Review by Giga Bahamut
"You are a splinter cell again. But this time you have competition."
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow is one of those games that tries to follow up on the outstanding original, and unlike many other sequels, this one actually is better than the first one.
Like every other game out there, the main area that tends to make or break a game's fame is the gameplay. Fortunately, PT's gameplay is top-notch by featuring tight controls, a plethora of innovative moves, and relatively smart A.I. The games control scheme is mapped out almost to perfection, where the average gamer could pick this game up and learn how to play in a matter of minutes. However, it's also deep enough where it will take a while to truly master all of the cool stealth-like maneuvers that you can make throughout the game. There are a ton of moves that you can perform, and most work well in the proper situation. Timing is crucial to staying in the shadows, and by using the right moves at the right time, you will truly feel like you should have considered espionage as your future career. While the gameplay for the most part is fantastic, there are minor flaws every now and then. For example, the A.I. is usually strong, but sometimes their decision making will leave you second guessing yourself as why exactly did the computer do that. Overall, the gameplay in PT rocks, and Ubisoft should be proud of their improvements over the first title.
The first thing that you notice when you start PT is that the graphics are pretty. PT offers some amazing visual effects throughout the game, most noticeable is the game's fantastic lighting and particle effects. The use of shadows and light is incredible, and it truly gives the game a stealthy atmosphere, making for a very satisfying feeling when playing through the game. The character models are for the most part high in detail, although minor pixelation can occur at times. The games huge environments are also greatly drawn out, creating a virtual world where you actually feel apart of once the action intensifies. Attention to minor details are also fantastic in this game, such as swaying spider webs, flies around light posts, and the awesome use of night vision and thermo vision is always fun to use and great to look at. My only gripe in the graphics department is the lack of HDTV support. Because I play on a HDTV, the game is slightly blurry at times and jaggies can become noticeable, it is no excuse for Ubi to leave out HDTV support. With that being said, I still feel that this game has some of the best graphics amongst next generation titles, and it is sure to impress all that get a chance to view the game's stunning visual offerings.
Just like the gameplay and graphics in PT, the sound is simply marvelous. The game offers dolby digital 5.1 support, which really amplifies the true stealth aspects of the game to a whole new level. The sounds effects are some of the best, and are almost identical to their real life counterparts. From shooting a gun with a silencer, or hearing exploding grenades, or either the clanging of a fence, it's quite amazing. Everything just sounds so real, and you will appreciate all the various sound effects while trying to sneak up on your opposition or even trying to sneak past them in the shadows. The music in the game is pretty standard, but it gets the job done. All in all the sound is definitely dressed to impress, and I couldn't ask for me in a stealth game.
The single player is a fun, short lived experience that doesn't really warrant a second play through. But that doesn't really matter. What makes this game leave you craving for more and more is the totally fun and revolutionary gameplay found via online multiplayer. A truly addicting experience, you play as either a spy or mercenary on well balanced maps where you play one of three game play modes. As a spy, you have one of three objectives: neutralize an ND133, extract tubes, or use modems to neutralize. As a mercenary, your job is to stop these spies at all costs, and I mean anything goes. You can play up to 4 players at a time, usually with teams being 2 on 2. You communicate with your teammate via headset, and be prepared to have fun for hours and hours. Each team has specific equipment that they can take with them, and almost all of the gadgets are quite useful. Spies rely mainly on stealth and diversion, but they can knock out the mercs or snap their necks if they get behind them. The mercs are armed with assault rifles, grenades, and mines to take down the spies rather efficiently, but they are also a lot slower and less nimble than the speedy, acrobatic spies. This makes the game incredibly balanced, which is why it is so much fun to play, on either team. I don't see myself putting this game down for a long, long time because it really is that much fun online.
PT is a game that I have enjoyed greatly, and will continue to through the intense matches to be found online. If you are even slightly interested in espionage, or addicting online competition, then I highly recommend this game. I promise you, this game delivers the goods.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/03/04
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