Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow Review

Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: June 18, 2004 Also On: GCN, PS2, and Xbox

Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow is one of the highest rated Xbox games as reviewed by Game Freaks 365. I have not played, and do not intend to play the Xbox version, being that we already have a review up for it, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the Xbox outperformed the PS2 with flying colors when it comes to graphics.

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The character models in the PS2 version aren’t much better than that of Namco’s Kill.Switch, which is a good game, but didn’t excel in the graphical department. The lighting is impressive, and it seems that you can shoot more lights in this game than you could in the original. Keeping to the shadows is key to success.

On an editorial note, it astonishes me how Ubi Soft could give PS2 gamers a stiff arm. This game’s graphics seem inferior to that of the Xbox version. The load times are about 15-20 seconds and the screen is overly dark. From what I could tell, there is no way to adjust it. The character models are mediocre, at best, but again, the lighting is top-notch. I don’t understand how Ubi Soft could give the PS2, which has outsold the Xbox worldwide about 5 to 1, a watered-down version. Aside from the graphics, the version does get a nice little feature at the end of each level, displaying stats such as kills, bullets used, etc. There is also an extra Jungle level available.

Graphical complaints aside, the game is solid. You’ll start off fighting a militia that has truck-bombed and seized control of the US Embassy in East Timor. Through stealth skills, you’ll find that the leader of this group has an event planned, codenamed Pandora Tomorrow.

Some levels will require that you don’t use lethal tactics. Keeping to the shadows, sneaking up on guards, and knocking them out is always suggested. In the original, you would need an item to attract a guard to your location, but in Pandora Tomorrow, Sam is capable of whistling.

The checkpoints, like the loading areas, disrupt the game’s flow. Checkpoints can take up to ten seconds, but usually about five, to be completed. I’m always one to experiment in a game like this, but due to the long load times, I’m more apt to stay on-mission.

As Shawn specified in his review of the Xbox version, the game’s main attraction is online multi-player. The PS2 version is no different, with four players playing over broadband, with a specific goal to accomplish on both ends. You’re either the spies or the mercenaries. Spies are played in third-person, while the mercenaries are first-person. Being that the mercenaries have a much more powerful arsenal, it balances things out.

If you own a Xbox, I doubt you’re even reading this review. The Xbox version would get the thumbs up from me, being that I’m sure the load times are less painful, the visuals are cleaner, and there are less hiccups, such as characters getting stuck behind objects. For those that aren’t multi-console gamers, Pandora Tomorrow is the best bet for a quality stealth-action title on the PS2.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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