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Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror Review

Developer: Sony Bend Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: March 2006 Also On: None

Syphon Filter: Omega Strain was lost somewhere in-between Resident Evil 4 and God of War. The game didn’t get much coverage because of the large barrage of games in 2005 and it wasn’t very good to begin with. Spotty AI mixed with ugly locations didn’t equate to a must-have last spring. Now that the PlayStation Portable is in some serious need of action of any type, Gabe Logan comes to the rescue. But will it be you that needs the rescuing from Syphon Filter?

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If you’re not familiar with the franchise, this game franchise dates back to the days of PlayStation where it saw three releases. Omega Strain was the first (and last) PlayStation 2 release for the series. Developer Sony Bend took over the franchise with Omega Strain and continues with Dark Mirror. This should scare the crap out of you, mostly because Omega Strain isn’t exactly the best game on the PlayStation 2, but a few key adjustments have been made.

For a PlayStation Portable title, the developers at Sony Bend are making good use of the hardware with the 3D visuals. You have an open environment full of enemies and destructible objects like tanks and…more tanks. Not much time seems to have been put into unique enemy character design as each looks identical, but if the game plays well, that’ll only be a minor gripe by launch. Other than that, the visual presentation and in-game movies seem impressive.

The two levels that I could access on the demo had straightforward objectives. The first has you kill an enemy sniper and release a valve before the facility explodes. You can lean against walls, lock-on enemies and fire to clear out the first area. Your camera can be moved with the face buttons (circle, triangle, etc.) and the analog nub controls Gabe’s movement. The control pad is used to switch between weapons, vision modes and reload. You can auto-target enemies with L, then fire with R.

From the short demo that I played, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror displays that competent third-person shooter controls are possible on the PlayStation Portable. I’ve been hoping for more action games on the system, like Ghost Recon, a proper Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell. All of them seem like viable possibilities after playing this game. In March 2005, PlayStation Portable owners will be treated to what will hopefully be a must-have action title.

Written by Kyle