Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain Updated Impressions

Sony gives us a closer look at both the character creation system and online play for the next game in the Syphon Filter series.

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At a Sony press event held today in San Francisco, we spent some time with an updated version of Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain. The Omega Strain is the fourth game in the Syphon Filter saga, and in this chapter, you don't play as Gabe Logan, the protagonist of the previous games. Instead, you play as a customized agent you design yourself, which you can use both online and in the single-player game. Today Sony gave us a more detailed look at the game's character creation system, as well as a previously unseen online mission.

When beginning The Omega Strain, you can either create a new agent or load a previously saved one. There are a number of options for customizing your agent, including gender, skin tone, body, head, and name. You can also dress your character quite nicely with a host of different outfits and gear and additional accessories like sunglasses and tattoos. Though it won't have an incredibly deep character-creation system, the new game should give you plenty of options to create an agent who looks the way you want.

Though every mission in the game can evidently be played offline, only a certain number of the game's missions can be played online. Online missions are denoted by their position on the game's hub screen. When going online, you can choose to either create a game or join someone else's. You must decide in advance which weapons you wish to take into the game, since you won't have access to every available weapon during a mission.

The mission that was shown today was similar to the one shown at the recent PlayStation Experience event in London, in that it's set in Toronto, though it evidently takes place later in the game. This mission involved a group of Quebec separatists taking control of one of Toronto's underground subway tunnels. We began by mowing down a group of terrorists who had fortified a position near a stopped train. Once we had eliminated the threat, we opted to take a shortcut by hopping up onto the roof of the stopped train. This was an example of one of many alternate paths that will be available in multiplayer missions but not in the single-player game. To get to the roof, we had to boost our teammate up onto the train, after which, our teammate reached down to lift us up.

We also got a look at the new rankings and unlockable-item system for the game. Ranks, commendations, and medals can be earned in the game by performing various tasks and completing missions. Gaining these various ranks will unlock new weapons, attributes, and story materials. It was not stated exactly how many unlockable items there are in the game, but there should be a pretty good number overall.

Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain is due out early next year. We'll have more information on the game as it becomes available.

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