Review by Archmonk Iga
"Hi Sam, we've already met. Who's this? Oh, nice to meet you, multiplayer!"
So this is how my Splinter Cell tale goes. I play the first. I love it, and think "Yeah man, this is pretty sweet! I can't wait to play the next one!" So I do. And Pandora Tomorrow is the installment where I REALLY loved Splinter Cell, even more so than in the original.
Not too much has changed in this department over the original. Once again, you are the man, AKA Sam Fisher. Yes, he is still awesome, yes he is still funny, yes he is still badass. Lambert and his gang are back too, thankfully. Pandora Tomorrow, unlike it's predecessor, was not made by Ubisoft Montreal, but rather Ubisoft Shangai. I don't think it makes too much of a difference, but just to let all you know...
The story in the solo mode once again deals with a terrorist threat to the world. Good times! I don't feel like giving too much away, but I personally liked this one's story more than both the original's and Chaos Theory's. And once again, the locations Sam goes to are simply breathtaking.
Oh, and one more thing: MULTIPLAYER. Yes, it's here.
You will see obvious improvements in graphics when you compare this one to the original, especially in the character models. It's pretty much everything from the first, only better. The environments, though they may have also been enhanced, really don't look too much different from the original. I guess this is a good thing, since the environments in the original were so great.
Although the shading is still unrealistic, it once again plays a vital role in the gameplay. But unrealistic shmunrealistic, it's what makes Splinter Cell so awesome!
Much like the original, PT's music takes a bit of a backseat unless the action heats up. It's nothing that'll stick in your head, but the music fits appropriately.
The voices are also well done. I didn't really like Lambert's new voice actor (no offense), and thankfully they bring back the old one for Chaos Theory. Other than that, all the voices and clever comments return, which is good. Once again, the guards also have their own (at times, funny) lines which work very well.
Similarly, the sound effects return to their excellence as in the first. They also once again play an important role in the gameplay. You'd better turn the volume up when you play PT.
The gameplay in PT's solo mode is pretty much the same as the original's, with some neat new features. You still must stay quiet and invisible to get past obstacles to reach your goals, and the AI is still intense. You also still have a variety of different ways to get from place to place--pipes, ziplines, rappelling, etc.
One of the new features includes the ability to know how cautious your enemies are being. If you set off an alarm, then their alert level will raise for awhile, and you'll have a tougher time getting through (especially because they can put flak jackets and helmets on).
Another "improvement" is in the split-jump. Unlike the original, Sam doesn't do the splits in between walls anymore, but is now able to shift his weight from one leg to the other. Pretty pointless in my opinion, but it does its job.
Another addition is that now Sam can whistle to attract enemies. It might seem kind of useless when there's probably an object nearby that he can throw, but it really adds some strategy. Unfortunately, it can make the game a little too easy... but you certainly don't HAVE to whistle, now do you?
A final improvement is the SWAT maneuver, which allows Sam to quickly swing from one side of a doorway to another without being seen. I used this infrequently, but it still comes in handy at points when you feel outmatched compared to the many guards in the next room.
So yeah, that's the solo mode, which is still as good as ever. But how about that multiplayer? Yeah, it's a good time. Basically, you have two teams, one of spies (like Sam) and the other of mercenaries, which plays like a first-person shooter. There are three ways to play it - sabotage, neutralization, and extraction - whose names all speak for themselves. They are all very fun, but of course my favorite is neutralization. Basically, if you've ever seen Mad TV's "Spy vs. Spy," it's kind of like that. Each team must use it's own techniques to stop its opponents from achieving their goal. If the solo mode in PT seems too redundant for you, then by all means play the multiplayer. It will definitely provide a good time.
This is what I thought hurt the original, but thankfully we have multiplayer now to make it much better. Not to mention the solo mode's multiple paths that you can take in the levels. But it all comes down to the multiplayer. Trust me, it'll last you a long time. Excellent, excellent job. If you are able to play multiplayer, buy this game. Even if you aren't, I still recommend a purchase (just buy it used instead of new!).
LASTING APPEAL: 9.5/10
Once again, Sam Fisher is the ultimate human being. However, he's not even the focal point of the sequel to his own game! Aww Sam, you know we all love you. But anyway, the multiplayer is what makes Pandora Tomorrow such an exceptional game.
OVERALL: 9/10 (9.3 to be exact)
Thanks for reading =)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/05/07
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