Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow Hands-On Update

Gabe Logan's back, and he's mad as hell. Read our thoughts on his latest PSP-based mission.

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Note to would-be PlayStation Portable developers: Don't pattern your designs after traditional console-style games unless you can do it as successfully as Syphon Filter. Sony's Bend, Oregon-based development studio spent years creating this franchise's healthy mix of stealth and tactical action on the PlayStations 1 and 2, and then recreated the experience with amazing accuracy on the PSP early last year with Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. Now the team is back with another new portable Syphon Filter, subtitled Logan's Shadow, and after spending some time with the early missions of the game, we're confident it will join its predecessor among the ranks of the most accessible and riveting shooters on the PSP.

The story certainly doesn't pull any punches. You'll once again take up the role of tough-as-nails secret agent (with an axe to grind) Gabe Logan. This time around, he's been dispatched to board the USS Mt. St. Helens, which has been overtaken in the middle of the Indian Ocean by a terrorist named Bitar. Bitar seems to be after some undisclosed sensitive cargo stored in the bowels of the ship--but Gabe's contact in Washington, a smarmy pencil pusher named Cordell, won't cop to the nature of that cargo. A major character dies right there in the first mission (we won't say who), after which Cordell assumes control of Gabe's unit and practically shuts it down cold--but not before taunting him with photos of his longtime partner Lian Xing, photos that suggest she's betrayed the team. Needless to say, Gabe is not happy.

Gabe Logan is back, and ready to kick a lot more ass.

Logan's Shadow features the same winning control scheme and fast action that made Dark Mirror great. Despite the fact that Sony has positioned the PSP as a bona fide portable PlayStation, the system's limited controls just don't work that well for fast, console-style shooters. But once again, Sony Bend has bucked that trend and managed to make Syphon Filter's relatively complex gameplay conform to the limited array of PSP controls. The default controls let you adjust your aim with the four face buttons, attack with the shoulder buttons, move with the analog stick, and select weapons with the D pad (each direction of which will pop up a radial selection menu when held). We also got to try the game out on the new PSP Slim and found it even easier to play, thanks to the redesigned system's looser and more forgiving analog stick.

In addition to the traditional shooting and stealth action, the game's second mission provides a good vehicle for showing off the new underwater gameplay. The US military scuttles the Mt. St. Helens at the end of the first mission, but you'll have to head right back to the site of the wreckage in mission two, diving down to try to discover what was so important on board that ship. Of course, you'll just happen to run into some Russian Spetsnaz divers who have beaten you to the punch, so you'll have to engage in aquatic combat with a bolt gun. The diving and swimming controls were just as easy to get used to as the ground-based ones; you move the camera in the direction you want to swim, and then simply swim there with the stick.

The new swimming mechanic adds some variety to the gameplay, and the water looks nice to boot.

Logan's Shadow isn't just one of the better-playing third-person action games we've seen on the PSP lately; it's also one of the better-looking ones. Sony Bend has incorporated visual effects into the game that you'd typically expect to see only on the big consoles. We're talking things like light bloom and the impressive flashlight and night- and thermal-vision effects from the first game, as well as a surprisingly convincing water effect. Despite the fact that the water may not be physically modeled to the same level of realism as in console games, it does look awfully close, considering the PSP's relative lack of power. You'll encounter watery environments not only in the diving missions but also in places like the end of mission one, when the holds of the Mt. St. Helens flood and you have to fight your way through a bunch of mercs in waist-deep water.

We've only gotten to play the first two missions of Logan's Shadow so far, so we'll try to rein in our excitement for the time being, but this is definitely looking like one of the more solid action games to hit the PSP in a while. Of course, you'll also find a full multiplayer mode as well as some unlockable weaponry and other content in the game, though our preview copy was limited to the early single-player campaign. Logan's Shadow is due out toward the end of September, so look for a more critical evaluation at that time.

Discussion

57 comments
coneman1
coneman1

This Game really Rocks! on the PSP!!!! A really great reason to buy a new Sony PSP...........

gouki1
gouki1

I own u ZEROCOOL heheh headshot !!!!

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Rayyan92
Rayyan92

This is gonna rock. Can't wait.

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SonyGameHolder7
SonyGameHolder7

This game is gonna rock, dark mirror still is one of the best psp games out there

monkeyclanman
monkeyclanman

Dark mirror was the best psp game i have ever played except for the fact that it was the shortest psp game i have ever played. hope this one is longer. Nothing seems to have changed really. It looks like the graffics aren't different.

zidan4000
zidan4000

hope they fix all the online glitches that ruined the first syphon filter game , and this game looks really cool , looking forward to play it online.

Nesquik151
Nesquik151

Sony sent me a demo of this like 2 months ago (part of the underground), and i have to say it was one of the best PSP games I've played in a while. But this level doesn't look familiar. In the demo, I was first on a helicopter where I had to shoot down the enemy, then I was dropped off by the helicopter to proceed on foot. This game reminds me of Rainbow Six, except that you are solo and do not have a team. All in all, I'm goin to have to buy another PSP to play this game and GOW. (I used my friends PSP to play the dem, sold min in Nov. 2005)

Wanngan_Runner-
Wanngan_Runner-

Looks promising, + it'll be out soon. Looking forward for it.

manson66614
manson66614

sorry to say i havent picked up dark mirror yet. this ones looking sick though.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I'm so lazy. I had Dark Mirror for over a year and I have yet to finish it. I put it aside to play MHF and Tomb Raider. I better get back on the ball before this comes out.

Latinbro1
Latinbro1

Can't wait for this one. I loved Dark Mirror, loved the original Syphon Filter. Hope Sony Bend considers bringing the franchise to the PS3 but I"m happy it works extremely well on the PSP

jocaju
jocaju

I own Dark mirror and have a UMD demo for Logan’s shadows. PS Underground sent me the UMD demo about 45 to 60 days ago and I love it every minute of, that's why I went and bought dark mirror in first place which is great also, now I can't wait for Logan’s shadows come out.

gusisdaman613
gusisdaman613

not really allowed to say on this site... technically it was only released to a select few on a UMD disk but if you try some torrent websites....:)

calvincyeung
calvincyeung

Where can i download the demo? Anyone? Thanks

Olaoye_tw
Olaoye_tw

Am a very big fan of the game. Would love 2 no where 2 download the demo from.

Tokinblckgie
Tokinblckgie

Like Osirex said, I hope this game is longer too. That was the my only problem with the 1st game.

My_Name_Is_Sin
My_Name_Is_Sin

I thought dark mirror was a fun game. I've liked the syphon filter games since the ps1. This looks cool

JediKnight366
JediKnight366

Dark Mirror is one of the best PSP games I have ever played. I expect Logan's Shadow to be nothing less. Hell, I'm especially intrigued with the story so far.

Zyphn
Zyphn

I will argue with anyone that Syphon Filter Dark Mirror is still the best overall shooter on the PSP to date (If you're looking at just multiplayer then yes, SOCOM is better). But this is looking to be just as good, if not better!!! T3 here I come...again!!! Christmas List: PSP Slim, Syphon Filter LS!!! zyphn

Osirex2
Osirex2

i played dark mirrior and i played the demo for logan's shadow. it looks alright but i was disapointed on how i beat dark mirrior so fast. i think its only about 10 - 15 hours. i hope that they made this one more longer.

666net
666net

Looks awesome! Even better than R6V I guess?

B-bad
B-bad

A great game now even Better I cant wait to play it the demo is cool.

KrustyKids
KrustyKids

they allready made a demo for it i played it and its great

BajenVaNamnet
BajenVaNamnet

I love the Syphon FIlter seres. Hopefully, this will be another triumph.

Taaviup
Taaviup

I hope they make a demo for it to!

spar_tan
spar_tan

mm, i wish its better than Rainbow Six: Vegas....

timbjr
timbjr

this looks like its gonna be a huge shooter with everything u can ask for, packed into ur psp, I CANT WAIT!

Bigboss232
Bigboss232

I hope this game turns out well.

bigmacsomethin
bigmacsomethin

This game will be a classic. I'm psyched about the online play

Doolum
Doolum

i loved Dark Mirror,so needless to say am waiting for this one as well

curp11
curp11

Awesome...the demo was so friggin' awesome......Syphon Filter FTW!!!!!

wolfboy20
wolfboy20

looks awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!