The Syphon Filter series has been around for a long time, and it has been a good series for the most part. But, the last title in the series, Omega Strain, was a pretty horrible game, and didn't come close to living up to the series' greatness. Well, thankfully, with Dark Mirror, Sony's franchise has returned to grace. Dark Mirror has flaws, but ends up being one of the few great shooters on the PSP.
The story follows super-spies Gabe Logan and Lian Xing, on their quest to dismantle a terrorist group called Red Section, and take down their villainous leader, Singularity. The story is an interesting idea, but thanks to laughable writing, it's hard to take it seriously.
Dark Mirror, like most other PSP shooters allows you to aim with the face buttons. But don't read that and immediately avoid this game, because the face buttons are used for general aiming, and you can just hold down L (assuming you've pointed close to an enemy) to target them. This system works well because it requires skill, and forces you to actively aim, but the PSP simply can't handle fine adjustments to aiming, so the lock-on feature is greatly appreciated.
The singleplayer is a mix of great action, and the occasional stealth sequence. There are tons of great gunfights which involve a good amount of on-screen opponents (some of which you can participate in with a AI partner at your side, whom you can bark orders to). Luckily, you have quite a few methods of survival from being able to take cover at any time (usually only seen in console games) and plethora of weaponry, and gadgets ranging from tazers to rocket launchers. There are a couple opportunities for stealth that you can find around each mission, allowing you to sneak up behind their enemies and stab them, or if you keep your eyes peeled, pull off particularly nasty environmental kills. Being able to take enemies down stealthily is a cool addition but it's really not as fleshed out as it could've been.
The multiplayer is awesome. You can team up with 9 other people online (headset supported) and take part in game types like your typical deathmatches, to objective modes like CTF and Rogue Agent. While the game does nothing special in terms of game modes, the maps are great and allow quite a bit of manipulation (thanks to zip-lines), and there is little to no lag. The online is very enjoyable, and thanks to a ranking system, very replayable.
Dark Mirror looks amazing. The game has great models and animations, and the lighting is top-notch. There are also cool graphical effects like bloom lighting, and awesome looking explosions. The one drawback to the graphical quality is the fact that certain textures are repeated a lot. But, other than that this is one of the best looking games you can find on the PSP.
Unfortunately, it's not one of the best sounding games you can find on the PSP. First off, the voice-over work is downright laughable, which really takes away from the drama that the story is trying to get across. Sound effects like gunfire and explosions are pretty good, but are repeated a lot. The only real standout feature in the sound department is the music, which is great.
Dark Mirror has a 6-8 hour campaign, which for a portable shooter is pretty good, plus it has 5 bonus missions you can unlock that you'll have to work for (adding to your time) and are worth checking out themselves. The multiplayer is tons of fun, and you could spend countless hours playing (the game even has a good online community today).
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror is one of the best playing shooters on the PSP. The game features a pretty lengthy singleplayer campaign with an interesting idea for a story, and its gameplay features things you'd normally only find in console games, like a cover system, and awesome multiplayer that will keep you playing for a long time to come. But, the game's story falls flat due to horrible writing, and voice-over work that's even worse. While the game is one of the best looking PSP games you can find, the sound department doesn't match up to that quality. Though Dark Mirror has its flaws, its stellar gameplay, great graphics, and high re-playability make it a must have for PSP owners that have been searching for a great shooter.