By Noah Robischon
Updated March 19, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

In the original Splinter Cell, Sam Fisher was an introverted and lonely global superspy. So it’s nice, in this new installment, to learn about Sam’s past and even meet a few of his friends. But Pandora seems less like a sequel and more like an extension of the first game, with a few nice enhancements and some more dark and dangerous environments (like the underbelly of a speeding train). Other improvements include the addition of multiplayer and online modes that pit silent Sam against some ruthless mercenaries. What worries us, though, is the clear indication that we’ve been playing too many of these games: The convoluted story line (something about Indonesian guerrillas and the fate of the free world) actually started to make sense.