The concept of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
is the same as the rest of the Splinter Cell
series. You are to achieve your objectives with secrecy by avoiding detection and straight confrontation. If you try to get into a firefight with a room full of soldiers, you’ll be dead faster than a soldier in a clown outfit on D-day. To this end, you must stay in poorly lit areas, utilize special modes of vision to see, and implement a creative arsenal of weapons and gadgets.
If I had one complaint, it’s that the game environments are, on the whole, far too dark. While it might make sense for Sam Fisher to hide in the shadows, forcing you to navigate through ridiculously dark environments, it comes across more as a design crutch than anything else, and frankly becomes boring and tiresome as a game mechanic.
As usual, the back-story placed into Chaos Theory is sub-par. After a 5-10 minute cut-scene involving your characters, describing a hostile computer program that could be used to do some nasty stuff, you’re briefed for your first mission that has absolutely nothing to do with anything that’s been going on... at all. While things eventually swing back toward the major story, this sort of helter-skelter storytelling, which doesn’t use its own levels to push the plotline forward half the time, manages to keep the story of the game fairly mediocre and unnecessary. I don’t think we need people talking to Sam about philosophy in 20 minute intervals, a la Metal Gear Solid 2. But Tom Clancy is a writer, and putting his name on a game should suggest a certain caliber of narrative. Most fans won’t give a hill of beans about the story anyway, so it’s not that big of an issue.