Developer: Sony Bend
Release Date: 11/06/2001
Available Exclusively On
Gabe and Lian are now federally wanted fugitives and are marked as terrorists after trying to foil The Agencies’ plans to acquire the Syphon Filter biological weapon. The game picks up right after the end of Syphon Filter 2. Both agents are testifying to Vince Hadden, the main villain of the previous game, and the entire game is made up of flashback missions filling in gaps for the entire series.
While this is a fine idea, Syphon Filter 3 suffers from a huge flaw and that’s level design, as the clever level design from the last 2 games is out the window here and seriously brings this entire game down. While I liked knowing what happened before the first game during the beginning cut scene with Rhomer and Mara in the jungle, and I like seeing how Gabe, Lian, Mujari, and Teresa all met, the levels don’t do it justice. The issue here is both lazy level design and over-ambitious design mixed with hardware limitations. This game came out too late and should have been made for the PS2. Levels in this game are large and open and suffer from the black distance and low draw distance from the PS1’s hardware limitations. The level design is incredibly confusing and hard to navigate. One mission as Lian in the Ancient Ruins is just a labyrinth of hallways and instead of the smooth push through each level there’s tons of backtracking and running around blindly.
Another issue the game suffers from is too much action. There aren’t really any required stealth missions anymore and too many enemies are thrown at you at once as well as a mix of low ammo resources. I frequently ran out of ammo and had to exploit the game by resorting to headshots when I didn’t have to. The increased enemy count just doesn’t work with the game’s auto lock-on system. Many times I died because I couldn’t switch between enemies fast enough. Another mission as Gabe has him running around a boat to plant explosives which is incredibly boring and one level is so short it only has four enemies in it. I feel like 18 months wasn’t enough time to develop this game and create the fun clever levels and enemy placements that made the series so popular.
There are no new gameplay elements added this time around, just new weapons. The MARS, Spyder, AUG3000 (that can see through walls), and that’s about it. Even these weapons are hard to come by and you’re left with the same weapons used in the previous two games. I also didn’t care for the multiplayer this time around and the added mini-games which are just trial runs aren’t that fun either. The only really enjoyable part of the game was the final mission as it felt like a classic Syphon Filter level and the satisfying conclusion to the story for this chapter.
There are no visual improvements outside of better-pre-rendered cut-scenes and virtually no new gameplay additions or enhancements. Overall, I feel Syphon Filter 3 was a product of rushed development and trying to get it out the door for the PS1 players who hadn’t adopted the PS2 just yet. Is it worth playing? Yes, if you’re a hardcore fan, but just take the game with a grain of salt and be prepared for aimless wandering around levels and many frustrated restarts due to poor enemy placement and lack of ammo.