Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    The relaxed pace of the co-op gameplay lends itself better to a console controller, but beyond that the PC version holds up admirably to the Xbox one. It's the prettiest of the bunch.
  2. No longer is there just one way to solve a treacherous night mission before the enemy picks up your audio signature: stealth will pay off just as well as good old-fashioned ultraviolence.
  3. 100
    And the co-op means that, like the previous two games, Chaos Theory is as close to an essential buy as we can imagine.
  4. More so than any other stealth-action game, Chaos Theory really makes you feel like a spy.
  5. So good, it makes the rest of the series look downright mediocre. [July 2005, p.52]
  6. Sam Fisher, the western equivalent of Solid Snake, shines brightly in his third game as did his Japanese counterpart in his third game. As a whole, Chaos Theory is by far the best instalment in the Splinter Cell -series. The game does more than just recycle old ideas. [May 2005, p.60]
  7. Writing in video games is a subject that doesn't get a lot of attention, but Chaos Theory features a simply great script. Not only is it complex and deep, it's also surprisingly funny. [Apr 2005, p.112]
  8. 96
    When combined with the excellent animations, the game feels incredibly cinematic, and on a high-end graphics card the game is stunning. Each level is a grand set piece in which players stylishly accomplish their goals.
  9. A serious improvement in any way you care to name, from gameplay to its newly, eerily realistic graphics.
  10. Splinter Cell is such a departure from the humdrum that I can’t help but get sucked into it. It’s a meaty game with a LOT of content, and all of it has a sense of realism that is unmatched.
  11. In all things small and epic, from the palpable graininess of the game's predominantly poorly lit environments, to the endlessly thrilling second installment of the spies vs. mercenaries online competitions, Theory does not disappoint. [May 2005, p.44]
  12. A truly great game that all fans need to own, despite some issues in the co-op mode.
  13. The only real gripe against the game is that the control isn’t as intuitive as it can be. There are many options in a given situation, and the game still relies on the same context-sensitive menu system, which is a bit cumbersome.
  14. On the basis of single-player alone, Chaos Theory earns a high recommendation. If you can conquer Versus or find a buddy for co-op, it could be a Game of the Year contender.
  15. Chaos Theory has perhaps brought the series to its finest point, with improved graphics, A.I., more open-ended gameplay and a host of multiplayer additions.
  16. Chaos Theory's fluid gameplay and intuitive control scheme firmly demonstrates to others in the genre exactly how a stealth game should play and feel.
  17. Great game and with it being as challenging as it is, I can’t see this title becoming shelf material anytime soon.
  18. Yes, there are only four levels of co-op and we're tempted to tear into Ubi for not including more, but on the other hand the mere inclusion of co-op play is already a major achievement. If only the development team would be so nice as to release some level design tools.
  19. To say that Chaos Theory is a tension-packed ride would be a vast understatement. This is easily one of my favorite franchises, and I'm already hungry for the next installment. [May 2005, p.74]
  20. The presentation is also seriously top-drawer. You can see the standard of the graphics with your own eyes, but what you can't see is the triple-A voice-acting and the dirty, groove-laden soundtrack delivered by Amon Tobin. [PC Zone]
  21. On a pure bang to buck ratio Chaos Theory comes out tops, but as we’re all too aware, there’s no accounting for taste. On the PC version, only online lag issues mar an otherwise excellent experience.
  22. Offers more of the same great stealth action as the two previous instalments. This time it is smoother and even more playable than before, but the story is still virtually non-existent. The co-op mode is a great addition, it just needs more missions. [Apr. 05]
  23. If you're a PC gamer who likes hard games and brutal competition, Chaos Theory is a must-have. Don't let it out of your sight.
  24. I would have liked to see a lot more made of the morality and revolutionary talk Doug Shetland brought up in the sole scene he and Sam confront each other with, because his character was really destroyed quite fast in a way that doesn't represent what he was to the series.
  25. This is, by far, the most fun and accessible Splinter Cell title to date.
  26. 90
    Mostly a joy to look at and play. It's a shame that the PC's co-op mode is so problematic, but it's a small complaint in the grand scheme of things: the solo campaign alone is worth the price of admission, and the versus mode is delicious icing on the cake.
  27. Cool, dark and calculating, Splinter Cell finally plays as stylishly as it looks. [May 2005, p.100]
  28. A stunning game. It's not original nor it does feature innovative ideas, but it managed to push this type of gameplay to heights we've never imagined before.
  29. The weather effects are noticeably impressive in Chaos Theory, and for something so trivial, you’d be surprised just how striking they really are.
  30. Chaos Theory sometimes has a designed-by-committee feel due to its many disparate parts, and despite the game's grittier new theme and its new "Mature" rating, it's going to offer a familiar experience to Splinter Cell veterans. But even if some of the changes are marginal, this is still the most entertaining, most well-rounded game in the series yet.
  31. A mild revolution. It brings freshness to the series without making a great deal of changes. Only calculated risks where taken here.
  32. Perhaps Sam is just getting older, perfecting his skills while losing some feistiness. His games are following the same path, with increasingly sophisticated, deep gameplay but a little less flair.
  33. Chaos Theory is the game that the original Splinter Cell was meant to deliver: a tight play experience within a trusty framework, one more of enjoyment than irritation, and a game that’s no longer exclusively for fans of repeated reloading. [Apr 2005, p.97]
  34. The bottom line for us is that it has morphed into a dumbed-down experience that is no longer anywhere near as gripping and compelling as it once was, and while the multiplayer does bail out the overall value of the package to a large extent, it can't mask the decline elsewhere.
  35. Despite the inclusion of new gadgets and stunning visuals, the series is starting to decompose; playing the same thing over and over is beginning to wear a little thin. It’s a good job the multiplayer experience continues to blossom. [Apr 2005, p.90]
  36. On it’s own, it’s the best stealth game on the PC by a good distance, with "Thief 3’s" lack of features trailing some way behind. But as a sequel, it’s painfully under-developed.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 222 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 44
  2. Negative: 7 out of 44
  1. Sep 20, 2012
    First, straight off the bat, I'd like to say, GREATEST Splinter Cell game in the entire series. I mean, bravo, 2 thumbs up. Gameplay is very organized and not too tweaked around like the later games. Story line was exceptional. Running on a very good computer, this game rarely has any glitches or bugs, so, good job Ubisoft. The co-op portion is possibly the best part about Chaos Theory. If you love taking out bad guys in stealth over lan or online, this is probably the best game to do it in. Very, very fun game. I prefer it highly over Double Agent in my opinion. 10/10 Full Review »
  2. Mar 3, 2014
    Splinter Chaos Theory, has been mentioned as the best of it's series. If you do not believe this claim, then you better believe it! I played this game on March 2nd, of 2014; and by the gods it was still able to give me (a modern day gamer) a fun ride.

    My final thoughts, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is way better than the first Splinter Cell. The first game had an extremely weaker version of Sam. Sneaking and taking down enemies was an experience which i didn't enjoy. So if you've played the first game, and hated it, play this game. Its much better! But, please note, you still have to be patient. One of the missions actually took me 1 Hour and 20 minutes to complete! Lol, im a noob, but I was playing it on Hard.... :l
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 1, 2013
    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory Is the best game in the series after Original Splinter Cell
    because of its story.Chaos theory has
    everything a Splinter Cell Fan like me would want like more interrogation with NPC & option between lethal & Non-Lethal attack.Graphics & Sound are amazing.
    Note:This review is only about single player Campaign
    Full Review »