Welcome back to the wonderful adventures of Sam Fisher part three. As always, you can find the rank itself here. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Japan has decided to form the Information of Self Defense Force (I-SDF), despite China and North Korea being against it as for it violates Article 9 of the post World War 2 Constitution. Tensions are rising between the nations, and the U.S. steps in as for they are allies with Japan. More and more events keep happening that raises the tension between the nations, and it is up to Sam Fisher yet again to make things right using the one tool he knows best: the shadows.
With the previous games, I found myself pretty much ignoring the story altogether because I wanted to stick to gameplay. And while this story follows the same beats as the previous two games, I found myself more engaged in this story. I did find the dialogue between Fisher and others to be more engaging, but I can’t quite say why I found this story to be more interesting. More engaging or less engaging, the story here pretty much follows the same bits as the previous two of “travel around the world and do spy stuff as you try and stop World War 3 again.” Still, it’s a fun story, and I did enjoy the writing around Sam in this game more than the other two.
Ever since I started this ranking, I knew that the first three games are similar to each other due to their release dates being close together. As a result, I knew this game would be similar to the last two games just like I thought Pandora Tomorrow would be similar to the last game. Despite this mentality, Pandora Tomorrow can only be found on physical copy, and it presented a fair bit of issues even after installing patches. This game, however, puts the series back on track and even presents meaningful improvements to the gameplay formula that makes this game the definitive experience out of the three.
Just like the last game, Chaos Theory improves upon some of the technical aspects of the game. The graphics are improved yet again, and the game finally has a 1080p resolution option (which is what my monitor’s resolution is). The only issue I had with the game graphically are the facial animations, which proved to be an over-exaggerated and overall pretty hilarious issue. One of the biggest technical issues I had with the last game, though, was the darkness of the game, as for it was hard to tell what was dark and what wasn’t. This game doesn’t quite bring it back to the first game’s darkness, but it still proved better than Pandora Tomorrow and made stealth less annoying. Pandora Tomorrow was a buggy mess for me, and Chaos Theory fixed the biggest issue I had with the game.
This game didn’t just fix the last game though. Chaos Theory has new features and mechanics that rejuvenates the series. The biggest improvement made to this game can be seen in the level design. Levels in this game are more open, offering multiple paths to the same objective. I’m not saying these levels are as open as Dishonored or reboot Hitman, but they are more open than the previous two games. On top of that, the levels in this game are more diverse location-wise and offer more unique situations like a war zone where silencers aren’t necessarily needed or areas where enemies will kidnap instead of kill. The levels in this game have upgraded the experience in meaningful ways and makes the series feel a bit more modern.
Levels aren’t the only thing to have been improved though. Chaos Theory also brings in a bunch of new items and options to make the experience even more varied and customizable. Sam now brings a knife with him, and there is now the option to either lethally or non-lethally take down enemies. Doors can now be slowly opened or bashed open, though both prove useless because normally opening the door works just fine. Sam finally now has a sound meter, making how loud he is easier to detect. He also starts with a loadout option at the beginning of each level, with the main thing worth noting being assault rifle attachments that include a sniper rifle under barrel and a shotgun under barrel. The pistol has a zapper instead of a laser, and the zapper can temporarily turn off lights. Generators can be found in the game and can be used to turn off the lights in an area. Finally, the functions of the sticky camera and diversion camera have been meshed together into one camera. I’m sure there are other smaller improvements made to the game that I missed, but the ones I did find made my experience with the game a lot better.
Not everything about this game is perfect though. Along side the smaller improvements are small flaws with the game that didn’t get too much in the way of my experience, but are still noteworthy. For starters, the game still doesn’t have any auto-saves, which I think is worse than the other two games considering this one is newer. Outside of that, I found the assault rifle in this game to be a bit spotty despite the new attachments, as for the rifle has no single-fire option as far as I could tell, and I had some issues with enemy hit-boxes whenever I tried to headshot enemies through the rifle’s scope. I did eventually get used to these issues, but they still made the game a little more annoying.
Before I wrap up here, I did want to say that this game also includes a multiplayer mode as well as a co-op mode, though both options are dead.
In conclusion, Chaos Theory is the true follow-up to the first game that I have been looking for. The story is more engaging, the issues of the second game have been fixed, and the new mechanics and level design offer a more fun and diverse experience. There are a few minor issues around the edges, but none of that stopped this game from being the best Splinter Cell experience up to this point. In the end, Chaos Theory is going to the number one spot, and from the sounds of the future games, I think it is going to stay there.