Game Description: With the amount of ammunition players are expected to use in the average shooting game, one could just as well crush enemies under the weight of their spent shells. But not so for Silent Scope, where the plan is to drop the target with one squeeze of the trigger—even at hundreds of yards away. In this game, you're a highly trained sniper with the most advanced long-range weapon available, outfitted with night-vision scope and a laser sight. You'll line your target up while it's just a dot to the naked eye, then put the crosshairs on it in your long-range scope and make the kill.
Silent Scope is a port. Nothing more, nothing less. What's more its not a very good one. Based on the arcade game of the same name, it throws you into the role of a sniper for hire. The President and his family have been kidnapped by a generic band of terrorists and it is up to rescue them. Ordinarily, Id jump at the opportunity to play the role of a sniper—many is the time I died in GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark while trying to score nothing but headshots on my targets—but Konamis release is so flawed that I couldn't even enjoy such a base indulgence.
When I started up Silent Scope, I couldn't believe how primitive the game looked. With the exception of some high-resolution character models, Silent Scope looked as technologically advanced as a PlayStation title. The environments are bland with washed out colors and textures thrown on every object in sight. The settings look sparse and lazily laid out. Even if the original arcade looked this bad, its not the best game to present to gamers as a reason to purchase the almighty PlayStation 2.
For whatever reason, Konami believed that it could release a game made in a genre suited to guns peripherals, onto a console that featured no gun peripheral at all. What it didnt seem to take into account was that this would change the entire dynamic of the game. Instead of using a gun sight to line up a shot, you have to use the PlayStation 2 Dual Shock 2; the analog stick is used to aim, the circle button to zoom in and out and the shoulder button to fire. The catch is that while zoomed out you cannot see the target too well, and when zoomed in you cannot move to another target that quickly. This would have actually made a nice checks-and-balances system were it used in a standard mission-based first-person shooter, but in the high-pressure pacing of the game, it doesn't always feel appropriate to the objectives.
The action in Silent Scope takes place under the weight of an ever-present time limit. While clearly used as a tool to get patrons to pop quarters into the arcade cabinet, it doesnt help the playing experience on a home console. You have to rush through every stage trying to take out the short, predetermined selection of targets before time runs out. It seems like pointless busy work if you ask me. It would have been better had we just had the option to use a light gun to get the same results. Without one, Silent Scope is reduced to a game of memory. Just by memorizing the location of enemy soldiers, you'll breeze through every stage in no time flat. Silent Scope doesn't help its cause by being so short. If you were to ever get into playing this game, you'd find that it is over almost before it begins.
As an attempt to extend its replay value—and presumably better acquaint players with the controls—Konami threw in training modes. However, they come off as little more than lame updates of the alley shooters of the past. Playing through these diversions had me yearning to play Virtua Cop or Time Crisis, but I would have settled for Hogans Alley or Duck Hunt—as flawed as they were, both were a lot more fun. These modes were proof positive that this game would have been a lot more fun had it featured a light gun.
There is one other "feature" that I felt was worth mentioning, but I do so with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. Bonus lives can be acquired through quick kills and setting time records for a particular stage, but they can also be acquired by living out your voyeuristic fantasies. If you take the time to scope out the area, you can usually spot a few scantily clad women. By getting them in your sights, you actually earn extra lives. They are doing any number of things: some sit by rooftop pools—obviously unaware that terrorists are perched on other rooftops gunning down cops—driving pink convertibles and doing aerobics in their hotel rooms. Their skimpy outfits, exaggerated proportions and eagerness to be ogled are clearly meant to catch the eye of lecherous male gamers. Ill admit it got a rise out of me, but as with everything in this game it is all very short-lived.
Last year's PlayStation 2 launch was an overblown mess. After more than a year of hype and build up, all expectant consumers got were an overpriced console, hardware shortages, buggy hardware and software. So eager were publishers take advantage of the public that they didnt care that they were flooding the market with waves of mediocre software—half of it rushed, the other half rehashes of games that saw better days on older consoles. Silent Scope is such a game, and Konami is such a publisher. Given that there were so many other average PlayStation 2 titles on store shelves at the same time, Konami escaped the scorn it deserved.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Animated Blood, Animated Violence
Parents are sure to take issue with this game, but should keep in mind that it is rated M. The emphasis on killing and the occasional busty babe should send up red flags regardless no matter how open-minded you may be.
Sniper fans will likely want to give this game a try, but I wouldn't recommend purchasing it though. Its unique and somewhat flighty controls and brevity don't make it a good purchase. It begs for compatibility with a light gun so badly that you'd be better off renting or buying a gun shooting game.
PlayStation 2 owners are advised to look elsewhere for a title to justify the console. Released at launch, Silent Scope only proves that early adoption of a console comes at a price in terms of quality of software. Perhaps they should take advantage of the backward compatibility and buy Point Blank or Time Crisis.
I think I enjoyed Silent Scope slightly more than Dale did (but only slightly). For the most part, I'm not going to dispute any of Dale's criticisms of the game. As Dale pointed out in his review, Silent Scope is severely flawed because the act of sniping (as explained in Tom Berenger's sleeper movie Sniper) is one of patience—not ultra quick reflex. Trying to quickly snipe multiple targets under a timer is like trying to catch a fly with chopsticks. It just doesn't make sense. What makes things worse is that the control system wasn't meant to be played on a Dual Shock controller. This only makes the final experience more awkward and even more of a mess.
Silent Scope does manage to present a gameplay experience that is fairly different from shooting games that have come before it. And at the same time, it also manages to setup some uniquely intense situations for players to engage in—like going head-to-head with a Harrier fighter plane from a helicopter or dueling with enemies in the dark with night vision gear. Unfortunately these situations are wasted, and the whole package never comes together properly due to the aforementioned problems in the first paragraph.
What really kills me is that this game could have really opened up some new possibilities in narrative and action. Can you imagine if Silent Scope was based on a similar plot device like the Hitchcock classic "Rear Window?" The story could have unfolded from a voyeuristic perspective and players might have had to methodically track and hunt the whereabouts of a target via telescope. That would have been innovative and elegant experience. Instead, Silent Scope is as Dale alluded to, nothing more than an over-glorified version of Hogans Alley.