Syphon Filter 2
|a game by||Eidetic|
|Editor Rating:||9/10, based on 3 reviews|
|User Rating:||9.3/10 - 3 votes|
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No one expected the original Syphon Filter to be as spectacularly popular as it turned out to be, but 989 Studios was so pleased with selling more than a million copies, that they've been rushing to bring a new game out as soon as possible. Currently scheduled for a March release, this could well be the first mega-hit for PlayStation in 2000.
So what's different this time? Well, Gabe's been given a huge new arsenal of goodies to play around with--plus he can jump now, an ability that was oddly missing from the original game. Two-player support has been added, and there are 15 different arenas that you can run around and blow up a buddy in. Gabe's partner, Lian Xiang, is now a playable character, and you get to play as her in eight of the 20 levels that come on this two-disc set.
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Syphon Filter 2 will sell. You know it, we know it. But it's our job to tell you that it's a subpar sequel to one of the best games last year; and in typical 989 fashion, SF2 is sloppy, rushed and rehashed. The game engine itself offers no substantial improvement, other than a feeble "jump" function that you can't even control, and the ability to save at checkpoints. However, the price we pay for such minor improvements far outweigh the rewards. It seems that by allowing you to save (and restart) at each checkpoint, Eidetic has open license to create some of the most linear and frustrating levels ever. What happened to the classic arctic base level from the original SF, where triggering an alarm sent you up shit creek but kept the game rolling just the same? As it is, SF2 has lost all sense of spontaneity. Expect to run each gauntlet over and over again with machine-like precision until you've figured out the lay of the land. And why did Eidetic destroy the balance between run-and-gun versus stealth game-play? Overall, there are a lot more stealth missions, each filtered through SF2's harsh mission parameters (read: get caught, start over and over and over and over.). However, there's a cool string of levels in Russia that really bring back the old SF feeling, but it's over all too soon and before you know it, Logan's sneaking around with his Taser again. A huge disappointment comes in the form of SF2's multiplayer mode. Granted, it's nice being able to unlock characters and levels to use in DM, but what's the point when the actual DM game is so barebones and shallow? Two-player versus always comes down to grabbing the grenade launcher, locking the target and ka-boom, instant frag. If you're lucky, you'll pull off a non-camper head shot--thanks to how painfully slow it is to aim your gun. We know it was silly of us to expect a real sequel from 989, but hey...we can always dream.
The first SF combined the best elements of games like Metal Gear Solid and Tomb Raider, with just the right balance of difficulty between its action and puzzle-oriented levels. The fact that it had a decent plot and gripping interludes only added to my surprise. Unfortunately, it appears the only thing that carried over to SF2 was the story, which picks up tightly where the first one left off. Even as it resides on two CDs, almost all the levels on disc 1 are a complete letdown. It isn't until the beginning of disc 2 that the game even resembles the SF I fell in love with last year. Instead of tense and dynamic environments that gave you room to exude your style of play, SF2 requires you to do things exactly as they've planned it...as a result, you often feel like you're playing around their limited events triggers. Imagine a Metal Gear Solid where the game ends every time you're spotted by a guard-that's how frustrating SF2 is! Each level is a laborious exercise of trial-and-error, where you constantly learn things the hard way. And to up the difficulty, enemies can now perform head shots with uncanny accuracy, be it in pitch-black fog, or from rooftops against a running target. That's not gameplay, that's frustration. You don't understand how it breaks my heart. SF2 looks like SF, but it's only a hollow shell of its former self.
It's not that Syphon Filter 2 is a bad action game. It's just a bad sequel to the excellent original. Cheap death lurks everywhere. Enemies score headshots on you before you even know they were there. Baddies toss grenades all around your position. Stealth missions screech to a halt every time you're caught. The numerous checkpoints help, since you don't have to cover too much old ground when you mess up, but expect major frustration.
The story of Syphon Filter 2 could be extremely cool. It would actually be quite fantastic if it didn't have the game associated with it. All the tedious running around and shooting stuff does very little to further the pace of the story. Sequels should, as a rule, improve on their predecessors, but SF2 (while more "epic" than the original) is a far more linear and tedious affair. It's harsh too...you'll try some sections sooooo many times before you get it right.
Having never played the first game, I didn't know what to expect. I'd heard plenty about how good the first game was. What I found was an incredibly frustrating action game. Whatever happened to the concept of fair play? And although some people are turned off by the extremely low-detailed character renders in the cinema, I think it works to achieve a real comic-book look. After hearing how good the first game was, this is a bit of a letdown.
Poor Gabe. Not only was the Agency he once risked his life for behind the Syphon Filter viral outbreaks (in the first game), now they're trying to blame him for the whole thing. So now Gabe's on the run, trying to clear his name--of course, the Agency ain't having it.
Spanning two CD-ROMs, this second Syphon Filter offering gives more than 20 new levels for Gabe to traverse. And this time around, a majority of these areas are outside environments filled with plenty of enemies and bosses.
Fans should be happy to hear the sequel will sport more than 10 new weapons and hi-tech gadgets. Some we know of so far include automatic shotguns, a night-vision rifle, a flamethrower, tear gas, silenced pistols and many others. 989 has also implemented a new targeting system for SF2. Now you'll have multiple targeting modes for enemies with different types of body armor (default mode, manual aim and target lock). Also, you'll be able to keep enemies targeted as you crouch, run or even jump.
The implementation of save points is one particular feature we're happy to welcome. Now instead of having to successfully make your way to the end of each level in one sitting, you're given checkpoints that allow you to save your mid-level progress to a memory card.
Syphon Filter 2 makes use of the same engine as the original, so gamers should know what to expect from it graphically. Eidetic has gone back, however, to redo the model and animations for Gabe and add other graphical effects and tweaks. They have also added a number of new in-games cinemas.
We've also learned that Lian Xing will return, except now she's a playable character in eight of the game's 20 levels, and acts as Gabe's second-in-command. There have also been rumors of some romantic involvement between her and Gabe.
989 is currently targeting Syphon Filter 2 for a release in March of this year. From what we've seen of the game so far, it would appear that fans of the original will be pleased with this sequel. Check www.videogames.com for more info on SF2.
- MANUFACTURER - Eidetic
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Snapshots and Media
- Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
- Metal Gear Solid
- Metal Gear Solid 2
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- Metal Gear Solid Integral
- Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
- Secret World Legends
- Tomb Raider
- Tomb Raider 2
- Tomb Raider 3
- Tomb Raider The Last Revelation