3. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
What’s being discontinued: Two-player co-op stealth missions across several maps, as well as a spies-vs-mercenaries battle mode.
What we’ll miss: This was the first Splinter Cell game to introduce cooperative online play, but it wasn’t your normal run-and-gun-with-a-buddy. Since it was still a stealth game, it required real cooperation, and you and your partner had to work together carefully to execute various actions – like making a “man-ladder” to reach high places, or throwing your partner into an enemy to knock them out – that one spy couldn’t do alone. (Thankfully, there’ll be more of that when Splinter Cell: Conviction is released this week.)
Your headset also played a huge part; you had to whisper to your partner to avoid alerting the bad guys. But what was cooler is that you could use that to your advantage, as your partner could shout to distract a guard, while you crept up silently behind them. Cooler still was that – in the two-on-two spies vs mercenaries mode – you could whisper into your enemy’s ear as you killed them.
2. Star Wars: Battlefront II
What’s being discontinued: Over 20 different maps for team-based shooting and space combat.
What we’ll miss: The first Battlefront, which traded in lightsabers for blasters and class-based skirmishes between rebels and stormtroopers (or droids and clone troopers),was great. Then Star Wars: Battlefront II came along and it was even better, mostly because of the addition of playable Jedi and a new space-combat mode in which you could seamlessly go from shooting through the corridors of capital ships to dogfighting in various fighter craft, like X-Wings and TIE Fighters. Aside from a couple of PSP and DS Battlefront spinoffs, there currently is no game like it… unless you count The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, which sucked.
Sure, we’ve got tons of online shooters on the 360, and they’re spectacular, but none of them are Star Wars-related. It’s no surprise that Battlefront II is still the second-most-played original Xbox game on Xbox Live. Now all we can do is wait for Battlefront III.