Review by ManofPeace20
"A mixed bag"
The first Splinter Cell is considered one of the best titles out for the XBOX. It even owns the highest score ever for OXM magazine, which is a 9.6. While that game is considered one of the best, it had its share of flaws. Whenever I see a sequel come out for a game or a movie, I judge it based on how it compares to the original, and how it stands on its own. Without further ado, lets see how Splinter Cell's sequel stands up.
Graphics is never a main factor for me in enjoying a game and I am not too harsh of a judge. Regardless, the graphics in Pandora Tomorrow are great. With that said, they aren't on the same level as the original. Maybe my eyes are dying or my TV settings are off, but the graphics have sort of a ''grainy'' look at times. Don't get me wrong though, the graphics are still better than most on the XBOX, its just that the original set the bar extremely high.
Winner: The first game
The controls are similar to the original, but some changes have been made. For example, pressing up against a wall has been changed to pushing in the left control stick, and I believe the black button is used to make a whistling sound to lure in enemies. Overall, a great change. However, I have noticed that Sam runs it is sometimes difficult to make him do rolls, and whenever Sam is pressed against a wall and I am trying to peek around the corner, he will sometimes slide off the wall.
I have no complaints about the sound in either game. However, originality points have to be taken away because the enemies say the exact same things as they did in the original. The best new thing about the sound is Sam. He says some very humorous things at times.
Winner: Pandora Tomorrow
This is one of the few games I actually rushed out for and plopped down 50 dollars for. I usually wait until the price drops. I was banking on some improved AI and 17 missions to keep me busy. Howvever, I found out once I bought the game that half of those 17 missions are on multiplayer maps. That really irritated me. I would not have put down 50 dollars on it if I would have known.
As for the rest of the single player, it was a mixed bag. It does not distinguish itself enough from the original. While I am enjoying the game so far, it has a ''been there, done that'' feel. Ubi-Soft has added some new moves, but the only ones that make a difference in the gameplay are the whistling feature and the laser scope. Just as the original, you will find yourself repeating checkpoints over and over again, which eats away at the replayability. Also, its hard to believe how enemies still act like you aren't there after you conk them on the head and they wake up. I also noticed enemies will not chase you too often if you run through doors.
The multiplayer is also a mixed bag. If you don't have XBOX live or a system link, you are pretty much out of luck. I don't have XBOX Live, but I am now seriously considering buying it after trying out the tutorial. The game modes are a fresh new concept, and I am dying to try it out. The multi-player negates the ''been there, done that'' feel of the single player mode.
If you are keeping count, the sequel matches the original by the way I scored it, but the multi-player tutorial has so much potential that I have no choice but to say the sequel exceeds the original. However, if you don't have XBOX-Live, you are simply getting an extension of the original game. While single-player is good, one gets the feeling most of the effort in creating something new was poured into the multiplayer feature. Here's the pros and cons:
1) Multi-player shows alot of promise
2) Enemies seem a little smarter
3) Not quite as linear as the original
1) 17 missions are not all single player missions
2) No XBOX-Live = out of luck
3) Doesn't add a whole lot of new things on single player.
4) Enemies may be a little smarter, but they still do some dumb stuff.
Final score: 7 out of 10
''While the game is great, you can't help but feel a deja-vu''
Single Player= 20-30 dollars.
Multiplayer= Retail price (50 dollars).
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 03/25/04
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