Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain Hands-On Impressions

We check out the latest version of SCEA's upcoming action game at the PlayStation Experience event in London.

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During a recent visit to the PlayStation Experience event in London, we had the opportunity to check out the latest version of Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain. The game was playable only in its offline, single-player form, but as we negotiated the early stages of the game, we found plenty to get excited about.

Since The Omega Strain sees players assuming the role of a support soldier rather than of Agent Gabe Logan himself, the first thing we were required to do was customize the appearance of our character. The editor worked in much the same way as create-a-player tools in sports games, and, although the customization options were far from infinite, there's plenty of scope for players to create a soldier with similar features to themselves if they wish--provided they don't have a mohawk haircut or green skin.

The game started in a Toronto shopping mall that, following an outbreak of the Syphon Filter virus, appeared to have fallen victim to looters and was being frequented by armed thugs rather than shoppers. All the moves from previous Syphon Filter games are still present, and it wasn't long before we were managing to crouch, strafe, roll, and target enemies. Because of the range of moves available, The Omega Strain feels a lot like a stealth-based action game, but, in truth, gunfights are unavoidable for the most part, so the moves are primarily used to evade enemy fire or to make sure you get a good shot at enemies before they spot you, rather than for avoiding combat situations completely.

Our first objective in the level as we assisted in the investigation of the virus outbreak was to obtain a water sample, which we were able to do simply by pushing an action button once we'd located a suitable container. Our next goal was to protect a number of scientists who had come under fire from thugs, but since the scientists opened fire on us themselves once we'd saved them, we were quick to leave the area in search of our next objective--performing an autopsy on a body. We located a body on an operating table inside a medical tent, but, when we approached it, another group of scientists opened fire. The solution, of course, was to find ourselves a radiation suit so the scientists would assume we were one of them.

Although we'd have liked to have spent a lot more time with the game, we played it long enough to get very excited at the prospect of getting our hands on a finished copy early next year. The Omega Strain's single-player game looks certain to be worth the asking price on its own, and the prospect of online cooperative play for up to four players is mouthwatering. For more information on Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, check out our previous coverage of the game.

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