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Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (Xbox)
- Multiplayer missions
- Online gaming
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Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (Xbox)
Sam Fisher, the covert agent who makes Solid Snake look like Basildon Bond, is back in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, the all-new sequel to the 2003 hit. Once again it's down to Fisher alone to rid the world of terrorists and various other enemies of Uncle Sam.
At first glance Pandora Tomorrow looks pretty much identical to its predecessor--which is to say it's one of the most graphically impressive video games ever made, with a particularly nice line in atmospheric lighting and insanely detailed environments. It's true that in straight gameplay terms things haven't changed very much, although there has been a concerted effort to make things less linear this time around--which was one of the main complaints levelled against the first game. Now though, there are multiple solutions to almost every situation you find yourself in, and this isn't limited merely to a simple choice between wading in guns blazing or sitting in a corner for 10 minutes being stealthly.
There are also a few new moves and gadgets to play with but probably the most important new feature for Pandora Tomorrow is the multi-player mode. This is no simplistic death-match mode but instead pits spies (using the single-player game's standard third-person viewpoint) against mercenaries (using a more traditional first-person view) where the completely different abilities and weapons of each team makes for some highly engaging and inventive action. This immediately stops Pandora Tomorrow from being yet another mission disc sequel and alone justifies the price of admission. --David JenkinsSee all Product description
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The graphics do, to me at least, look a significant improvement on the previous games (especially the cut scenes - there's one quick scene where you see brains on the floor in a lab, and they're very realistic!), and the sound is perfect as well - once you turn the distracting backing music right off. There are the multiplayer and online options now too, which I confess that I haven't tried yet (too busy playing the main game!), so I shall refrain from writing about that which I have not tried.
There have been a small, subtle but effective changes to the game controls. The option to use the optic cable, for example, now pops up when you come to a door, so you don't have to go through the inventory to find it! Everything in your inventory is selected through the D-pad, and it's faster than the last system. Beware though, the black button has changed function - it makes Sam whistle now - try to remember that when you're hiding and not allowed to use lethal force!
As well as that, you now have the night-sight and thermal vision goggles from the off, as well as the binoculars, so you don't have to wait to be given permission to use them. I would say though, that the binoculars and telescopic sight on the rifle don't seem to have much of a range, I'm sure in the last game the level of magnification was greater. Also, when you're using the rifle for a sniper shot, and you're holding Sam's breath, it seems to go down a lot quicker. Maybe that's just me, I don't know what anyone else thinks.
Sam also comes with some flashy new moves, too. He has a new turn, to get across illuminated gaps stealthily, and a new jump that can be done from the splits position to jump even higher. My favourite move has to be hanging upside down from a pole to shoot, using your legs to hold on!
It's not without it's bugs, though. I got chased out of a corridor by two guys on the first level. I escaped in the nick of time by going into the garden. When I used the optics cable to look under the door, the bad guy was there, with his back to the door. Stealthily, I opened it, and shot the sucker point blank in the back of the head! Except, he didn't go down - turns out, he was just 'frozen' there, stuck, not doing anything, and further down the corridor there was another one, then in the room it took my ten minutes to get through was another one!
Obviously I've had the game less than a week (it only came out last Friday) so I haven't finished the game yet, but I have played a significant portion of it, and I can truly recommend the game. If you - as I - loved the last game, then you will need to come up with new superlatives. Buy it from Amazon too, where it's a tenner cheaper than rip-off High Street stores!
One gripe to finish off with. Technically it's not connected to the game, so skip it if you want. Last Friday, when I thought about buying the game (before running out of the house in a sweaty palm panic, anxious that it had been in the shops for several hours and they might have sold out!) I came to Amazon to read the reviews, in case there were any advance copies or imports been reviewed, as there sometimes are. It's annoying to see it get 4.5 stars and think, 'Must be good', only to read the reviews and find they're basically just comments about somebody else's review of a demo level given away on a magazine! How can you say 'ooh, it's going to be great!', give a game you've never played 4/5 stars, and call it a review! Amazon, can you sort stuff like that out please? When we come on looking for reviews, we don't expect people looking forward to it or just slagging off a different console, that's not, never been and never will be a review!
This game also defines the word "stealth" MGS was stealthy but you could go in guns blazing. So by the end it was no a stealth game at all. In Splinter Cell you must hide bodies and use your brain to win. You will not get far without it. Sam can also whistle to distract enemies so if there are no objects nearby use that. The alarm stages are different, instead of doing nothing theenemies increase the ammmount of armour they wear and they become harder to kill. Enemies work in groups and this provides realism.
The game requires mo background knowledge of the previous title. For MGS you would need a general background but this is different this game has no real connection to the first.
Overall a very enjoyable game to be enjoyed by everyone.
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