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User Rating: 9.5 | Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow PSP
"We'll go. But on my terms only!" And with those words spoken, super secret spy, Gabe Logan, is off on another perilous journey that leads to digging up Lian Xing's past, thwarting a terrorist plot trying to bring ruin to the innocent citizens of New York, all while going to the ends of the earth, (almost in a literal sense,) to clear his partner's name. What might sound like a predicable by-the-numbers story actually is. But what isn't expected is how Logan's Shadow goes beyond the ground and expectations set by the award winning Dark Mirror, and gives PSP players one of the most gratifying and exhilarating stealth action games yet to hit the system!

If you paid any attention to the above description, you'll know then that the plot isn't one of the titles strong points. It does tackle a good deal of subjects in it's 7 to 8 hour campaign, but not in a way that'll leave any kind of an impact on you. In a nutshell, the story has Gabe traveling from one exotic local to the next trying to find out if his long time friend, Lian, is really on his side or is siding with the head terrorist group that Logan plans to bring down. As you go about your newly assigned task, you'll find yourself facing impossible odds and work alongside a few familiar faces in an attempt to uncover the truth driving this whole fiasco! Now the premise might sound promising, but the actual dialogue pushing these situations forward just doesn't seem to measure up. Not all the lines spoken are bad, but the majority of them come off as sounding cheesy, cliche, or undeniably stupid. "....Teresa, cancel the medevac," says Gabe in his usual gruff tone, after having seen his helicopter pilot crash and burn due to a deadly rocket. With which Teresa responds, "Then she's fine!" ...I'm sorry, what?

Well, thankfully what the story lacks the gameplay more than makes up for! If you've played any of the Syphon Filter titles before, then you'll know what to expect: intense sequences of sneaking and shooting as you go about trying to right the wrongs of the world by completing one objective after another and, in some cases, (quite a few actually) you'll top off the level with a boss fight. If you had the pleasure of trying out this type of game in the previous installment, then you'll feel right at home with the control layout. For those of you who aren't familiar, the analog nub is used for movement, while the face buttons allow you to look in any four directions, and the D-pad acts as an inventory menu for your weapons and gadgets. The left shoulder button lets you zoom in for a more precise shot, and the right shoulder button delivers the goods, (fires.) This genius, yet simple array of control mechanics worked wonderfully back in 2006, and still manages to work just as flawlessly here!

As for the missions themselves, their all nicely constructed and a blast to play and replay! One in particular might call you to act as a saboteur as you plant charges on enemy boats, all the while diving and avoiding enemy detection in open waters. Or another might have you pressed for information in a interrogation scene, as you quickly mash a series of buttons to withstand the 'techniques' of your tormentor and make an escape. These, among others, show how carefully thought out in design each level is. And that coupled with the superbly smooth control, and a few new moves added to Gabe's repertoire, like blindfire and swimming, make for a most enjoyable campaign!

A great presentation is also taken into consideration here, and as a result, still remains one of the best looking and sounding PSP games to date! Gorgeous cinematics are abound, and in-game cutscenes and detailed effects are nearly unparalleled! The character models look sharp up close, and animate even more fluidly this time around. While the environments are massive in scope, and generate more than a few surprises, (water effects come to mind.) And all this running at a silky smooth framerate that rarely, if ever, chugs, even when at it's most visually stunning! The soundtrack composed by Azam Ali, deserves special mention for striking a balance between a delicate somberness when things have calmed, and a richly done number of heart pounding tunes that add to each firefight when things have heated up!

Now, If there's one category in which this game really hits it home, its got to be in the replay value. From a decently long main game, to an almost overwhelming amount of great extras, ranging from bonus missions to new weapons, music, videos and the like. To the robust and deep online mode that only gets better the more time you spend with it building up your character and rank, this is a game that just begins the moment it ends! And with the large quantity of fun levels to return to, it makes each strive for a new unlockable a reward in itself! To put in it laments terms: this game will most likely forever remain a piece of your UMD (or digital) collection!

So with that said, I don't think I need elaborate on the matter any further. If you're looking for an action title that blends stealth and action seamlessly into one well-rounded package, then this will not make for a regrettable purchase. If you just want an in-depth multiplayer game on the go, then Logan's Shadow will provide in spades! But if you come seeking both, then prepare to be wowed!