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Thread: Splinter Cell : Chaos Theory PC

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    Thumbs up Splinter Cell : Chaos Theory PC

    It must be that time of year again !

    Sequels galore and addons hitting the shelves making us spend our hard earned cash on well known formulas and waiting for the summers BIG releases. We have already seen such sequels / addons as Prince of Persia : Warrior Within, Call Of Duty : United Offensive and Doom 3 : Resurection Of Evil (Yeah I mentioned 2 addons there one of which came out last year and only one sequel but what the hell ! ) Not forgetting later this year we are getting Call Of Duty 2, an addon for Half Life 2, musnt forget the umteen addons for Sims 2 (Yeugh !! ) and a few lesser known titles like Bloodrayne 2 (lesser know to an extent in the grand scheme of things) and at long last the new GTA game. Anyhow, what have we here, just another stealth actioner or something that truely stands out ?

    Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is the third installment (for those that have been comatose the past few years ! ) in Sam Fishers world saving adventures. First Splinter Cell hit the X Box initially and made us PC owners wait with baited breath hoping it wasnt just another HALO PC letdown, thankfully it wasnt, gameplay that added to the tried and tested formula of Metal Gear Solid. One thing that really made it stand out though was being able to fully use shadows in the game to hide out the way, or to get you spotted ! Then along came SC Pandora Tommorow, with virtually no enhancements to the slightly buggy engine (no AA on the shadows and other daft little things like that) add a few new gadgets and a different storyline and there you have it, alot of people were a little dissapointed and it was said it was more like an addon to the first game.

    So what have we now, something old just revamped yet again, thankfully no !

    First thing I noticed on this one is there is no training levels like on the previous 2 games to brush up on old skills, you can watch a few training videos of the new moves but thats as far as it goes. These videos give you rough examples of how to pull off some of the new moves with a keyboard and mouse onscreen similar to Black & White. So after watching these vids you are set to go (unless you are like me and dive straight in at the deep end, get killed or spotted a few times and get pig sick so go back and watch a few of them to try and will yourself to actually start playing properly instead of just running in ! )

    You have the standard menus you would expect of a PC game with Sams face in the background kinda watching you like the old Lord Kitchener posters from many years ago (You're country needs you, pointing at you wherever you look at it !) Control setup, graphics, audio, profiles, not forgetting the multiplayer side of things. Now then, one thing that struck me is that this game supports the new Pixel Shader 3.0 which is currently on the GeForce 6 family of cards, us poor ATI owners will have to do with the older Shader Models, unfortunately I was unable to test this feature as I only have a Rad 9600 Pro currently. Other than that its the usual stuff you see in PC game menus, detail, resolutions, shadows and things like that.

    Sound once again has the voice talents of Michael Ironside for Sam Fisher (Teacher with one arm in Starship Troopers, one of the Guys hunting down Arnie in Total Recall and way to many other movies to mention here) You get all the ambience once again of echoing footsteps on metal if you move to quick, crunching of gravel underfoot and not forgetting the splashing of puddles if you run through them etc. Voice acting is good in general from the full cast, following in the footsteps of the previous two games. There is some decent banter that goes on over the mike whilst you are creeping about but the best I have come across so far is the start of the 2nd level :

    "Lambert : Sam, be extra careful on this mission.
    Fisher : What, 3 alarms and you'll pull the plug ?
    Lambert : Be serious Fisher, this isn't a video game, it's real life"

    Quite tongue in cheek that one, there is also some product placement there, in one of the cutscenes you see a close up of a radio with an open pack of Airwaves chewing gum in front of it ! There are also a few others but I will let you find them yourselves !

    Visually, this game is stunning. Ubisoft have really put alot of work into this, I am running the game in 1024x768 Res, shadows on medium but everything else on high except no AA & AF. In this Resolution I can honestly say there are virtually no jaggy lines at all, always a good thing for me ! Push my old Rad to hard with AA & AF and it might just keel over and have a fit ! Shadows are cast perfect giving a great atmosphere all round. I mentioned in a post about the sea and mist effect on level two, it looks amazing. Only downside I have with the visuals is that most the enemy character models are exactly the same, its like hang on ? Didnt I take this guy down just a few mins ago type thing, other than that everything is looking great and runs really smooth. Another thing that stood out for me is that this game has some really good camera angles for a 3rd person game, I can honestly say I have never lost my character onscreen due to bad cameras !

    Gameplay is what you would expect if you have played the previous 2 games, seamless control system alowing you to do everything with a keyboard / mouse combination and not to many keys to boot thankfully. This time Sam also has the option to do a quiet lethal takedown in close proximity instead of having to leg it and find a safe hiding place till the heat dies down a bit ! Hit the left button in close quarters and the knife is used to either stab the enemy in the gut or to slash upover hitting the throat by the look of it (no blood, guts and gore though which is a good thing for the younger generation, I would have liked to see and option for this to be turned on / off for more mature gamers out there), this can be quite noisy but handy for getting out of tight scrapes. You can also take people down in close combat with the right button, this time its a bit quieter, he either does a palm strike or a swift knee to the abdomen to take the oponent down. These two moves are really handy allround, you still have to be careful however incase another guard is nearby, you will be heard but it comes in handy if you go round a corner and are faced with a guard. As well as these two new close combat moves you now have the ability to hang down from pipes by you're legs and grab unsuspecting guards and take them out that way. Not forgetting the old favourite : split jump, run at a wall and do the splits across a gap giving you the chance to drop down on an enemy or to shoot them, you're choice ! Another nice touch on this is when a guard notices say a light has been shot / smashed they will get out a flare and hold it above their head looking for you and you get the nervous is anyone there phrases coming out of them. You have the usual sound and shadow meter onscreen giving you and idea of how well you are hidden, works exactly the same way as the other games and does come in quite handy, one thing I would like to see as the series progresses is the meter reacting more to the softer darkness as on this as soon as you hit shadow thats it you are all but safe. Only a minor gripe on this is a guard can be stood 3 foot in front of you and you wont be spotted if you are in the shadows, those 3 lights on the nightvision goggles must be invisible to the enemy ! Also I have to mention that enemies seem a bit easier to sneak up on and grab for some reason, I can understand it on outdoor bits like the outer part of the ship where there is alot of background noise so they cant hear you at all but teh quiter indoor bits its exactly the same, its all to do with you're timing ! Finally before you start the level you can select you're weapon load, you can go for recommended, stealth or assault. These options are quite self explanatory, guns blazing approach or of course sneaking about !

    So overall, is it worth it ? I have to say yes ! Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is by far the best title in the series to date. Its not overly long, but if you take you're time on the levels, hiding bodies carefully so they dont get noticed on patrols you can actually be on that one level for nearly 2 hours giving it a bit more longevity. I have to say its a fun game, will while away the hours sneaking about interrogating unsuspecting guards and choking them out. Yeah its a tried and tested formula with the previous engines glitches ironed out. Wether you are new to the Splinter Cell games or not this title should appeal to many gamers out there, has a good mixture of action pieces as well as stealth. Also, I picked my copy up for £21 2nd hand from the local games store, so shop about, you wont be dissapointed. I havnt played the multiplayer side of things as of yet so for the single player canpaign I give it a big thumbs up 8.5 out of 10

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    Resident abit mourner BUFF's Avatar
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    fyi £18 delivered at sendit

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    My HEXUS.trust abit forums

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    Banned myth's Avatar
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    I played the demo at 1600 by 1200 with evrything maxed out with no lag It seemed too complex to get the hang of so I stoped playing... But the graphics were very nice

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    I got both the collectors edition and the regular edition!!! I think the game is really beautiful considering it was the old Unreal Engine they were using. It must have been one mammoth programming effort to hack HDR into the game! Too bad i dont have an SM 3 card as well. All I have is a Mobility 9800 w/ 256 mb memory. Great card but does not have SM 3. Looks like an R520 is in the pipeline for my purchases hehe

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    Going Retro!!! Ferral's Avatar
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    Aye, its a damned good game alround, by far the best out the 3, good find Buff, £18 at Sendit is a great price. Hope everyone is enjoying reading my review

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    Senior Member skuzgib's Avatar
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    NIce review! Very professional

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