Review by MetuZ
"Who says sequels are worse than the original?"
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow is the sequel to a breakthrough game called Splinter Cell. Pandora Tomorrow is one of those games that will instantly hook you to its addictive style of gameplay and will not leave you hanging dry. This sequel, surprisingly enough, is better than the original; although with much room for improvement. In this game you take the role of Sam Fisher, a one man arm of stealth, brains, and more stealth. You take Sam on 32 intense missions, where you take out the terrorist threat all in the comfort of a friendly shadow.
The gameplay of Pandora Tomorrow is intense and surprisingly enough, better than the first game of the series. Every movement is so much smoother and more defined, which makes you feel like you're actually in the game. Another thing, which may draw in more fans to the series, is that they got rid of the very lame mandatory tutorial which was found in the game. No longer do you have to go through an hour of pointless hard work just to get to the meat of the game. However, if you miss that touch from the first game, you're more than welcome to do the tutorial in this game--which has it's own option and isn't tied to the game in any way. In fact, the only tutorial you'll get is during the first mission, where you'll receive text messages of tips that will help you. Pandora Tomorrow is also noticeably harder than its predecessor, but that's a good thing.
This is the only flaw of this otherwise great game. The graphics are nearly the same as the original, with very slight improvement. While the game itself looks appealing, that quickly changes when you meet characters during gameplay. The faces look choppy and don't even move...they just talk staying still, which makes it feel like you're playing it on a PSOne. That minor flaw makes it seem awkward at times. Many of the levels have some graphical holes in some parts, which makes it seem like you're looking through the level. Overall, the graphics are only slightly worse than the X-Box. Hopefully the next installment will correct this.
Dare I say, perfect? If you've played either SOCOM or SOCOM II then you will have no problem at all getting used to the controls, as they're nearly identical. The setup of the controls makes it very easy and enjoyable to play the game, with the left analog stick moving Sam and the right to look around. One needed option, which UBISoft added was that Sam is now able to whistle to draw enemies. This is similar to that of Metal Gear Solid where you were able to knock on the wall to make sound, only this is better. You don't have to be up against the wall to perform this or anything like that; you can just run and whistle. This tiny little option makes the gameplay that much more fun and enjoyable.
The sound in this game is astounding. Every little thing is perfect--from the sound of the leaves brushing against you, to the water swirling as you move stealthily through it. Not much else I can say, except that the attention to detail in the sound department is PERFECT.
The addition of the online mode is quite refreshing and can often give you a much needed break from single player. The maximum amount of people that can play in the same room is 4, with two spies and two mercenaries. If one of the players is really good, or if you want to give yourself a challenge then you can change how the teams are set up (meaning you can have 3 mercs and one spy or 3 spies and one merc). The handicap for each side is a nice touch. If you're a spy then you won't have any deadly weapons, but you will be able to break their necks or even use them as a human shield. The only "weapons" you will have are your spy tools which include a sound bullet so you can hear conversations of the other team, chaff grenade, and a flashbang. You're also given a special kind of gun which can shoot out laser beams, but you can't kill people with it. Spies are also given a nice benefit, since you'll be in third person, whereas the mercs will be in first person view. If you're a spy, then do what a spy does best and that's to play with stealth. If you try and go rambo, that will prove to be suicidal. The pros of being a merc is that you have all kinds of weapons. From mines to grenades, you have the whole set to try and kill the spies.
This is one of those games that will last you a long time. Even after you beat all of the 32 levels, with each one taking up to an hour, you can either decide to beat it again on another difficulty or go online (assuming you have broadband). The possibilities are endless. One thing is certain, Pandora Tomorrow guarantees you hours, upon hours of nonestop fun.
Rent or Buy?
Is this even an option? If you're into stealth gameplay, such as Metal Gear Solid, or if you've played the original; this game will not disapoint you. If you are a little skeptical, then you could rent it, but I guarantee you that you won't even come close to beating it in the 5 days that you have it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/21/04
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