Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory Preview

Sam Fisher is making his appearance once again in Ubisoft’s upcoming Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Obviously this stealth-action series has become quite popular especially when you look at the fact that this is the third title in the series to be released only in the past two years. When you think about it, that’s actually quite a lot of sequels to be releasing in such a short period of time. Luckily the whole concept behind the Splinter Cell series ceases to get old and boring. It looks as if this new sequel will take the stealth-action to the next level by offering non-linear environments and plenty of different moves and interactions.

That all sounds great, but we’re not here to talk about the single-player component of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. You’ll have to wait for our full review to check that out. Instead, what we have for you is the latest scoop on the multiplayer side of Chaos Theory. If you haven’t had the chance to dig into Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow’s multiplayer, than you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s a whole new side of multiplayer gaming that seamlessly pits mercenaries against spies. Chaos Theory’s multiplayer has basically the same concept, but there are some new additions and features to add on to it. Recently Ubisoft has launched a limited time beta for Chaos Theory’s multiplayer, and we’ve been playing it everyday since its launch.

If you have had a taste of Pandora Tomorrow’s multiplayer, then you should be able to jump right into Chaos Theory. In fact, one of the maps that we were introduced to in the Chaos Theory multiplayer beta is a remake of the "Museum" level from Pandora Tomorrow. So if you have some experience in that map, then you should have no trouble at all with the new remake.

Before heading online to compete, you’re sent through to withstand some rather easy tutorials. After the tutorials, you can simply either start a game or join one in progress. Each "server" as you may call it are actually setup as lobby rooms where up to four players can join. The room is hosted by one player allowing three others to jump in at anytime. Before starting the lobby you first must select a region to play in which can consist of the USA Central, West, or East coast, or simply whatever language you speak if you’re not in one of those regions. Having this option makes it easier for people who are in the same general area to play against each other.

From the lobby room, you can just simply sit there and chat with other players or your teammate. The player that is hosting the room has the ability to change any of the multiplayer settings for the round that they are about to play. Some of these settings include the player lives, time limit, and which maps will be played.

There are only three different multiplayer modes within the beta that include Disk Hunt, Story, and DeathMatch. DeathMatch is the same as any other multiplayer game, while Story mode gives the spies objectives to be completed and the mercenaries must defend the objectives. Some of these objectives can be anything from planting bombs and hacking computers, to stealing external hard drives from PCs and taking them to the drop-off point. Lastly, Disk Hunt is just exactly what it sounds like. There can also only be four players in a room which consist of two mercenaries versus two spies. Depending on which group you play as, you’ll be introduced to a completely new viewpoint on how the game is played.

There are always advantages and disadvantages for both mercenaries and spies, but we’ll start with everyone’s favorite: the spies. The spies are the slick and stealthy individuals that, if good enough, can manage to get through a whole level and complete all of their objectives without every being seen. It’s hard, and sometimes very intense, but it can be done. The spies operate from a third-person view and are much more athletic than the mercenaries. They are capable of running faster, jumping higher, and climbing and crawling all over the place. You’ll most likely find yourself crawling through vents in darkness.

Besides having the usual night vision and thermal vision modes, the spies have a few other gadgets up their sleeves. The most notable of these is the all new camo-suit. This suit will last for ten seconds and needs to recharge after that before it is used again. It makes the spy completely invisible to the naked eye while still leaving a sort of clear outline effect that’s reminiscent of the Predator movies. The shadows are the spies obvious friend, and when combined with the camo-suit, they make a perfect blend of stealth. A few other weapons in your arsenal include a heartbeat detector, flashbang grenades, smoke grenades, chaff grenades, and an electric gun that temporarily disables its target. That’s right the spies don’t carry real guns which is one of their major disadvantages.

The spies can perform many moves including running up to the mercenary and punching him, grabbing him from behind and snapping his neck, or jumping on him from a high elevation and knocking him out. Spies can also perform rolls across the floor, and at certain points within the maps, they can perform what’s called "coop" moves. These moves can only be performed at areas where a small icon appears in the lower-left of your screen. At this point, both spies can use each other to reach higher ledges or lower each other into rooms. The final game will no doubt offer more coop moves.

The mercenaries, on the other hand, operate from a first-person view which is more like a first-person shooter. Just like in Pandora Tomorrow they can use two vision modes that include a mode that tracks movement, and a mode that sees if any electric devices are being used by the spies. When using your vision modes, the spies can see on your visor which mode you’re using by identifying the color that goes along with that mode. The mercenaries are equipped with plenty of mines that include laser mines, poison mines, and proximity mines. The key to winning as a mercenary is to strategically place mines around the map to catch your enemies. They also receive spy traps that track spies on their radar, and grenades that can be launched from their guns. For their guns, you can choose between an assault rifle, shotgun, or uzi. The guns are also equipped with a laser and flashlight.

One of the only moves that the mercenary has is the ability to quickly turn around and flail his arms all over the place with the hope of hitting a spy if one were to sneak up on him. Obviously the mercenary isn’t as mobile as the spy which is his disadvantage, however he does have a lot of fire power at his hands making him a deadly opponent if a spy were to cross his path.

So as you can see, both groups are extremely different which greatly balances the gameplay within the game. This leads to some very enjoyable rounds, and it can get very intense sometimes. The maps are laid out very well while appealing to both the mercenaries and spies. There are plenty of places for spies to hide, and plenty of good places for mercenaries to place traps. It’s just a type of multiplayer gameplay that plays out so well and really couldn’t be done much better.

As far as the technology side of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory goes, we aren’t going to say much, because the multiplayer mode has graphics that are toned down when compared to the single-player mode. This is most likely to reduce lag. The graphics are still quite nice and use dynamic lighting and some bumpmapping here or there, but we really can’t make any final decisions on it until we get our hands on the final retail copy of the game.

Overall, we’re completely addicted to Chaos Theory’s multiplayer, and we can’t wait until we get more. The two maps included in the beta just aren’t enough to keep us satisfied. However, we’ll unfortunately have to wait until the final game is released into stores to get our hands on the single-player mode and more multiplayer levels. So you can bet that we’ll have a full review of the game in the first week of its release which is currently scheduled for March 29, 2005.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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