When gamers hear the name, Splinter Cell, everyone immediate thinks of NSA Third Echelon agent, Sam Fisher and his stealthy, ninja-combat style. He is the one and only agent that is able to save the world when things in the world go to hell. It has been over four years since the third installment of the Splinter Cell series, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, released on the Xbox, PS2, and PC. Within the last week the highly acclaimed title was re-released through Steam, transporting gamers back in time to before a dark and troubled Sam Fisher surfaced in the most recent installment, Double Agent.
In conjunction with the main single-player storyline, where players play as Sam Fisher as it would be expected, Ubisoft included a multiplayer feature that, for the first time in the franchise, allows for a fulfilling co-op experience that fills in some gaps left unanswered in the single player portion of the game. In the co-op storyline, you and another human player play as Agent One and Agent Two, who are Splinter Cells in Training. For instance, you will encounter a dialog between Sam Fisher and the two untested agents in parallel missions where Sam discovers vital intelligence that becomes essential to your completing the mission.
One thing that is prevalent throughout the co-op feature is the fact that teamwork between players is strongly encouraged and in some cases, it is absolutely required. Players are put to the test as they must try and coordinate with each other on the best ways of accomplishing mission objectives. Most of the objectives in each of the five missions require a level of teamwork ranging from hurling each other over security laser beams to defusing bombs, which require precision timing on both ends. Although it may be tempting to operate alone, the level designs make it so that you will have to work together with your teammate.
The mechanics of the co-op feature are smooth and operate just as well as the single-player. There are a few small glitches here and there as you may notice that sometimes guards will trip over themselves and cause their fellow guards to be alert to your presence even though you are in complete darkness with little or no movement. This can be frustrating at times. However, despite these small burps in the gameplay, the co-op element runs just as well as the single-player. Another aspect worth noting is that unlike in the single-player, there are no checkpoints in missions. Once you die or screw up an objective, it is game over. In short – there are no second chances. This will frustrate many, but the simple and honest truth is that there are no second chances in real-life missions.
Overall, the co-op multiplayer in Chaos Theory plays like an expansion to the big title. Although there are only seven missions, the co-op itself could be its own separate Splinter Cell title simply because of the amount of depth each mission provides. Also, co-op stealth makes the game a lot more challenging because it encourages players to work together as a team, which could be a problem for some because of differing styles of play. For only nine dollars on Steam, this is definitely worth a buy because not only does it offer a great single-player mode, but it also provides a fulfilling experience in co-op if you are looking to play with friends interested in stealth games.