Syphon Filter 2 Review
Last year, Syphon Filter tore up the charts when it debuted in February. It quickly became one of the highest selling games in '99 and also the most popular. 989 Studios/Eidetic quickly realized that they have a money maker on their hands and after a few months they went back to work on a SF sequel. Usually, sequels are somehow screwed up, but that's not the case here. In a word, yes! Syphon Filter 2 is everything I expected it to be and more, this time around the game boasts 2 disks, all full of action. Syphon Filter 2 has now been released, so read more about 989's sequel.
The original Syphon Filter had pretty decent visuals. They may have not compared to Metal Gear's, but were still pretty good. In the sequel, the visuals were slightly changed, there are just a few tweaks around the edges and that is all about it. The CGs on the other hand look excellent, they don't show a single sign of poor data compression and they remain smooth the whole time. In my opinion, I would compare them to those found in Final Fantasy and Resident Evil titles. The stage design is excellent, SF2 includes most of the stages from the first one in the two player DeathMatch mode and that made me feel kind of all tingly inside. The new courses are flooded with great looking environments and navigation. Some stages are extremely huge and it takes quite a long time to check them all out. The character detail is there but it lacks in good polish. You won't find grain here, but you will find some sharp edges on bodies. I noticed that the bodies in SF2 look a bit edgy on the sides, it isn't very noticeable, but it's there. Syphon Filter 2's graphics aren't very bad, they just need a little refinement and that's all, otherwise the visuals are fine.
I'll admit it, not much has changed thought the sequel. The gameplay remains the same, but that is a good thing. When I picked up SF2 I felt like I was right at home, it didn't take me any adjustment at all. From the moment I picked up my Dual Shock I was able to smell the blood of the enemies. Though the gameplay style may not be different, I'll tell you what is, the value. Not only does SF2 carry a two disk package, but it also contains over 20 global areas to shoot some ass on. The game starts out with Lian and Gabe at the Pharcom Wharehouse, they are putting the finishing touches on the pace when helicopters come in and start havoc. During the process Lian is kidnapped and she has also been infected with the Syphon Filter virus. Gabe quickly gets to his feet and he starts his journey and escape. The game has a few new faces such as Teresa, who is Lian's fill-in and new bosses to give Gabe a hard time.
The Two-Player Mode is an one killer addition to the sequel. It really gives the game more value, there are tons of characters to choose from, but many of them have to be unlocked. The stages that you play on are either the original Syphon Filter stages, or new ones that need to be unlocked. Of the top of my head I'm guessing that there are about 30 Two-Player characters and that includes Gabe Logan, Lian Xing, Mara Aramov, Uri Gregarov and more old faces from the first SF as well as new faces from the sequel. With the sequel not only comes more stages, but more artillery. Gabe has now got over 25 weapons and gadgets to help him out on his missions. And finally speaking of missions, the game is divided into two parts, not only do you play as Gabe but you also have the chance to play as Lian for a segment of the game. That's about for the gameplay portion of SF2, if you thought that the gameplay was great just wait till you read about the sound.
Like the first Syphon Filter, SF2 has voice acting. The quality is as great as ever and at no time did I find myself trying to figure out what Gabe, Lian or Teresa had said. The background theme still remains, so those who liked that touch will be pleased to know that it is back. The explosions sound great, and so do the gun shots for that matter. I can't really think of much to say about the sound, because it is basically the same as the original and it's just not a very deep subject.
All rejoice, people who have hard times getting used to controls in sequels can now settle down and stop worrying. SF2 features the exact same control layout as Syphon Filter. Shoot, roll, side step, aim, all of them are at their original placement. But Gabe has now learned how to jump, instead of just plummeting to his death Gabe will now jump at a ledge. As for the basic stuff like Analog and Dual Shock, it's all there and both are working great.
For those who loved every second of Syphon Filter (like me), will love every second of Syphon Filter 2. The visuals may have remained the same but everything else has changed. Excellent gameplay, great sound, the same control and especially the Two-Player Mode make Syphon Filter 2 a definite winner. A must have!