Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow Review
This is a respectable port overall, and if you consider it only in the context of the PlayStation 2's library, it's still a great game.
Yet, much like the original Splinter Cell, it must be said about Pandora Tomorrow that it occasionally devolves into pure trial-and-error gameplay. The missions are completely linear and tightly scripted, so if you're jumped by bad guys or you stumble over a trap of some sort and thus fail your mission, you'll just reload from the last checkpoint, and then try again, this time knowing exactly what's coming up. That doesn't necessarily mean you'll always get through the tight spots on the second attempt, as in fact, Pandora Tomorrow can be pretty tough. Some sequences demand you to silently make your way through environments while using both your night vision and your thermal vision to see all the dangers in your surroundings. Then you might need to silently take out a small squad of guards.
Enemy artificial intelligence is about the same as in the previous Splinter Cell, which means guards will basically patrol around in a set pattern, giving you the opportunity to sneak up on them or shoot them. If you make too much noise or otherwise reveal your position, though, they'll either come investigate if you weren't too blatant about it (usually setting themselves up for an easy kill or knockout), or they'll open fire and sound an alarm. Fisher can't sustain much damage, but it's still quite easy to outshoot your enemies as long as you don't alert too many of them at a time. The fact that the gameplay sequences in which you aren't permitted to use lethal force are so much harder than the ones in which you can shoot to kill says a lot about the AI. Strangely enough, the AI seems to have worsened in translation to the PlayStation 2, in how enemies seem to have a distinctly easier time engaging Sam from a distance than from close range, where they'll often stumble about, unable to draw a bead on him. Simply put, the enemy behavior in combat just isn't very convincing here. A side-effect of this is that the game itself is less challenging than the other versions.
Those who've played other versions of Pandora Tomorrow will also spot a few, negligible additions in this version, such as a new type of minigame for defusing trip-wire booby traps and a new rappelling sequence in one of the missions in Indonesia. There's also a rudimentary mission results screen in between each level, though it doesn't give you any incentive to retry a mission. These types of things don't make up for the compromises made to the single-player portion of the game. One of the biggest issues with this version is that the lighting effects have been substantially toned down, resulting in a much more rigid sense of where it's dark and where it's light--but the shadows onscreen aren't necessarily a good indicator of how concealed you are. You'll end up staring at the little light meter in the corner of the screen rather than intuitively sticking to where it's dark. It's easy to nitpick over these types of things, but at any rate, single-player Pandora Tomorrow has a number of memorable moments that shine through even in this version of the game.
Multiplayer Pandora Tomorrow is based on a key plot point, which is alluded to peripherally during Sam Fisher's single-player adventures. Basically, a group called Shadownet--consisting of stealthy guys very much like Sam Fisher, only their faces are completely covered--is charged with sneaking into key areas to dispose of biological weapons in the vicinity. An opposing mercenary force, ARGUS Corp., is commissioned to prevent Shadownet from succeeding. The big twist is that mercenary players view the action from a first-person perspective--and control the action just like in a conventional first-person shooter.
The ARGUS mercs aren't just thugs. Their multipurpose assault rifles are equipped with optional laser sights and torch lights for target identification, and their helmets feature two special vision modes, which allow them to detect spies lurking in the darkness, or traces of their special gadgets. Mercs also have access to anti-spy mines, various grenades, and spy traps, which can cause unsuspecting spies to give away their position. The spies, meanwhile, aren't just Sam Fisher clones, and you'll notice that they control quite differently in some ways. Plus, they have a bunch of unique gadgets of their own. Their electromagnetic rifles are nonlethal but can be used to disable security cameras, motion sensors, and laser trip wires or to temporarily stun enemy mercenaries. Spies also pack flashbang grenades for blinding those pesky mercs and chaff grenades for temporarily disrupting static defenses. They've even got spy bullets, which can mark enemy mercs, revealing their positions on the spies' radars, and allowing the spies to eavesdrop on that merc's voice communications. They can also creep up behind and put unsuspecting mercenaries in a vice grip, in true Sam Fisher style, and then knock them out or kill them.
- Player Reviews: 69
- Game Universe:
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (DC, GBC, N64, PS, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (XBOX, PC, GC, PS2, MAC, NGE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (XBOX, PS2, GC, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (PC, PS, DC, PS2, GBA, MAC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (XBOX, PC, PS2, GC, GBA, NGE, MOBILE, MAC, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (PC, XBOX, PS2),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (PC, XBOX, PS2, GC, GBA, MOBILE, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (PS2, NGE, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PC, XBOX, NGE, PS2, GC, DS, 3DS)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players: