Release Date: 03/14/2000
Available Exclusively On
Syphon Filter is one of my favorite gaming franchises of all time and the top five PS1 series. It was the very first serious “adult” game I ever played and got into. Just the concept of how shooters work was totally alien to me before Syphon Filter. It was a game that I also spent a lot of time with my late father and we aced each game learning every enemy spawn point, hidden cache, and level design. We rented this game frequently and spent dozens of hours mastering each game. We probably spent more time on Syphon Filter 2 than any other game in the series and for good measure as it’s the best game out of the three.
Syphon Filter 2 isn’t just an expansion, despite playing and looking exactly like the first game, as there is a greater and more expanded story, more weapons, new levels, and it’s also a couple of hours longer than the first game coming on two discs. You play as both Gabriel Logan and Lian Xing as you are fugitives of the US government and are still fighting The Agency so get back the data discs that store the Syphon Filter data. The game picks up right where the last game left off when Gabe crash landing in the Colorado Rockies. In the first level, the game introduces new weapons and gameplay elements such as being able to leap gaps. New weapons include the unsilenced 9mm, H-11 sub-machine gun, silenced HK-5, UA12 auto-shotgun, hand taser, flashlight, teargas launcher, and more. These weapons are just as memorable and awesome as the first games. There are so many new weapons here it nearly doubles the arsenal.
On top of this, there are other gameplay elements added such as enemies being able to get a headshot on you. The HUD will flash red and a headshot text will appear on the screen. You have mere seconds to get out of the way or you instantly die. New enemies are introduced such as full armored ones that only die with explosions in one level towards the end of the game. There is also a better balance of action and stealth with Lian’s levels in the air force base are perfect examples. Agents can be killed but military MPs can not. You must sneak around and tase the MPs with your hand taser, but the agents are fair game with silenced weapons. Another level has you sneaking around vents and night vision automatically kicks in when the area is too dark which is awesome.
The level design is on point just like the first game. Each level is memorable and fun and takes you around the globe. From the Colorado Rockies that the first disc mostly takes place in the Moscow nightclubs, Agency bio-labs, and New York sewers. The levels are incredibly designed with the perfect balance of stealth and action. The train ride is a fun linear shooting gallery while the bridge level requires quick thinking and stealth and mastering enemy movement patterns. You can tell Eidetic mastered this genre with the second game and even the voice acting greatly improved. This is a AAA PS1 game at its finest and you will be hard-pressed to find better on the system.
The visuals didn’t really improve any, but they already pushed the system to its limits and still have plenty of detail and the game looks great. There is some issue with slowdown here and there, but what PS1 game didn’t have that? There’s also a shoehorned multiplayer mode that I didn’t even care for. 1v1 on maps from both Syphon Filter games just isn’t very fun. If the game allowed 2v2 via a multi-tap that would have been awesome, but what we have here is something just not very fun, and not to mention half the maps need to be unlocked by finding secrets in the game.
Overall, Syphon Filter 2 shows what the PS1 era of games would do and helped push the third-person shooter genre into what it is today. While it came out very late at the end of the systems life cycle — a mere week before the launch of the PS2, it still sold incredibly well and showed that the PS1 had staying power even after its successor launched. The story, voice acting, visuals, and overall feeling of the game are fantastic and there’s nothing else like it on the system. It’s a must-own for any PlayStation fan.