Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

It’s a shame that the multiplayer capabilities of the early Splinter Cell games have been disabled, because the introduction of the asymmetric Spies vs. Mercs mode in Pandora Tomorrow was easily its most exciting and unique feature. Without it, we’re left with a B-team-developed sequel that’s more of an expansion pack. Fortunately, I find the core gameplay of the series to be quite enjoyable, so that’s not entirely a dealbreaker. There’s nothing quite like the tension of invisibly prowling through hazards while knowing that the only thing separating you from immediate death is a few candelas. I also find the controls surprisingly effective, as they feel more like operating an unorthodox machine rather than directing a human character, which is an appropriate choice for a methodical genre like stealth.

Neither of these systems are perfectly consistent, but they work well enough to deliver the intended experience. Similarly, while the level design occasionally resorts to aggressively restricting the player’s options (betraying the developers’ unfamiliarity with the material), the majority of the obstacles are still fairly organic. Plus, every tool and technique available simply feels cool to execute, regardless of how telegraphed it is. Playing on PC with a quicksave key also softens the difficulty spike introduced by the second game, although the amount of tweaking required to make it functional on a modern computer offsets that bonus somewhat. Once the visuals were working correctly, I found them to be an improvement on the original, while the music and story were generally up to par. The way all of the poorly-voiced NPCs use inappropriate American accents was supremely distracting, however.

6.5/10
6.5/10

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