Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror Review
Syphon Filter's first PS2 outing was an online game that offered little of a single player experience reminiscent of the rest of the Syphon Filter series. Later Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror was released for the PSP and achieved high-level status for its interesting story and online multiplayer gameplay. Now Dark Mirror has been brought over to the PS2 but this is no mere straight port like GTA. The PS2 version drops the online multiplayer and adds enhanced graphics as well as enhanced controls.
The story of Syphon Filter throws around many names and organizations and takes Gabe to numerous areas of the world. To summarize the basics of the plot, a para-military group known as "Red Section" uncovers a project known as Dark Mirror. Gabe Logan, along with his partner Lian Xing, is sent to several destinations around the world to infiltrate this group. The story builds with each mission until ultimately the key players are exposed then the plot really takes off for the remainder of the game. It delves a lot more into Gabe's past than one might expect as the main story progresses.
Dark Mirror features a training mode, story mode, and mission mode. Training mode allows a player to get the feel of the gameplay and I would highly recommend starting with this mode since the game doesn't really teach the basics during the story mode. Story mode is the basic single player experience of Dark Mirror. Once each mission in story mode is completed, that mission will be added to mission mode and can be replayed at any time.
Each story mission has a set of objectives that must be completed and will usually offer a checkpoint once each objective is fulfilled. Once each mission is complete the game will automatically auto-save then load the next mission. "Hidden Evidence" is strewn throughout each level and can be optionally found to unlock a few bonus extras per mission. There is also a ranking system that judges Gabe based on the approach he takes to finishing a level (such as stealth kills, knife kills, certain weapon use, etc.) and this can lead to unlocking a bunch of extra weapons and content.
The gameplay itself is loaded with tons of action, but there are still plenty of stealth opportunities. It's basically up to the player how to handle a situation most of the time. The gunfights in Dark Mirror can get very intense with the smart enemy AI. The enemies can run, climb, use ziplines, and roll all while in pursuit, so most of the time they don't just sit and wait to be shot.
To let you know what this enemy AI is like, one time I was on the first floor and a guard started to fire at me from the second floor walkway near a column. I quickly crouched and took cover behind the side of a bar table. When I popped out to fire at him from my cover, he quickly moved back behind the column. I thought to myself, "OK, I'll just pop him when he decides to shoot again". Well, he darted out from behind the column and ran behind the column across from him, then actually ran to the side of the second floor that was up above me and started to fire from the railing. The enemy AI starts to become more aggressive and smarter later in the game such as in this little example - they try to take cover as much as possible and can be surprising with their actions.