• Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: Mar 28, 2005
Metascore
94

Universal acclaim - based on 70 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 70
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 70
  3. Negative: 0 out of 70
  1. 96
    It is amazing to see the range of gameplay elements that have been squeezed into this title. It is even more impressive to experience how well each of them works.
  2. 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.
  3. With gorgeous visuals, a great story and fantastic multiplayer modes, this one is a complete package.
  4. I can't say enough about the graphics. I never knew there were so many shades of black. Even though much of the game is played in the shadows there is no shortage of detail.
  5. 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]
  6. 100
    Although everything in the game has been improved, nothing makes a bigger difference than the new co-op mode, which can be played via splitscreen, system link, and Xbox Live. That's right, you and a buddy can now join up to take down enemies and pull off a variety of acrobatic moves, and it may very well be the most satisfying experience I've ever had on Live.
  7. 90
    Whereas small refinements dominate the single-player mode, the new co-op game revolutionizes the multiplayer mode. Co-op takes on a whole new meaning in Chaos Theory as two spies must literally work together to accomplish a mission.
  8. A serious improvement in any way you care to name, from gameplay to its newly, eerily realistic graphics.
  9. Without a doubt the best the stealth genre can offer... One of the best games I have ever played.
  10. The Xbox version of Chaos Theory is one of the system's most complete and valuable titles, a must-have. If you like your games hard and your competition brutal, don't let Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory out of your sight.
  11. 100
    Ubisoft's obvious dedication and purity of vision shines through in every single minute that you're playing. It never seems to get old, it's rarely frustrating, and delivers its payload of stealth, action, strategy and exploration right on target. If there's a more complete gaming experience on Xbox, I've yet to see it.
  12. Nearly a flawless gameplay experience.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 100
    Three brilliant games rolled into one that could all easily be sold separately. The single player is incredibly satisfying, co-op is one of a kind and adds a fresh and very compelling face to the underused online co-op genre and the adversarial mode is simply brilliant once again; an online experience no person with high speed internet should miss.
  16. 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]
  17. Between the compelling gameplay of the single-player missions, the value of the versus mode, and the perfect integration of co-op play over Live, this is the definitive Xbox game. The zenith of the platform... An utterly spectacular accomplishment. [Apr 2005, p.72]
  18. 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]
  19. 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]
  20. It's simply brilliant. The modes, graphics, gameplay, sound, music, acting, dialogue, and every other little piece in between all come together to create a tense, sweaty-palm experience you can't find anywhere else. [Apr 2005, p.126]
  21. It's definitely an evolutionary step rather than something highly original, but even those who weren't enamored with earlier Splinter Cell titles should try out this more open-ended gameplay style.
  22. With this much improvement in the online mode after just one new game, I think Ubisoft will knock our socks off on the next generation of hardware.
  23. Making a return appearance is the very innovative Spies vs. Mercenaries multiplayer with its own set of improvements including a very cool active camouflage for the spies that makes them practically invisible.
  24. 90
    Improved in practically every way. More abilities, more weapons, more gadgets and overall just more choice. Level designs offer far more options to the player and the game is simply more fun because of it.
  25. 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]
  26. In single-player mode Chaos Theory isn't a big step in the evolution of the Splinter Cell franchise, and may seem a repetitive adventure so soon after "Pandora Tomorrow," but this doesn't stop it from being an excellent and visually stunning piece of work.
  27. By far the best game that the series has produced.
  28. The formula has been tweaked to an almost perfect mix of story and engrossing gameplay that still requires more use of brain over brawn... The presentation is off the charts with mesmerizing visuals and audio production, both of which have a major impact on how you play.
  29. It's not too often when a series can challenge me to think of the endless possibilities for future installments all because of a sound formula established by its flawed first installment.
  30. Not only does Sam Fisher dethrone Solid Snake, he snaps his neck when he's not looking. Now that's a sign of greatness.
  31. The combination of cutting-edge technology and consuming game design creates an experience that is hard to put down, and it's really only minor gripes that prevent this from being a perfect score.
  32. Chaos Theory offers a ton of replay value with the solo mode alone, and the multiplayer games are a blast. With additional bonuses like great graphics, sound effects, voice acting, and a great soundtrack for any console, it's a must-own for any fan of stealth/action.
  33. Chaos Theory has an incredibly realistic quality that, when combined with the series' hallmark of incredible lighting and shadowing effects, will easily immerse you into Sam Fisher's world.
  34. Subjectivity aside, 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 (or skill, you light-loving frag-fanatics).
  35. You can't be a serious game player and not have this game. It's simply a must buy. It is the perfect third in a near perfect game series.
  36. Easily the best Splinter Cell game released yet, from the jaw dropping graphics to the pulse pounding action Chaos Theory goes above and beyond the call and creates one of the best experiences yet for the Xbox.
  37. Its learning curve is fair instead of gleefully obstinate and that's what marks this series' major step forward.
  38. Ultimately, Chaos Theory leaves the player stunned, excited and thoroughly satisfied. A landmark achievement in stealth gaming. [Xbox World]
  39. Gorgeously lit levels create some amazingly atmospheric - and realistic - shadows to lurk in. The cod liver oil's been doing the trick too, as Sam's slinky, cat-like movements are animated in a stunningly believable way. [Official UK Xbox Magazine]
  40. 93
    If you've played the previous games, you'll be impressed. But if it's your first entry in the series, then you'll be enthralled.
  41. 98
    With a slick story, great visuals, awesome multiplayer possibilities, and a style that is unmatched, Chaos Theory does not disappoint.
  42. I wanted to give Chaos Theory a five-star rating like its brother before it, I really did. But something held me back, probably the lack of so many co-op maps or something about the way the gameplay didn't jar me like it used to, as excellent as it remains.
  43. 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.
  44. The game feels real enough that you might want to sneak up on a cop on a late Saturday night after playing for a few hours.
  45. Playing Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is like tearing open your presents Christmas morning and discovering to your shock that you got everything you asked for. No pairs of socks.
  46. I am truly amazed at how this game can interest nearly all types of gamers with the ability to play Chaos Theory either by stealth or action.
  47. This gameplay variation is a fantastic move on Ubisoft's part, because it makes Chaos Theory more accessible to a wider audience while still supporting a more slow-paced game.
  48. Not only is it a game that will have you hooked from the moment you pick it up, but it is the best looking title available on any console.
  49. After my first week of playing, I must freely admit that one of my biggest thrills in SP mode is taking out a guard and finding a high spot from which to drop him. Cliff edges, deep crevices or anything like them will do.
  50. Visually spectacular and hugely rewarding.
  51. The great thing about Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is that it's just getting warmed up once you finish playing all by your lonesome. The Multiplayer aspect of it will easily quadruple your time with the game.
  52. 90
    The pinnacle of both stealth and Tom Clancy games, and is light years ahead of its peers. The changes to the gameplay structure accompanied with the very open-ended levels make for a simply brilliant single-player game.
  53. Visually stunning, audibly amazing and captivating in solo and multiplayer, Chaos Theory is the crowning achievement of the Splinter Cell series which just gets better and better with every new game.
  54. 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.
  55. 95
    The best stealth game ever, period.
  56. With new graphics, new modes of play and new weapons, Chaos Theory plays like Splinter Cell but feels just different enough to keep fans of the series happy.
  57. It's still the most fluid, most stylish, most playable experience in third person action and adds another worthy page turner to the Tom Clancy library.
  58. I'll reserve a four-star rating for the next time this series takes big leaps. In this latest edition, there's nothing so new that you'll stop and say, "Whoa." But Chaos Theory is true to the things that make Splinter Cell games so good.
  59. Gone are the drab boring levels from Pandora, in are some fantastic new levels such as a Russian Boat, a security corporation and others.
  60. Ubi has improved virtually every aspect of the gameplay from the previous two versions, and introduced even more new options and gameplay types. With the solo campaign, co-op campaign and online multiplayer, it's almost like having three games in one.
  61. 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.
  62. The single-player is short but sweet, and the multiplayer is just totally sick. With the addition of cooperative play and a new action-focused approach, it makes Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory the most accessible, entertaining, and enjoyable game in the series so far.
  63. A blockbuster. If you don't buy this game you don't deserve to own an Xbox; it's that good. Everything about this game is top-notch, from the gameplay, to the graphics, to the sound; it's all tremendously well done.
  64. UbiSoft is going to be hard pressed to beat it.
  65. The multiplayer in Chaos Theory is incredibly addictive.
  66. 94
    One of the most striking things about Chaos Theory is its stunning visuals which top anything we saw in previous Splinter Cell games, even to the extent of making them look a little dull.
  67. A great single-player mode and a well thought-out online Co-Op mode makes this one hard to beat in its genre.
  68. 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]
  69. Chaos Theory takes the best aspects of the previous games and makes them shine even more. Splinter Cell veterans won't find too many new additions, but newbies and vets alike should snap it up as it's the best game in the series so far.
  70. The only aspect of the game that the developers have neglected to improve is the enemy AI, who remain as simple as ever before and can be lead like well armed, extremely dangerous sheep to the slaughter.
User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 119 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 56
  2. Negative: 2 out of 56
  1. Jun 10, 2012
    10
    Absolutely amazing game, the best installment in the series hands down. A huge step forward for the stealth game genre and since it's release very few games have even come close to the stealth mechanics of this game. If stealth isn't your thing, Chaos Theory is also an amazing action game, if you choose to play like a super soldier utilizing stunning new moves to take down your enemies. I'm a hardcore gamer, playing virtually anything that comes out. Chaos Theory came out in 2005 and 7 years later, it still remains in my Top 10, no, make that Top 5 games of all time. Full Review »
  2. Jul 19, 2014
    10
    This is among my top 3 favorite games of all time. Easily the best game in the Splinter Cell series. The game play is fluid and nuanced, the story is engaging and the graphics are impressive for a game developed a decade ago. The soundtrack and voice acting are amazing as well (Michael Ironside is perfection). Love the overall aesthetic. If you've only played generation seven Splinter Cell games, you've been missing out. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is the crown jewel of the stealth genre. Full Review »
  3. Nov 2, 2013
    10
    It's strange for me to claim this, but I do profess that this is my favorite game of all time. It's hard to describe, but in my opinion Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is the perfect culmination of story, visuals, audio, and gameplay ever crafted. This is art, undeniably. Full Review »