Gabe Logan becomes a lone wolf as he fights for survival against formidable odds in a game controversy and international terrorism. Swimming and shooting its way through the haze of PSP games, Logan’s Shadow is poised to deliver another memorable and gripping Syphon Filter experience. Read on to find out if Logan’s Shadow can overcast the acclaimed glow held by its predecessor, Dark Mirror.
Sony Bend did an incredible job with 'Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror' last year on the PSP. This surprised a lot of gamers who doubted the translation of the popular stealth action franchise to the handheld. On year later, the team returns with another revised Syphon Filter adventure that hopes to continue the praise it received with Dark Mirror. 'Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow' will appeal to its established fan base and hopefully grab reluctant gamers who still believe you can’t have a good action game on the PSP.
One of the reasons gamers have been shying away from action based games on the PSP is usually because off the lost analog stick, which can make controlling fast paced games difficult. In Syphon Filters case the controls are a little tricky at first because of the complexity of the game, however once you start the training missions and work your way around the first few levels, the controls becomes easy and fluid. Activating gadgets, switching weapons, flipping switches, and changing your stance all can be controlled with the D-Pad. This works convincingly well, accept for some sensitivity problems with hugging items like walls or crates. Shooting is dedicated to the right shoulder, and the left for targeting. Moving your character around is simply done by using the analog stick for movement and the face buttons for direction. If you’re familiar with Dark Mirror than Logan’s Shadow is the same deal and you will feel comfortable with the controls.
Gamers who have become rather good at Dark Mirror and have logged some online hours might find the challenge in Logan’s Shadow a little easy. Logan’s Shadow is developed with a lot of duck and cover game play to help the player grasp the controls and progress in the game without too many problems. Even though I didn’t finish Dark Mirror, having that experience under my belt helped a great deal in Logan’s Shadow. The pacing is well rounded for most of the game and even the new underwater sequences didn’t feel out of place or awkward. One aspect about Logan’s Shadow which I have to question is the enemy A.I. and the games overall difficulty. Logan’s Shadow is rather easy on the default, medium difficulty. When bounced up to Hard then the stakes are raised slightly, but not so much that the game feels hard. This isn’t going to effect casual gamers, however the hardcore might be taken back from the simplistic nature in the duck and cover mechanics and slow moving A.I.
Besides being a crack shot, Gabe gets to fool around with some high tech gadgets that are always at his convince. These items including Night Vision, Infrared, Electronic Sensors, and the typical Sam Fisher deal. For a more diverse range of options the attention is paid to the weapons which go from silenced pistols to the deadly K-Bar combat knife. Along with a good assortment of weapons and helping gadgets, Gabe has the advantage of regenerating health, thanks to his new protective suit. Having regenerating health just saves you time looking for medical packs, it’s not invincibility, or a reason to go commando on the enemies.
Logan’s Shadow has a few other tricks for Gabe to help him in his adventure besides the regenerating health and that is the ability to fire blindly on opponents when under cover which can give you that Gears of War second to get repositioned. Gabe can also grab enemies and use them and abuse them for your pleasure for a certain amount of time. This means killing them, dragging them around or using their human body as a bullet absorbent is possible, although you’ll have to get your use of them before they break free which triggers a button pressing sequence. This gives a little depth to simply running around and grabbing an enemy and walking through a hail storm of bullets. These new additions to Logan’s Shadow isn’t anything we haven’t seen in countless other games, but its nice to see them thrown into the mix to make Logan’s Shadow a more complete and competitive game.
Another element to Logan’s Shadow that plays a large part is the storyline. Logan’s Shadow was penned by Greg Rucka a known comic book writer who has worked on such titles as Batman and Wolverine. In similar fashion as 'Splinter Cell,' Logan is always in the middle of internal conflicts and international espionage. Placed after the events in Dark Mirror, Gabe has to stop another evil terrorist organization that is interested in world domination. The prize this time is a dangerous weapon with technology to cause some major damage. This interests not only the terrorist, but also the Chinese, Russians and the United Stats. Things then get crazy within Gabes organization and he has to track down and get to the bottom of an internal double agents conspiracy bringing in an internal struggle within his own thoughts. I was once again surprised with the depth and interest with this pint sized Syphon Filter experience, it seems Sony Bend spent enough time making sure there was a reason behind Gabe’s actions.
Adding to the quality of Logan’s Shadow is updated multiplayer features that can put you into battle with eight other players. Either in Ad-Hoc or Infrastructure modes you can take on your friends, or strangers in deathmatches, and rouge agent, along with two new modes, Retrieval and Sabotage. Sabotage is an objective based mode that has you performing tasks like collecting, and demolitions against defending opponents which includes underwater objectives. Retrieval is basically Capture the Flag where you have to grab an object and return it to your base. Battles against real opponents are a lot of fun and a great deal more challenging then the drone like computer A.I. If you think you’re good at Logan’s Shadow you need to jump online prove yourself amongst the online ranks.
If you have to look for a downside in Logan’s Shadow besides the dogey opponent A.I., It would be that Logan’s Shadow doesn’t feel overly original. Even though the missions are clearly shown and the story line keeps the player in check, Logan’s Shadow feels slightly dated. One reason why Syphon Filter makes such a big impact is because of its pint sized version. For a portable game, Logan’s Shadow feels bigger than it is, however I have to wonder how a next-generation version of the Filter would shape up. Should Sony be concentrating on making the Syphon Filter into a premier PS3 title or a specialized handheld game? It’s only a matter of time I assume... and for now PSP owners should be happy that they are getting special and PSP only games rather than PS3 ports.
If you enjoyed 'Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror' than 'Logan’s Shadow' is a no brainer. Logan’s Shadow gives gamers that big console feel and shrinks it down to a portable size which is an accomplishment in itself. Improved, and online, Logan’s Shadow tops its last entry and proving that size doesn’t matter and lightning can and strike the same spot twice. Sophisticated and action packed, Logan’s Shadow is an excellent showcase for the PSP, bringing another excellent 'Gabe Logan' adventure into the handheld market.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 8. Final: 8 / 10