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It's like a lesson in how great games should be made. The adventures of aging, likable, last-chance super-spy Sam Fisher gripped us from the moment he made his debut over two years ago.
As this is the third time we've got behind Splinter Cell's wheel, it was going to take something jaw-dropping to get our attention.
Unsurprisingly, that's exactly what we got - visual splendour the like of which you've never seen before on a console.
The beauty and authenticity of the environments creates an astonishing sense of place, enhanced further by the excellent musical score that closely follows the on-screen action through its lulls, apprehensions and violent conclusions.
The core gameplay mechanics remain largely unchanged. Sneak through a level towards a few pre-set objectives. Hide in the shadows and look for an opportunity to slip past a guard undetected, take him out silently, or stuff it up and gun him down. Hide bodies. Move on.
And it's all made so much easier to enjoy with the inclusion of a quick save. With that in place, you're now much more inclined to spend longer investigating a scene and trying to do it first time (usually successfully).
And the AI? For the most part it's excellent. But yes, there are flaws. Before judging though, it's probably worth remembering that this is the best in the field, and the stealth genre is the hardest field, with the biggest bulls...
The plot is the best yet, with a personal touch that will keep you questing for answers to the last, and is linked so directly to in-level events that, again, you are immersed like never before in the gaming world.
The improved dialogue is, by equal turns, witty, incisive, and darkly amusing - we can't even give you one quip from it for fear of ruining something that will make you laugh out loud or gasp in surprise the first time you hear it.
The astonishing adversarial modes let you live out those spy dreams against real, smart opponents or play as a Mercenary in what is as nerve-rattling a slice of top action as you'll find in any other FPS out there.
Chaos Theory is beyond excellence. A gripping and adult storyline, superior scripting, and breathless tension that relentlessly smacks you upside the head.
Like those ridiculous green lights forever glowing in the darkness, then, this you simply cannot miss.
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