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Pandora Tomorrow on PS2
Splinter Cell has always been an XBox game then ported to other systems. How does Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow do on the PS2?
First, the graphics, since that was always the most shining factor of the Splinter Cell series. It is VERY impressive how well they worked with the PS2 engine and really cranked it up. It's not QUITE as nice as the XBox, but the body dynamics, shadows, lighting and everything else are stunning.
The sounds are equally intense. You really want to have a stereo system and headset set up connected to your TV and PS2 to play this game. There are SO many times that I hear footsteps in a certain direction, and it helps me to avoid the trouble. The sounds are almost key to the game. I normally turn down the atmosphere music completely. While it's nice, it can interfere with gameplay.
The levels are immersive and the AI is quite impressive. I really enjoy playing through these levels, and some missions (the train one for example) are incredible at how they convey the atmosphere.
Where Pandora Tomorrow really shines, though, is multiplayer. The gameplay up to this point is all just practice. It's how you work with a real, human teammate - and go up against two human enemies - that shows your stuff. The maps that are available are quite complex and interesting, with a variety of entry options and detection systems.
This is the only place where the PS2 suffers a bit. With XBox Live you are only playing against high-speed opponents - they don't allow a low speed option. Also, people are paying extra for XBox Live and don't tend to risk their account with unsocial behavior. On the PS2, anyone who buys a game can go online with it, as long as they have the network adaptor. This lets both modem line and high speed players connect.
So the problems are twofold. First, the speed. I've had many laggy games on this system. The microphones in particular tend to cut out a TON which makes gameplay difficult if not impossible. There are settings you can make to help this out, but a modem line person is pretty much doomed. Second, the players. I have had some GREAT players that are supportive and fun to play with for hours on end. I've also had some real jerks that came into a game, spent the entire game shooting me in the head, and then quitting before the game ended. What do they care - it's "free".
Still, after you play for a while, you build up a group of friends you enjoy playing with and really get to know the maps.
In general, Pandora Tomrrow isn't about random blasting. It's about stealth, strategy, and real work-with-your-partner tactics. I highly recommend this for any gamer!
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