way to attract teenage kids is full frontal nudity....

Re:Two out of Four... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272925)

Where do the big explosions come in Thief?

Little explosions from the fire arrows and mines, sure, but I don't remember any big ones.

Brought to you by... (3, Funny)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272199)

The slashdot advertising department in cooperation with Microsoft (c).

Re:Brought to you by... (0, Troll)

bfline (859619) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272513)

I hope this advertisement disguised as a story isn't what we can expect from /. in the future. They could have at least posted what would look like a real story and then let people comment on it. By shoving it in our faces with images, they are ruining the /. culture of the comment system. They could have at least advertised in a more subtle way like I do in my signature.

Console (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272200)

3 minutes and still no comments?
Allrighty then...
Personally, seeing how it is strictly an XBox game, I feel that games like this needs to be moved more mainstream. I wouldn't mind playing it but I don't want to fork over the $200 dollars to play on a limited console. At least with my PC I can upgrade as the years go and never really lose that "look and feel" that I have. Consoles have to purchased and maintained for years to come. Some console makers do it right, like Sony, and have compatibility with their latest console with their oldest games.
If it was up to me more "high-class" games (halo 2 for example) would be available at least on the PC instead of being used to market a crappy console.

Re:Console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272266)

seeing how it is strictly an XBox game

Wow, the ad worked! This game has been available on PC (and other consoles) since day one. Your misconception should do wonders for the Slashdot marketing report though.

Re:Console (2, Insightful)

drewmca (611245) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272274)

It's not an xbox game. It is on PC as well. The demo has been out for a while. I believe it's also on PS2.

Oh, and instead of $200 for a limited console, you can pay $300 for a video card and your other upgrades. I just don't understand "consoles have to be purchased and maintained for years to come". What maintenance are you talking about? You mean, like swapping out cards, adding memory, and the like? Oh, that's right, consoles don't require that at all. In fact, last I heard, that was one of their big value propositions.

Somehow, the idea that consoles involve forking over too much money and maintenance during their lifetime doesn't ring true at all, and less so when you say that in comparison to PCs.

Re:Console (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272336)

In the corner of my room lays three, unused, obsolete, $150 consoles. In my corner lays my single computer I've always had updated occasionally for the same price of those three consoles. Difference? My PC hasn't been lost in the interest of game developers. No new games released for my SNES vs whats just released today for my PC. Plus, I can use my PC to surf, print, type, develop, and things I can't even imagine. The day my console can do that is the day my console becomes an un-upgradeable computer.

Re:Console (1)

BackInIraq (862952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272375)

I just don't understand "consoles have to be purchased and maintained for years to come". What maintenance are you talking about?

Well, one way to look at it is that consoles do need to be maintained so that they will still run for years to come, whereas I can just go buy any PC and play games from yesteryear (as long as they aren't too old...such as old DOS games). I recently had to replace the power supply in my Xbox, and since modern consoles have more moving parts (as compared to, say, an SNES or Genesis), this could be a problem.

Then again, I don't think that was what he was getting at. I don't think his message was coherent at all, really...I mean, consoles have to be purchased and maintained? As if PCs DON'T have to be purchased and maintained? And I'd like him to show me one PC purchased in 2001 that runs Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory...and no, no upgrades allowed. I guarantee it cost more than 300 dollars at the time.

Re:Console (1)

drewmca (611245) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272554)

I agree with your second point, but I'd also add that it is pretty hard to get PCs to play games more than 6 years old. Even non-DOS games have a lot of problems, especially those games that only work on Win95. And I still miss some of my DOS games (though I suppose a lot of the more worthwhile ones have win-friendly ports, like quake).

I've still got an Atari 2600, a nintendo, genesis, dreamcast, etc., and none of them have ever had to be "maintained" (expect maybe blowing dust out of the nintendo). I really don't know what this guy was on about, either.

Re:Console (1)

Psykus (827143) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272286)

FYI:

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is on the XBOX, Gamecube, PS2, *and* PC.

There goes your argument.

Re:Console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272378)

Forgive me for not being uptodate on the latest marketing. Replace game title with "Halo 2" to reinforce my point.

Re:Console (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272291)

The PC version is out. *cough*torrentspy.com*cough*

Re:Console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272511)

for real or that BS one that's been out since the release?

Re:Console (1)

TreeKnot (580182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272305)

I agree with your remarks about crappy consoles, however it was released on the PC as well. http://www.ebgames.com/ebx/product/244950.asp DVD only though.

Re:Console (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272380)

There's a PS2 and PC version of Splinter Cell.

Re:Console (1)

crummynz (818547) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272424)

Pretty sure its out for PC, too. Least its on the torrent sites.

MGS (4, Insightful)

jusdisgi (617863) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272207)

Surely he meant to say, "which started to gain attention with the likes of Metal Gear."

Tenchu? Late and lame if you ask me. MG (even the old 8 bit jobs) was what made the genre.

Re:MGS (2, Interesting)

ElVaquero (867318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272270)

I think it's probably a more direct connection between the stealth-kill, mission-based Tenchu with Splinter Cell than the story-driven actioner MGS.

Re:MGS (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272447)

I don't know. If you ask me, "Thief" was really the origin of the genre. Sure, there were older games which involved stealth to some extent, but the many of the conventions and much of the gameplay of the first-person/third-person sneaker were born with "The Dark Project".

Re:MGS (3, Funny)

Nebu (566313) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272639)

I say it was hide and seek and started this whole stealth fad.

Rationale? (2, Interesting)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272680)

I don't really see your reasoning on that one. "Thief, The Dark Project" was released in 1998, and is more centered on using magic and other interesting extraordinary abilities to accomplish some number of goals.

"Metal Gear 1", on the other hand, was released in 1987, and is basically the epithome of the first stealth game. While I do see the whole "hide in the shadows" aspect of "Thief," it seems that sneaking around in MG1 with a knife, pistol, full-body suit, and pair of night vision goggles really defines "stealth game" to me a lot better.

More like Castle Wolfenstein (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272715)

If we are going for the originator wouldn't it actually have been Castle Wolfenstein [wikipedia.org] ? That came out roughly six years before the original Metal Gear and featured stealth as an integral game mechanic.

Though I agree with the other poster who wrote that the stealth gameplay in Splinter Cell has far more in common with what Thief pioneered rather than the simpler Metal Gear/Castle Wolfenstein stealth gameplay models.

Re:More like Castle Wolfenstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272868)

The quote actually reads "The stealth genre, which started to gain attention with the likes of Tenchu: Stealth Assassin..."

In that respect, I would agree that "Thief" would be the game I most associate with launching the stealth genre into it's current iteration. While initially I agreed with the poster claiming the Metal Gear series from back in the day was the originator (and it may well be the case), those titles did not promote the "stealth" genre of games as Thief did.

Re:MGS (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272814)

At least in my mindshare, it was Thief that started it.

I'll agree with the 9/10 rating... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272212)

All the Splinter Cell series have kicked ass, and while I haven't picked this one up yet (Guild Wars is released soon, my money is for that!), I have no doubt I'll enjoy it as I did the other ones.

Re:I'll agree with the 9/10 rating... (1)

ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272915)

All the Splinter Cell series have kicked ass,

Pandora Tomorrow was ok, but it seemed to have many more disk/protection/crash/bad patch issues than SC1 and SC3. That's not surprising considering 1 and 3 were made from the Montreal division and 2 wasn't. It appears they take their time, and were working on SC3 at the same time SC2 was rushed out the door elsewhere. All in all, SC2 was fun. That CIA level ward hard the first couple of times.

I've had no such problems with SC3 why I have many of the above problems with SC2.

According to GameSpy, there is a Splinter Cell 4 on the way form the Montreal division.

And you didn't even mention the music? (0, Offtopic)

isolationism (782170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272220)

... Which is written by none other than Mr. Amon Tobin. As a good friend observed, the album is a return to form, and I can personally attest that it makes for excellent listening.

Re:And you didn't even mention the music? (3, Insightful)

1019 (262204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272263)

I'm sorry, but you deserve the "RTFA" stamp. Clearly, it states


The score, by Amon Tobin, nicely accentuates the mood and temp of the game with a modern vibe that never feels as though it was composed by software. Tobin's composition, his first for a videogame, is very promising. I hope to hear more from him in the future.


I too am a big fan of Amon Tobin and own almost all of his albums (aside from this new soundtrack), but come on. Read thoroughly, next time.

Re:And you didn't even mention the music? (1)

ElVaquero (867318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272303)

I was looking to make a similar comment but, nope, talks about the music.

Re:And you didn't even mention the music? (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272996)

The soundtrack is worth listening alone. Not every track I found superb, but most of them are on par with Supermodified and Out From Out Where, if not better.

I suspect the album notes about the author's work with live musicians are a joke. Some of the persons mentioned there he might have sampled off records, and others seem totally made up.

And you didn't even RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272320)

And you didn't RTFA?

The score, by Amon Tobin, nicely accentuates the mood and temp of the game with a modern vibe that never feels as though it was composed by software. Tobin's composition, his first for a videogame, is very promising. I hope to hear more from him in the future.

Re:And you didn't even mention the music? (1)

ElVaquero (867318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272348)

Return to form? He's yet to make a misstep yet, not sure what you're talking about. Also, see him live!

Xbox only? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272223)

I thought this game came out on all three systems (gamecube, ps2, xbox)?

Re:Xbox only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272290)

Yep, and the PC too. If this was a real review I think he might have mentioned that.

Honestly now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272238)

Did Zonk even write this article, or was it sent over by ©2005 Microsoft and Ubisoft?

I've never been critical of the slashvertizements in the past, but add this to the stupid expanding banner ads I've been seeing lately and Slashdot loses all appeal to me. How long before we're clicking through an ad to get to the comments page?

Enormously soft and furry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272242)

Yiff? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272406)

yiff-yiff-yiff?

Amon Tobin has been around quite some time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272250)

And he composed what is quite possibly the best drum&bass song ever (Get Your Snack On). Electronica lovers everywhere kind of freaked out with happiness when it was announced he was doing the soundtrack to a mainstream video game, because it meant that a lot of people would hear of him who would never have otherwise (except as the background to a car commercial..)

Personally I'm half wanting to play this game just to see how the soundtrack works out even though the splinter cell games aren't generally my thing.

Re:Amon Tobin has been around quite some time (1)

marmoset (3738) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272615)

I always thought "Get Your Snack On" was more big beat than drum and bass, but to-may-to/to-mah-to, anyways... I'm partial to "Fast Eddie" myself.

And yeah, the 'Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory" soundtrack CD is quite good. I've been playing it nonstiop since I picked it up last month.

Am i the only one.. (4, Interesting)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272261)

..who played the original and thought "Sure, I can sneak around, but I'm sure it would be quicker to shoot my way through".

Maybe I'm just to violent *Loads up Red Orchestra"

Re:Am i the only one.. (2, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272355)

That's one of the biggest problems with "Stealth Games".
I loved Hitman, and I loved to try to pass a level with the "professional" rating. But still it was usually easier to -silently- kill -everyone-, then proceed through the empty level, than to try to sneak. That is, kill quickly enough so that the enemy can't raise alarm, advance, kill again before the guards see the corpses, and so on. I'd even purposedly trigger "local alarms" just to empty guard rooms and kill the guards, securing my way of return.

Re:Am i the only one.. (2, Insightful)

mzipay (577247) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272502)

that'll work... but then (in hitman, at least) you could not achieve a perfect "silent assassin" rating. for me, the challenge of the hitman series in particular is in attaining that rating, not necessarily in simply completing the level (or completing the level simply).

as it relates to other games, i feel much the same way; i.e. if i'm playing a stealth game, i'm going to try to play stealthily.
i'll save screwing around with 100% kill ratios or wild killing sprees or "tricks" to completing levels easily for after i've experienced the game as its genre intends.

Raises hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272358)

Same here. Stealth games bore and frustrate me.

Modern Co-Op? (4, Interesting)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272280)

Cooperative play is one of the most interesting aspects of modern gaming, and I would have liked to see a more developed co-op aspect for this title.

Excuse me? If I recall I was playing games co-op with my friends back in the NES and SNES days. In fact, a heck of a lot of games back then had some form of co-op. Only in 'modern gaming' has co-op taken a backseat to lots of run of the mill style deathmatch. So no, co-op isn't an aspect of modern gaming; modern gaming is finally reintroducting the co-op back into the game.

With that said, I find the co-op enjoyable. Two issues: needs a save function (there is one, but only while youre playing; if you quit and come back you have to restart the level). Could use more levels, oh, and less slowdown. Sometimes it gets downright awful.

Re:Modern Co-Op? (1)

Holy Gamer (877014) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272314)

Man, what I really want to see is a similar remake of all co-operatiev arcade games. We got the new X-Men in Legends form, but we need a Ninja Turtles (Battlenexus? what the fuck was that?) and others. Co-op needs to come back in full swing!

Re:Modern Co-Op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272329)

Actually, you can do a long-term save in coop mode. I was playing this yesterday afternoon with a friend and we figured out that you can do an actual, permanent save at any point as long as you're playing in "story" mode instead of "mission" mode. This does require you to go through each mission in order, but it's worth it to avoid the headaches of random disconnects.

Re:Modern Co-Op? (1)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272372)


If I recall I was playing games co-op with my friends back in the NES and SNES days.

Bad Dudes, Double Dragon...

oh yeah, and Contra...

Up, up, down, down, a, b, a, b, select, start

Re:Modern Co-Op? (1)

TheBrownShow (454945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272472)

oh yeah, and Contra...

Up, up, down, down, a, b, a, b, select, start


"The Konami Code" is:
Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A

Re:Modern Co-Op? (1)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272696)


"The Konami Code" is:
Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A

Doh! I knew that didn't sound right. I stand corrected. Haven't had to use the code in a while...

Re:Modern Co-Op? (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272510)

I don't think he meant modern gaming introduced cooperative gameplay. I think he meant that modern games have simply used cooperative modes to enhance player-to-player experience.

As in, sure, Double Dragon 2-player co-op was fun, but the level of strategy and detail was limited. The introduction of cooperative, and even death match gaming modes to first person shooters and sneaker games has enhanced our all around perspective on what a good game is.

But those old games sure were fun.

I HATE MICROSOFT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272281)

THEY ARE TEH DEVIL! tHEY DESTORY FREE THOUGHT! THEY IMPRISSION EVERYONE!!!111 tHEY ARE THE oooh look, shiney.....

Wha? (5, Interesting)

hollismb (817357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272323)

The co-op mode, finally, could have been more fleshed out. Cooperative play is one of the most interesting aspects of modern gaming, and I would have liked to see a more developed co-op aspect for this title.

Were we playing the same game? The simple fact that these four HUGE levels (with more to come, eventually) were developed specifically for co-op and require you to work together directly with a teamate (or you can't pass the mission) demonstrates who incredibly well the co-op was designed. I don't thing I can even name another co-op game (aside from Phantasy Star Online) where it was impossible to get through a level without your teamate timing something with you perfectly. Each level has at least one moment where you and your teammate must do something simultaneously in order to get past it, like disarming bombs, mixing chemicals, etc. And several other places where you can't move on to the next area of the level without help from your teammate. On top of that, you can play through these huge levels differently every time if you so choose. Aside from some occasional disconnect and slowdown issues on co-op, I've never seen a better co-op mode in any game, ever, hand's down. Heck, even the simple fact that guards can hear the two of you talking is something special. A less-developed co-op would've been to simply give us the single-player levels and allow two people to play on them (which I'd gladly take as content download).

And admittedly, Zonk says he doesn't have a lot of previous Splinter Cell experience, but this one is hands-down easy if you want it to be. No more trial-and-error gameplay, alternate paths, added knife ability (which makes it really easy to kill armed people even after they've spotted you), more accurate guns (also easier to kill), and a handy save anywhere feature, this one is pretty easy to get through compared to the other two games. As a result, I've managed to get 100% ratings on a couple levels the first time through, without really even meaning to (which means not being detected, completing all objectives, and not killing anyone).

Re:Wha? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272705)

I don't thing I can even name another co-op game (aside from Phantasy Star Online) where it was impossible to get through a level without your teamate timing something with you perfectly.

for what it's worth, the legend of zelda: four swords adventures (I think that's how it's named anyway) is full of this stuff, for up to four players. You need a GBA for each player though.

Now they have to change the commercial!!!!! (2, Funny)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272330)

"9/10"
- Slashdot Daily -

[Fade to Black]

non existent hacking tools? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272337)

"and despite some nonexistent devices to further gameplay (like hacking a computer from across a room)" I didn't know wardriving belongs to sci-fi.

Re:non existent hacking tools? (1)

1019 (262204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272384)

I know! Next thing you'll be telling us we can see in the dark! Haw!

More room on the HD (1)

nilptr46 (807950) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272350)

... and despite some nonexistent devices to further gameplay (like hacking a computer from across a room) ...

Ah great, I can remove the firewall software tonight.

Startlingly original multiplayer (3, Interesting)

Concern (819622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272361)

Tom Clancy's jingoistic pro-military, pro-police-state propaganda and lackluster dialogue aside, the game is beautiful and it really hits its stride when you plug into the internet and start testing out their multiplayer modes.

The co-op play is a real joy to behold, and the versus play is a really original take on multiplayer "shooters." You wouldn't think a 2v2 where one side has guns and the other side is devoted to stealth would work. It's not perfect, but it's surprisingly successful, noticeably balanced, and deep.

There is just nothing quite like sneaking up behind a merc as he saunters past you down a corridor, grabbing his neck, holding down the button and whispering something offensive into his ear before you snap his neck. Or for that matter, watching a spy do a 20 foot header through the air from a grenade you dropped right at his feet while he was trying to sneak past you.

When you see an alarm go off, and are rushing through some dark basement area towards it and think you catch something moving in the shadows, but it disappears when you shine your flashlight on it, you feel real fear. :D

Congrats to Ubisoft. No dobut they'll make the mint selling extras over the XBox live channel to boot...

Re:Startlingly original multiplayer (1)

0kComputer (872064) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272483)

The multiplayer is pretty sweet. Unlike other games *cough* halo2, it actually takes a considerable amount of skill and strategy to play well as oppossed to spawn, look for weapon, kill, die, repeat.

Co-operative Play (3, Insightful)

retinaburn (218226) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272363)

The only thing I found lacking in the game was knowing where to go in Co-Operative play. In addition to removing your binoculars you do not have access to a map. This was frustrating on the first co-op level in trying to figure out how to get into the big fancy server room to end the mission, without really knowing where you had to go.

With the game being so new there were no walkthroughs for the co-op mode either. But I am pretty sure that has changed by now.

Gameplay that never once feels stale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272418)

Because it allways feels stale. As far as I'm concerned, no stealth game will ever see my money without a flamethrower, which everyone in the business knows is stealthy tool number one.

P.S. No more pictures! Only ASCII art is appropriate for slashdot.

Other reviews... (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272427)

First of all, let me tell you, I think you should let game reviews for other web pages, personally I like Metacritic [metacritic.com] a lot.

Secondly, although I have not played the game, after reading some user reviews from the above page I found someone who stated:

the no blood thing is terrible for a game like this. This is an Adult game so why no blood?

I can just say come on! why the heck there is no blood??

Also, if the bad guys spawn in predetermined places, as the same reviewer states "kind of like the first Super Mario Bros. [...], you know exactly when and where to move the second time around ( either dying and spawning over or just playing the game a second time all together )"
So, maybe the replayability levelfor this game is low, but anyway I a fan of the Hitman series, lets see if there is a new Hitman sequel and, how is it going.

Fun Game (4, Informative)

bogie (31020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272442)

Don't know why they had to change the Interface 3 times in 3 games. IMHO the first one with the PDA was the best. It obivous they were going by sponsors, ie Palm 1st game, Ericsson 2nd game, 3rd game ????. The "in-game" interface for the 3rd game is slow and looks just like some shitty menu. It just make me feel like I'm back at the game menu as opposed to a spy looking at the pda on his wrist.

Also I preferred the night vision from the previous games where once you switched it on the whole screen just went "green". Now when you turn on night vision you look through a green fisheye lens. Its still useable, just not worth doing and not and improvement.

Finally I have to say if you've played the 1st two games even on Expert this game is just way too easy. I tried to challenge myself, but even though I didn't set off 1 single alarm nor get seen by guards the game was just too easy.

Finally, finally, :) They HAVE to do expansion packs. Beyond them wanting your money with reagards to the single player game there is just no reason to keep putting out entirely new games. All the tools they need are already done, just put out expansion packs for $19.95 every 3 months and trust me people WILL buy them. Shit if they just put on expansion packs for the 1st game I'd pay again what I've already spent on games 2 and 3.

My review on PC (3, Informative)

emarkp (67813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272458)

It's a bit short. It felt shorter than HL2.

The single player is excellent. They fixed a lot of little problems in the previous games. You can switch shoulders for your weapon (which was the biggest UI change I saw, which was great). Unfortunately, you can't switch your firing mode for your SC-20 now. It's "pressure sensitive"--so good luck not accidentally squeezing off a few bullets instead of one.

That being said, the multiplayer is impossible unless you play with someone you know and you're using a mic. Also, the multiplayer isn't the same executable as the SP game, and it's probably nearly unchanged from Pandora Tomorrow. Which is irritating because I mouse with my left hand, but the multiplayer doesn't recognize left mouse button mappings.

Also, make sure you've got the latest drivers. I kept getting a BSOD until I realized my audio drivers weren't up-to-date.

Plays great on my laptop. Specs: 3GHz HT processor, 1GB RAM, ATI Radeon Mobility 9600 (128 MB).

Oh, and the Collectors Edition isn't worth it.

This website is SO funny im addicted to it.... now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272460)

the serious question....... is it me or its just a conincidence that a game like any other around is in here like its something different?... (and knowing that it hasnt been cracked YET)... it has to be a coincidence. Lol, this shit its propaganda in its purest state. I dont know the rest of you but im fuckin lovin it. This place and its share of retards allways make my day a lot better.

And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272560)

...the fact that you're still here reading and posting away just proves that you're one of those retards.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I guess.

Amon Tobin's Albums (2, Interesting)

autosentry (595252) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272504)

. . . are great. "Supermodified" is very catchy, but nowhere near as polished as "From Out of Nowhere." I have the soundtrack to Chaos Theory and I like it a lot, but it doesn't really show off how insanely detailed his compositions can get.

Re:Amon Tobin's Albums (1)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272677)

Definitely, and for anyone interested you can check www.amontobin.com and www.ninjatune.net for the label he's on. Lots of nice music from that label. ...and while we're at it: (off topic)

www.warprecords.com
www.rephlex.com
www.tigerb eat6.com
www.ghostly.com

Re:Amon Tobin's Albums (1)

sserendipity (696118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272860)

Amon Tobin is why I'm going to buy this game at all.

I don't, for the most part.

To be frank, I prefer "Permutation" and "Bricolage" to "Supermodified" and "Out from Outwhere" (which is what I assume you are refering to).

His live album is good too, though I've been underwhelmed with the shows themselves: until the encore comes along, he really didn't bust out last time, though when he did (a mashup mostly composed of Metallica riffs), it was incredible.

If you haven't checked out his stuff, do so now: it changed my entire conception of music.

Chaos Theory not for the unfamiliar (2, Interesting)

Pyrowolf (877012) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272522)

For those who have never played any of the splinter cell games, Chaos Theory does not lend itself to the pick-up-and-go person without a little frustration along the way. I consider myself somewhat proficient at figuring stuff out with unfamilar games, but I actually had to *cough* break out the manual *cough* to figure out how to do most everything. I'm assuming the 'how-to' stuff is covered in previous games. The only other complaint is - what is with game developers not supporting at least 480p? Regardless, the game looks pretty good for not being any flavor of HD.

Once you get the hang of it, it's actually rather fun and a nice change of pace from the run-around-and-blow-everything-up type games that are generally prevalent.

Re:Chaos Theory not for the unfamiliar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272991)

The only other complaint is - what is with game developers not supporting at least 480p?

The only way the current generation of console hardware can handle the graphics modern gamers demand is by running at shit-low resolution. Otherwise people just look at PC games and say "how come my X-Box can't do that?"

The next console generation won't have that excuse any more. Look forward to some truly incredible HD graphics on your X-Box Next, or whatever they decide to call it in the end. ;)

Re:Chaos Theory not for the unfamiliar (2, Interesting)

jkujath (587282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12273060)

Single player and co-op are both 480p and widescreen.
Versus mode is 480p, no widescreen.
Sometimes that back of the game-case is wrong.
Game specs on teamxbox.com [teamxbox.com]
Game specs on consolegold.com [consolegold.com]

Something's missing (1)

Sprotch (832431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272537)

Am I the only shocked that the "worthile" list does not include RTSs? Ah, Broodwar, you stole my youth away.

The most interesting about this game (1, Informative)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272571)

...is that the PC-version has been in stores for WEEKS, and it's STILL not cracked! I guess the new version of the protection "StarForce [star-force.com] 3" was really hard to crack!

Surprising no mention of copy protect (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272587)

Perhaps not as it's the X-box version, but there's a ton of vitriol being spewed at Ubisoft on a significant number of sites for their choice of copy protection.

Did G4 merge with Slashdot or something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272617)

Why game reviews on Slashdot?

What next, some big breasted asian chick who watches Style network most of the time replaces Taco?

Re:Did G4 merge with Slashdot or something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272770)

What next, some big breasted asian chick who watches Style network most of the time replaces Taco?

Hey, if she can post fewer dups, fine.

It's the little things... (3, Informative)

CptnSbaitso (800632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272619)

First off, I must say that I truly enjoy Chaos Theory as a game. However, I have to bring up the fact that I believe the Ubisoft tried to ruin the game with a number of other problems. For example, the extensive DVD checking which takes place during each and every launch of the game. Apparently, it has an issue with my DVD drive, such that it takes several minutes to perform the check. On my brand new AMD64 laptop, it refuses to run, since the GeForce 4 440 is apparently not good enough. However, I understand it to run on lesser GeForce cards. And last, but not least, it includes two (poorly printed) serial numbers required for play. The install key appears to be the same (on the three copies which I have seen) and the serial number has never been asked for (perhaps for online play?). Why do they insist on making this so diffucult? In summary: Great game...once you get to play it!

Re:It's the little things... (1)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#12273047)

I don't know about the GeForce4 440 laptop version, but I recall the 3-digit (I think something like 420, 440, and 460, though I'm not sure) GF4-branded PCI and AGP cards were called "GeForce4 MX" and were, I think, closer to souped-up GeForce 2 cards than actual GeForce4, and thus lacked the shader capabilities required for some of the essential graphical effects used in the game. The upshot is that the minimum GeForce 4 card that supported shaders was, I think, the 4200. And I'm pretty sure all GeForce 3 cards had shader support.

Why are they all so dark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12272673)

Why is it that all of these FPS console games are so dark that you can barely see anything. Even with the game's brightness settings as high as they will go, it is still necessary to set the television brightness unnaturally high.

Why are these games so damn dark. I'm not a nocturnal animal. I need light to see.

RTFM (3, Funny)

Petersko (564140) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272909)

Why are these games so damn dark. I'm not a nocturnal animal. I need light to see.

Which is exactly why the good folks at Ubisoft took the time to outfit you with night vision goggles.

Mandatory Penny Arcade reference (2, Funny)

{Hecubus} (62076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272688)


Spilter Cell: Popcorn eyeglasses [penny-arcade.com]


grammar nazis? (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272719)

I thought "why is a video game review on Slashdot?" Then, I saw the use of "center around" at the beginning. Hooray for poor grammar usage! Boo for advertising poorly done video games!

What is the attraction of Splinter Cell? (2, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272743)

I have the first Splinter Cell on my XBox. I feel like it was a waste of money (the game, not the XBox ;)) It's all eye candy and no substance. Realism is touted as one of the games selling points, but let's be honest, it seems to be restricted only to the graphics, not to the actual plot, etc.

The AI is extremely simple. Enemies have no memory what-so-ever. That's so realistic! Disturb them a couple of times and after a while they'll always go back to what they were doing. Somehow they seem to be able to see in the dark too! And how many people on a level must disappear before others start noticing that it's become awfully quiet? How can they shoot so accurately when I've taken out all the lights, and I've moved around?

The game is also extremely linear with a very constrained map. Furthermore, this is another game (like Halo) that I completed in under a week. It has less substance and real game play than most of the FPS games I've played over the last 10+ years. It's all fancy graphics and nothing else. That's my opinion... so will somebody please tell me what the attraction is?

Amon Tobin interviewed about the soundtrack (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272766)

interview - clicky linky [mp3.com]

That interview says rather slyly:

GS: Right. The press pack for the soundtrack said most of it was recorded almost entirely with acoustic instruments that you then modified electronically. Did you play all the instruments yourself, or did you--

AT: Actually there's things that you'll hear when you listen to the soundtrack which will be very revealing about all that. I'd rather not go into the recording techniques too much, if that's OK?

For a more honest look at how he actually composes ("play all the instruments yourself", haha :) ), then try this interview [soundonsound.com] from Sound on Sound magazine.

It's funny, but the /. stance on sampling and electronic music seems curiously luddite for people so enamoured with the idea of collaborative software development, "commons"-style re-use of ideas, creative product and 'intellectual property'. I often see statements like "sampling is just stealing someone else's tune because you're too lame to write your own", which is an extremely naive and prejudiced opinion - albeit an understandable one, if the only sample-based music you've been exposed to is P Diddly.

Honestly - read the interview, which covers both the practical and "ethical" aspects of sampling, and check out Tobin's music, and see if you don't feel a little different. Here's a taster:

Sometimes I'll have an idea for a melody and that gets really tricky; for example, I'll find three or four saxes that have the right notes, so I'll try and piece them all together."

Amon has a pragmatic and highly effective way of dealing with the discrepancies between the tone and production of the samples. "It's amazing what you can do with filters; I look at it as being a bit like watercolours, when you've got various different blotches and then you use a wash to bring it all together. I also use a lot of effects in my stuff for that reason -- it's not particularly because I love delays and reverbs or whatever. Processing is the answer. I'll take a lot of samples to make a melody, then process it with one type of filter or modulation effect, re-record it, cut it up, and by then it will sound like one sample -- but sometimes if it doesn't, it can be really interesting anyway."

Filters and EQ also play a big part in isolating specific sounds or instruments within a sample. "You can take out an entire frequency that holds an instrument, so that you can no longer hear it, or you can hear it in such a background way that it becomes an interesting subliminal part. Unfortunately that means it can sometimes sound really harsh, because the EQ has to be so extreme. Some people have even said it's a characteristic of my sound. I love that -- here's something I f**ked up, and someone relishes that!

Review Comments (3, Informative)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 9 years ago | (#12272949)

I have played all three SCs and I can say I have enjoyed this one the most.

Pros:
Best cut scenes and voice acting
Great storyline
Addition of the soundmeter has added a great deal of skill necessary to complete some missions
Better AI (still pretty average overall)
Mission statistics
Detailed levels and character interactions (those going through Japanese house through the floor shaft know what I mean)
Sam's mannerisms change when moving close to objects (creeping up on people)
Better and more realistic weapon selection
The EM jammer on the pistol (no need to blow out every light)
Breaking, kicking in doors
Primary, secondary, bonus, and opportunity objectives
Hacking computers
Changing weapon shoulders
Jumpy NPCs when you have spooked them a couple of times

Misses:
Mission statistics subtract for all kills but not for knocking everyone out...would like to have seen this modified to at least deduct from the mission score if a NPC was not guarding a particular computer or target. Mission scores should reward pure stealth.
No back-to-the-wall shooting
AI still is pretty bad, but is getting better. For instance, I take down a buddy and the other NPC does not try to look for him. Also, everyone seems to have radios but NPCs are not worried when someone doesn't check-in. However, it has gotten better, if doors are left open or closed the NPCs will get suspicious also the NPCs will at least use some squad tactics when challenged.

In all I have enjoyed SC:CT a great deal. Also, I will be crawling back through the game again because the mission statistics now make it a challenge to try to go through the entire game unnoticed and unseen.

bang...turn...bang...turn...bang (0, Flamebait)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12273009)

"offers up familiar gameplay that never once feels stale"

He's right, there's nothing quite as refreshign as standing still for 10 minutes turning to shoot lights. Screw health drinks, it's how I start every day!

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