Review: The end of an era...
I'm going to be honest with you, before I purchased my PlayStation 2 last year, I had never owned a PSone. I have never played many of the classic Playstation titles. No Gran Turismo. No Final Fantasy VII. No Metal Gear Solid. And no Syphon Filter. So I came into Syphon Filter 3 completely fresh. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Syphon Filter 3 is the continuing story of Gabe Logan and his team of secret agents. Since the outbreak of the Syphon Filter virus they've been called before a Congressional hearing to explain exactly what it is they were doing. The game takes place during these hearings as it flashes you back to the time they happened. It's definitely an interesting take, a game played entirely in flashback. It's almost hard to say, but 989 actually pulled off something fairly original.
What else is hard to say is just how... there this game is. There's nothing that makes it stand out and make gamers stand up and take notice. There's also nothing here that is bad enough to deserve my wrath. I could go on forever listing my little gripes with the game and never really coming across one that would make me not recommend it to anyone. For example there's the problem of trying to switch weapons in a firefight is a true pain in the ass. But then I'd have to turn right around and say that the shear number of weapons available to you in this game is unbelievable. Being able to pull out a tazer and smoke someone is just downright cool.
The graphics and sound are at about that good enough level as well. The graphics feature that grainy, blocky PSone look that we've come to expect from the PS2's little brother and even at the end that's not going to change. They get the job done but don't be expecting to be blown away. The same can be said for the sound as well. It's not earth shattering, but the voice acting is good and the weapon sound effects are top notch. Even the tazer gets the full sound treatment to match with the vibration feature to become the coolest game weapon ever. OK, so I guess there's one thing that stands out. Throw in some nice CG scenes before the levels and you got yourself a nice presentation. The background music totally blends into the background though, no stand out arrangements or anything. After a few minutes you won't even remember it's there.
The gameplay is fast and furious with enemy soldiers around every corner and a seemingly never-ending hail of bullets to take them out. Syphon Filter 3 is a third person action game, plain and simple. It features a nice targeting system that I know enough that it's been with the series from the start. The game's superior sniper rifle play is also very cool. Ducking around corners like a true spy, sniping guys in the head. Nobody is the wiser that I'm just around the corner. This solid gameplay makes Syphon Filter 3. The only thing that really bugged me was the bad guy's predilection to respawn after you kill them. These aren't demons that appeared out of thin air, they're soldiers. After you shoot them they should stay dead.
After all that though it just keeps pecking away at the back of my mind that this is a very average game. Well not so much average as it is solid. A good game that never really does anything to prove that it's a great game. But never doing anything to prove that it's a bad game either. It's there, on the shelf, waiting to be picked up. Those that do will have a good time. Those that don't won't really be missing much. It's just there.