Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow Review
The single-player and multiplayer portions of Pandora Tomorrow are both highly impressive and add up to an experience that will surely appeal to anyone remotely interested in a game of high-tech stealth action.
Sam Fisher is back, and this time, he's brought some friends. Well, that's not exactly true--Fisher, an ultrasecret agent in league with the US government, always works alone. But the point is, the sequel to Ubisoft's blockbuster hit, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, not only offers more of the same spectacular single-player stealth action, starring Sam, that was featured in the original game, but also boasts a genuinely innovative, new multiplayer mode for up to four players, in which small groups of spies must match wits with heavily armed mercenaries. The multiplayer mode ties in with the single-player storyline, though the two portions of the game are completely self-contained. In fact, both the single-player and multiplayer portions of Pandora Tomorrow are highly impressive in their own right and add up to an experience that will surely appeal to fans of the first Splinter Cell, let alone anyone remotely interested in a game about high-tech stealth, subterfuge, and sabotage.
The title of Pandora Tomorrow refers to a code phrase used by the presumed villain of the game, a guerrilla leader threatening the free world with a biological contagion. In the single-player portion of the game, you'll reprise the role of Sam Fisher and track this culprit around the globe, in locations ranging from a speeding passenger train hurtling across Paris, to a military camp in Indonesia. The first Splinter Cell game took place predominantly in building interiors, which were richly detailed but naturally mundane. One of Pandora Tomorrow's obvious improvements on its predecessor is in how it takes place in more-exotic locales. In Indonesia, you'll creep through the heavy brush, perhaps using the dense foliage to hide the bodies of your victims out of sight. On the passenger train, you'll shimmy along the outside to avoid detection and will come dangerously close to being flung to your death from the fast-moving car. This train level comes pretty early on in the campaign and is the shortest and probably the most impressive of the game's missions. There are only eight in total, but most of them are quite long, so veteran Splinter Cell players should expect a good 10 hours' worth of action.
The core gameplay is basically the same, which, for the most part, is a very good thing. You'll sneak your way through the game's linear scenarios, avoiding or incapacitating any unsuspecting guards (or, sometimes, civilians) who might otherwise threaten your mission of secrecy. It's not difficult to alert passersby to your presence, either by moving too quickly (or otherwise making too much noise) or by blundering into a well-lit area. There are other nasty surprises in store for you. Hidden antipersonnel mines (visible only when you toggle your thermal vision), infrared trip wires (likewise), booby traps, motion detectors, security cameras, and other such devices make the going quite difficult.
You've got plenty of tricks up your sleeve, too. Fisher is typically armed with a silenced pistol as well as his trusty SC20K multipurpose experimental assault rifle, which he can use for some silent sniping when lethal force is permitted or which he can use to fire off a variety of different gadgets. Those who played Splinter Cell will recognize all of these, which range from diversionary cameras to smoke grenades to electrifying (but nonlethal) rounds. Fisher's other gadgets include lock picks, an optical fiber wire used for seeing what's on the other side of a closed door, and his combined night vision/thermal vision goggles. He's fully decked out to get the job done by any means necessary.
Pandora Tomorrow's storyline is somewhat more cohesive than that of its predecessor, and some of the gameplay elements are thankfully a bit more transparent this time around. For example, the game inherits a somewhat contrived element from its predecessor: In Splinter Cell you needed to hide the bodies of your victims out of sight to avoid setting off an alarm, which would possibly result in the failure of your mission. You needed to hide all bodies even when there was no one left conscious to pay them much heed. Pandora Tomorrow at least makes it clear that this is always necessary, and a helpful blip on your stealth meter (which indicates how camouflaged you are in the darkness) lets you know where it's safe to dump a body so no one will notice. Also, in most missions, you don't automatically fail if an alarm is sounded; you'll be afforded up to three such mistakes, though at scripted points in each mission, the alarm stage will reset back to zero, and you'll be able to proceed somewhat less anxiously.
- Player Reviews: 105
- 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:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: