Silent Scope 3
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Review of Silent Scope 3
Truth be told, I was actually quite surprised to see this title arrive at our office. With a real life sniper currently on the loose in the Eastern US, plinking off innocent bystanders, Silent Scope 3 may end up getting hammered in the press.
At any rate, the premise of SS3 is certainly much different than what is taking place in the States in real life. Gamers take on the role of Falcon, a top notch sniper who worked on a anti-terrorism unit and was responsible for saving the county on numerous occasions. Now retired, he has been drawn back into the action by Robert, a Colonel in the Marines. His methods are questionable, but his ability to hand pick elite members to carry out missions is legendary. The object, in both the original Story Mode and the Arcade version Mode are to target and take out terrorists that are wrecking havoc at various strategic locations.
In the Story Mode, a team (I should say, an army) or terrorists have kidnapped Dr. Scott, a cloning researcher. They intend to use him to conduct genetic experiments that could endanger the world. Of course, all of this is hush, hush and you will be working on your own. There are seven locations that Falcon will visit, all with varying degrees of difficulty (from 1 star up to 5). Gamers can choose which location they want to play, so the order of gameplay is up to you. The locations are nice and varied, with places like a research facility, a dam, a shipping dock and a casino.
In addition to capping terrorists, Falcon will have to use his precise shooting skills to hit ammo depots, detonators, fuse boxes and an assortment of other objects. As if taking out a bad guy from 100 yards wasn’t difficult enough, Falcon must also be careful not to hit any innocents. These can be in the form of hostages that the enemy is using as a human shield or people randomly scattering about in panic (like in the Casino level). I can’t tell you how many times I had a terrorist all lined up in my scope only to have some innocent walk into my line of fire just as I squeezed off my shot. Another cool aspect of the game was the ability to be able to hit grenades as they are lobbed at you or deflect shots if you are quick enough.
While the story mode is rather short, the gameplay is quite difficult. A scoring system is in place that tallies your accuracy as you progress. Getting straight “A’s” is quite a chore. There is a life bar that diminishes as you take hits or shoot innocents and the sheer number of enemies can seem daunting at times. To make matters worse, there is usually a boss battle at the end that can have you ripping your hair out trying to complete the level. One of the most difficult (for me at least) was the Casino level boss. Him and around 8 other enemies are on a revolving surface (they call it the “roulette challenge”). In addition to them, innocents are also scattered about. The whole thing spins around and Falcon must drop all of the bad asses and the boss without hitting civilians. At least the “wheel” does slow down when reversing direction, but it is still no cakewalk. Good luck on this one…
All through the action, the Colonel will bark off commands and critique your mad skills. Fire off too many missed shots in rapid succession and he will tell you to calm down. Fudge up a mission and you will greatly disappoint him. Luckily the control scheme on the DS2 is set up well. Firing is achieved by pressing either the “X” or R1 buttons. Taking the scope in and out of site is a simple flick of L1 or “O”. Doing rapid 360’s can be done in 90 degree chunks by pressing either the L2 or R2 buttons for left or right rotation. Finally the aiming can be speed up or slowed down by pressing either the square or triangle button respectively. I also gave the mouse a try and found that tracking was indeed quicker but the DS2, at least for me, was more accurate.
In addition to the original story mode, Silent Scope 3 includes the arcade hit Silent Scope EX as a bonus. Playing as part of an elite team of snipers, this mode takes gamers on a roller coaster style adventure that will have you defending the president, knocking helicopters out of mid air, shooting at moving vehicles, plinking off airplane highjackers and finally ending up at the terrorists own headquarters and a boss meeting with The Phantom. The missions move along at a breakneck pace and are nice and varied in both locale and mission objectives (although you always have to eliminate the terrorists).
In this mode you can preset your number of continues from 0 to 4 and once again, shooters are scored at the end of each sub mission for their accuracy. At the end of the game players are given an overall evaluation of their performance and a nice little graph showing your strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, there is a shooting range game tucked in the EX version. As you would expect, the object is to shoot a variety of targets that are both moving and stationary. It’s a nice little diversion that can enable players to hone up on their shooting skills.
Graphically, Silent Scope 3 is a big improvement over its PS2 predecessor, Silent Scope 2. It is certainly not in the upper echelon (not even close actually) of PS2 titles to be sure, but everything from polygon count to animation has been enhanced over SS2. The display is sharp and crisp and the backgrounds are much better defined now, making the overall game a lot more enjoyable (and playable for that matter).
It is nice to see developers have finally figured out how to eliminate the “jaggies” and shimmering that people obsessed over in earlier PS2 titles. In a game like Silent Scope 3, the clarity really helps out considering the fact that you are often trying to pick off people at great distances and bad shimmering would definitely be an unwanted addition.
The texturing and special effects are also worthy of note in SS3. Explosions are nicely depicted, along with the ensuing fire. Large outside levels are well done with building textures, trees, etc. all looking especially good and falling into place nicely with the overall gameplay. I really liked the detail difference between the scope and normal vision as the rifle moves about. The graphics come together nicely to pull gamers into this chaotic world.
The sound effects are also top notch. Konami has implemented something called “3D sound” that can be used to assist players in targeting their enemies, as it is very directional in nature. Although I would have proffered some nice 5.1 DD, the 3D sound does work and is especially helpful if just running the PS2 through a stereo enabled TV.
The voice acting is okay, nothing great but it does get the job done and certainly doesn’t come off as being too corny. People screaming in panic, gunshot sounds, etc. all work well in immersing the gamer into the action.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Silent Scope 3' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Rooney © Absolute PlayStation
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