Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Game review by
Aaron Lazenby, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Third entry in series demands strategy and force.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 35 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Sam Fisher has a very pragmatic view of his missions, which often leads to some brutal (but not necessarily lethal) attacks on relative innocents -- like security guards and National Guard members.


Some pretty brutal violence, including gunplay, knifings, and some off-screen torture. However, players can complete the entire game and kill only a couple people, and killing innocents results in immediate mission failure. In fact, the game rewards players who choose stealth over violence.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while the game emphasizes stealth, players can still exact a fair amount of violence on their adversaries: pulling people off of cliffs, cutting people's throats, and throwing them down elevator shafts or off of buildings. The main character takes a very pragmatic approach to his missions, coldly removing whatever "obstacles" stand in his way. This game has an online component, which Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for kids under 12. The star rating given this game is based on quality of gameplay and is not an endorsement of the violence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySam M. October 14, 2017

Essential stealth

Mechanics yet to be topped in depth and fluidity (even against MGS5) . Great level design. Sam Fisher is so cool and funny.
Almost no blood in gameplay at all.... Continue reading
Adult Written byBadMario13company October 28, 2014

Chaos Theory Review from a Teen

This is a Amazing Game Truly Not Vilonet as today's The Game is pretry thamed As the first 2 games being teen

this is the same expect you can now do a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bygavingmg April 3, 2021

Top tier stealth

The games main character is a man named Sam Fisher, a secret agent keen to staying in the shadows, so you can imagine it gets a hair dark sometimes. KO'ing... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byFieldyBob March 25, 2020

Splinter Cell at its finest

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory follows Sam Fisher, an American spy who works for an agency known as Third Echelon. Throughout the game, the player will infiltrate... Continue reading

What's it about?

TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: CHAOS THEORY is the third installment of the popular and acclaimed series. North Korea and China, fearing the expansion of Japan's military, have responded by blockading the island nation. On top of that an American computer scientist with access to potentially dangerous data has been kidnapped in Peru, heightening the U.S. government's fears about the state of the world. Players control espionage expert Sam Fisher, who travels around the globe sneaking into increasingly secure buildings to collect data about the unfolding political events.

Fisher is outfitted with spy tools that give him the option to attack his enemies with lethal or non-lethal force. Chaos Theory is packed with puzzles and Mini games, keeping players' nerves on edge and brains working overtime. Much of the gameplay is spent surveying the environment, looking for ways to avoid the many barriers that stand in Fisher's way.

Is it any good?

Players are required to think creatively and use their nifty tools to solve problems, often without resorting to violence to meet objectives. In fact, players' performances at the end of their missions are rated much higher if they avoid all interaction with adversaries and do not employ violent methods. And while Chaos Theory has much to offer, it demands a fairly mature mind to handle its technical details and heavy themes.

Despite the emphasis on stealth and strategy, Chaos Theory delivers its fair share of gut-wrenching violence. One mission objective requires players to assassinate a South American rebel leader while another features the grisly remnants of a torture session gone too far. Additionally, the themes of political upheaval, international terrorism, and global war may not sit well with younger players, connecting a tense and nerve-wracking game experience with a narrative that resonates with some real-world anxieties.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the moral choices behind the pragmatism presented in this game. Are a few human lives an acceptable cost if you are preventing a world war? Are covert government operations a necessary tool for keeping citizens safe?

Game details

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