Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror

Overview

It really makes me worried anytime I see a game go from handheld to console, that is just one of those transitions that usually ends in disaster. For one, if the game isn’t completely rebuilt then there has to be a lot of work in translating the control scheme from what it was on the handheld and make it to the console, which can be tricky. Now the Syphon Filter franchise has come full circle, starting from the original PlayStation, then ported to the PS2 and the PSP, and now back to the PS2 with Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. Can it mirror the success of the PSP game onto the PS2? Read our full review to find out!

Gameplay

Last year when we saw Dark Mirror for the PSP it was one of the few games that actually got great praise on the PSP. It was also one of the few games that managed to take a shooter onto the PSP (which has only one analog stick) and made it work to a great deal of success. I have to say it was one of the few games at the time that earned an Editor’s Choice nod by myself on the PSP, and still remains one of the better PSP games out there today. With that being said, I was extremely interested to see how the PS2 version would fair.

Well let’s get into our review now for Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror for the Playstation 2, which hopes to bring in all the right elements of the PSP version to the PS2 version. Similar to my review of the PSP version, I am not going to give away the story line for Gabe Logan, but instead just say that the story, even for the second run through, was very entertaining and engaging. It reminded me of the great days on the Playstation with the truly great Syphon Filter titles.

Of course the big change in the game is the control scheme, which gives away all of the little nuances that the developers had to put in in order to get the game playable on the PSP. However now the developers had the standard two analog controller to work with and went back to a much more conventional and much easier way to pick up and play the game. In fact the controls are really a non-issue in the game now, and although the developer did some of the most progressive control work on the PSP, the PS2 controller still feels a lot more natural than before.

The only real issue I had with the transition from the PSP to PS2 is that the balancing of the game is a bit off because of the controls. So there are some areas that I remember in the PSP version being just extremely difficult and now being a breeze, and that goes both ways. The game doesn’t feel as well structured as a console title, and in many ways feels a bit of a hybrid between the two. Overall though the game still manages to make a successful jump, one that actually feel quite a bit stronger then many other transitions from PSP to PS2.

The only other real big problem I have with Dark Mirror on the PS2 is the online play, mainly because it has been axed from this version. The game really thrived on the PSP with its online play, but on the PS2 it has not been included, which is a major disappointment. The reason for leaving it out is still very unclear, but from my perspective I am sure it is either budgeting or a lack of interest. What is however surprising about this is that Dark Mirror was really the first great online title on the PSP, and it wasn’t even partially brought over on the PS2.

In the end, if you’re looking for an offline Syphon Filter experience, the PS2 version does provide a solid alternative for those who don’t want to go the PSP route. Either way, this is still a solid game that is just missing some key features.

Graphics

For a port from the PSP to PS2 I can honestly say expecting much of anything could be a big problem, especially since most games don’t translate well at all. In Syphon Filter Dark Mirror you are left with a similar feeling, although not as severe as many other ports. You can see there has been some architectural work in the game, the environments managed to translate nicely and the frame rate stays pretty solid throughout as well. The character models however seem a bit messy, a few too many jaggies and weirdly structured, but overall it is still a good port from PSP to PS2.

Fun Factor

There is no doubt that after over a year since the release of Dark Mirror on the PSP a lot has changed in gaming, especially in terms of technology. So when looking at Dark Mirror you have to first understand that this game was made back on the PSP over a year ago and now is being translated onto the PS2 an older console. For anyone who is looking for a title that really takes the technology to the limit, this is not your game. However fans of Syphon Filter are going to find a lot to love about the game, mainly for its story, which continues to create one of the more interesting gaming characters out there, Gabe Logan.

Overall

This is not your perfect port, and although the PSP version earned an Editor’s Choice from me over a year ago, I can’t say the same about the PS2 version. After a year you would think that there would be the inclusion of online play, but I suppose the developers just thought it was not necessary. In the end, Dark Mirror is a good solid title that suffers from being a bit dated and missing some key features.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.