Handheld Addict

PS VitaPSPPSPgoWii3DSDS LiteXboxGame Boy Micromp3 playersMobileGadgetsgeneral

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow

So I just finshed off Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow. It's a sequel to one of the *BEST GAMES AVAILABLE* on the PSP, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. SF:DM is so good on PSP, that Sony should've made a package bundled with the system.

+Still same great core gameplay and production vaules as Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror.

+Added underwater missions which work really well.

-Unfortunately, most of the rest they added really sucks, like "God of War style" buttons presses.

-Buggy contextual sequences, sometimes it's near impossible to line up properly to activate things you need to activate (which is strange because SF:DM did this very well)

- The production values are a bit TOO good for their own good: cutscenes sometimes go by so quickly they are a blur, and there's so many subtitles to read that we can't see what's going on because the cuts are so fast.

Logan's Shadow is a new stand-alone adventure, so you don't need to have played SF:DM before it... there are only a few mentions about some details in that game. If you're an absolute stickler for story content, then you should play SF:DM first.... otherwise, don't worry about it too much. It can be a bit harder to find Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror on PSP than it is to find Logan's Shadow.

Both games have the same core gameplay, you play as Gabe Logan, a Clint-Eastwood-sounding badass that could give Jack Bauer of 24 a run for his money. This is a 3rd person "tactical" shooter; you have to plan your attack & size up a room, because simply rushing in will most likely just get you killed. It is very similar to the Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell series of games in that you can use stealth to sneak up on enemies & kill them. But unlike Splinter Cell, in Logan's Shadow, if you fail stealth manuevers, you don't usually fail the mission-- it's just the enemy is alerted & they send out more baddies after you. I like that it's more forgiving that way.

The big defining gameplay aspect of these Syphon Filter PSP games is being able to hide behind cover, and aim/shoot at enemies while behind cover. You go up to walls & boxes, you can kneel down if need be, and you "snap to" them. Very cool for a PSP game. For a portable game, there are a lot of features and the production values of both games is EXTREMELY good, this is about as close to a home console experience you'll find on portable game system.

But I'm sorry to say that Logan's Shadow disappointed me. It is still a great game, and if this was the first Syphon Filter game I'd played, I might not have been disappointed. They added a couple great new features: Being able to blind fire from behind cover, and also being able to grab enemies & use them as shields.

Unfortunately, they also saw fit to add the now-cliché "God of War style" button presses, and man do they SUCK. 2 times during the game, they are a near-impossible series of button presses, most of the time they involve rapid presses of the X button during random cutscenes. Really annoying.

Then there are times where the contextual commands are so sensitive that you have to line up EXACTLY PERFECT to make the option pop up... say there's a switch you need to pull, normally you walk up in front of the switch, and press ↑ to activate pops up.... but sometimes it's so finicky that it shows up for half a second & you're moving around just trying to get the command to stay on the freakin' screen long enough that you can PRESS it. Add being shot at to the mix, and it equals wanting to hunt down the programmers & punch them out.

I'm not sure if they rushed this game out or what... because like I've said, the production values are great. That's what frustrates me, to have little things that really show a lack of polish in gameplay while the rest is so good.

The music is strange, at first I was like, "what's with the Enya?" the music by Azam Ali is good, but not always appropriate for the game. Too mournful, when there needs to be a more driving beat. The Logan's Shadow theme is an amazing song, I have it on my PSP & listen to it all the time.

The story is a convoluted mess... let's face it, storylines in games are usually not great, but still.... to get an air of authenticity, they used a lot of foreign languages like Russian & Mandarin. So you need to read the subtitles to follow. But they scenes change so fast that you miss a lot of onscreen action just trying to keep up with them. The story was co-written by comics writer Greg Rucka, who's known for his "meat & potatoes" no-frill spy stories like his Queen & Country series of comics. But that doesn't necessarily make him a good video game writer. I think the story didn' t set up the game as well as the scenarios for Dark Mirror did. Logan's Shadow has 2 endings, one before & one after the credits. They both suck! Man. Disappointing is all I can say....

Syphon Filter:Dark Mirror is such a fine experience on the PSP, that even though Logan's Shadow is still really good at times, it can't live up to the previous game.

Logan's Shadow Gamespot trailer:


No comments:

Blog Archive