Once you start up the game, you're given the option of either working your way though a training mission or jumping right into the action. Normally, I'm the type to jump right into a game and figure things out on my own, but even I found myself going through the practice stage a few times to get a handle on Chaos Theory
's mechanics. The general setup and performance of moves works, at least if you're a veteran of past games, but always feel off. The timing never seems to work in your favor and will usually end up getting you killed, or at least becoming a major setback.
If this is your first time playing a Splinter Cell game, things are much worse since the controls really aren't that friendly and take lots of practice. Part of the problem is the game's insistence on using every button and the touch screen in gameplay, translating to a complicated scheme for newcomers. The general practice, at least when translating a game to a handheld, is to scale back control issues. Chaos Theory instead overcomplicates things. What's worse, the touch screen is nearly impossible to use with your finger, requiring you to try and figure out some way to use your hands and stylus at once. It just doesn't work.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is a victim of ambition being bigger than the hardware its being envisioned for. There are some really good ideas at work if you know where to look, but these are muddied by a number of problems that add up too quickly. Even the more ardent of Splinter Cell fans should avoid this one unless you can find some kind of deal on it.