Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow Preview - 20/09/2007

After the success of Dark Mirror on the PSP, Sony are attempting to make Syphon Filter a lucrative franchise. Will Logan’s Shadow be enough to fulfil their wishes?

The PSP holds limitations for developers, due to the lack of buttons. But last year, Dark Mirror proved that a great action game could still be achieved on the handheld system. The graphics were solid, and mapping aim onto the face buttons worked well. It was one of the handheld games of the year and, for many fans, made Syphon Filter a real franchise. Now, one year on, Logan’s Shadow is looking to surpass all expectations by further pushing the PSP to its potential. And it’s looking like this may be the case.

Dark Mirror looked great, and LS looks exactly the same. There are a few nice touches here and there, but on the surface you can’t see any difference between the two. The framerate looks smooth at this point, and the textures are nice as well. But the main problem that carries over from the previous game is the lighting. The game looks just as dark as the last, with characters getting lost in the shadows. (It might be that the subtitles are the developer's way of telling you this. Dark Mirror? Logan’s Shadow?) But hopefully a few of the levels will take place in some light open areas.

The story of DM was put down due to it not being compelling enough to make the player care for the characters. LS hopes to convey a story that is worth playing the game for. The game sees ‘The Agency’ being shut down and Logan out of a job. This Happens due to Gabe’s partner Lian disappearing, and being suspected of being a double agent. This character driven story will give the player a reason to continue, which the game's predecessor sorely missed. Hopefully the story will be as engaging as it sounds, and not just be a tedious addition to the action.

A promising addition to the game is an improved cover system. Learning from console games like Gears of War and GRAW, you can now perform various actions while hiding behind a wall. You can move from side to side, lean out from the wall, and perform Blind fire. This will add even more depth to both the single player game, and multiplayer features. Fans of cover heavy games will already feel at home with these moves, but others will still find them a benefit.

Another new feature is swimming. At first it may seem like a stupid thing to do, putting something as clunky as swimming on the PSP. But it looks like it may be beneficial to the game. You have 360-degree control over Gabe underwater, so the player shouldn't get into too many uncomfortable positions.

The game is also host to the Havoc physics engine. Seen in games like Half Life 2, it allows the objects and people in the game to react how they should in real life. This can only be good news for LS, making the game so much more realistic and feel different to DM. If it works well then it will help the game’s feel, and hopefully this is the case. There are also new melee moves that can be used, borrowing ideas like human shields from other action games.

The multiplayer aspect of DM was a huge reason why the game was so successful. It featured an experience that, at the time, could not be found on the PSP. The new Combat Ops mode is as large as the single player game itself, with 5 modes for players to battle in. Sabotage sees teams of players trying to find bomb codes and activate nuclear warheads, while retrieval has players tracking down objects from around the map. All of the options from DM are also present, with the whole package being updated for the new game. If this mode is a fun as the previous version’s was, then Logan’s Shadow looks like it could feature the definitive handheld online experience.

If the early footage and information is anything to go by, Logan’s Shadow is looking to one of the best PSP games to date. With a much improved story, and the same brilliant multiplayer. LS looks like it will be a must have. Gabe infiltrates your PSP on October 2nd.

- Sam Atkins



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