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Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror Review

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Finally, a PSP game that does the format justice.

★★★★★

While the Nintendo DS has emerged as the most exciting games machine on the planet – offering a slew of compelling, innovative and unique titles – the PSP has been a cruel disappointment for early adopters, failing to offer a single decent game since GTA: Liberty City Stories over eight months ago.
But in Syphon Filter, Sony’s beleaguered handheld finally has a title that showcases its potential.

A third-person espionage adventure that delivers a heady blend of stealth and shooting, Dark Mirror succeeds where similar PSP games have failed by offering an intuitive and friendly interface; while most portable shooters would benefit from a second analogue stick to mimic the controls of a PC blaster, the developers of Syphon Filter have used all the PSP’s buttons and knobs in the most efficient and logical way, making it a cinch to select night vision goggles, peek around corners and silently pick off enemies with a perfect headshot.

Aside from its sublime controls, Dark Mirror also delivers all the goods you’d expect from a home console game: the presentation is Hollywood-esque in scope, using beautifully scripted (if occasionally cheesy) cut-scenes to weave a twisted tale of international terrorism and bring a sense of urgency to the proceedings; the graphics are stunning throughout, with some of the best 3D models so far on the PSP; and the varied missions help keep the experience fresh, swinging wildly between stealth and shooting sequences, and giving players plenty of ways to interact with computer-controlled comrades.

Best of all, though, Dark Mirror features the most ambitious multiplayer on the PSP so far, offering a wide variety of game modes to slaughter your buddies, the chance to create online clans, and even view international leader boards to see how your performance measures up against the global competition.

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