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Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow review

Battle terror by electrocuting its genitals in this lavishly brutal sneaky-shooty thriller

Pros

  • Surprisingly smart enemies
  • Outstanding production values
  • Nicely varied gameplay

Cons

  • Repetitive gunfights
  • Short
  • easy boss battles
  • Eyestrain from Gabe's colored goggles

After stumbling through a few mediocre sequels and nearly disappearing altogether, the Syphon Filter series came roaring back to life on the PSP with 2006's Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. Dark Mirror reworked the aging spy series into a kickass, gadget-heavy stealth-shooter, and its sequel - titled Logan's Shadow - keeps the same taut pace while adding a ton of cool bells and whistles to what was already one of the PSP's best action games. The story is darker, the action is more varied and the production values are through the roof - but at its core, it's all about superspy Gabe Logan skulking around in the dark and finding awesome new ways to kill terrorists.

As always, you'll make your way through the game as Gabe, a gravel-voiced black-ops spook who stalks terrorists for a living. Picking up where Dark Mirror left off, Logan's Shadow sends its hero to exotic locales like Azerbaijan, Iraq and the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, all to follow the trail of his missing (and possibly traitorous) partner, Lian Xing, who's had his back ever since the first game. She may also be connected to the theft of a world-threatening superweapon, which means Gabe's path will be obstructed by an Islamic terrorist group, ex-Soviet thugs and one doggedly persistent Chinese agent who always seems to be lurking one step ahead.

Luckily for Gabe, he's well-equipped for a scrap. The game keeps your available arsenal relatively simple - you'll be able to carry a pistol, an assault rifle, grenades and a submachine gun. Anything enemies drop is fair game, but it'll replace whatever you're currently holding. You'll also have, at all times, a special sniper rifle that- in addition to shooting small, silenced bullets - comes loaded with three different kinds of darts that carry deadly payloads, which you can detonate remotely after shooting them into your unsuspecting target. The first two can unleash a small explosion or a cloud of nerve gas, both of which will take out any nearby enemies in addition to the one you shot, and the third delivers a powerful electric shock that'll drop even the toughest enemies quickly.

Even without his guns, Gabe's no slouch - if you're sneaky enough, you can creep up behind an enemy and either knock them out or grapple with them, with the latter choice initiating one of the Simon Says button-pressing sequences that are so popular these days. Pull it off successfully, and your former enemy is now your human shield. Alternately, you can justslithisthroat with Gabe's knife, or shockhim at close range withGabe's taser until he starts to smoke. (Apparently, the game's T rating makes bursting into flames a no-go, although you can mash your enemies' faces into hot stoves if you're close enough for an environmental kill. Huh.)

After stumbling through a few mediocre sequels and nearly disappearing altogether, the Syphon Filter series came roaring back to life on the PSP with 2006's Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. Dark Mirror reworked the aging spy series into a kickass, gadget-heavy stealth-shooter, and its sequel - titled Logan's Shadow - keeps the same taut pace while adding a ton of cool bells and whistles to what was already one of the PSP's best action games. The story is darker, the action is more varied and the production values are through the roof - but at its core, it's all about superspy Gabe Logan skulking around in the dark and finding awesome new ways to kill terrorists.

As always, you'll make your way through the game as Gabe, a gravel-voiced black-ops spook who stalks terrorists for a living. Picking up where Dark Mirror left off, Logan's Shadow sends its hero to exotic locales like Azerbaijan, Iraq and the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, all to follow the trail of his missing (and possibly traitorous) partner, Lian Xing, who's had his back ever since the first game. She may also be connected to the theft of a world-threatening superweapon, which means Gabe's path will be obstructed by an Islamic terrorist group, ex-Soviet thugs and one doggedly persistent Chinese agent who always seems to be lurking one step ahead.

Luckily for Gabe, he's well-equipped for a scrap. The game keeps your available arsenal relatively simple - you'll be able to carry a pistol, an assault rifle, grenades and a submachine gun. Anything enemies drop is fair game, but it'll replace whatever you're currently holding. You'll also have, at all times, a special sniper rifle that- in addition to shooting small, silenced bullets - comes loaded with three different kinds of darts that carry deadly payloads, which you can detonate remotely after shooting them into your unsuspecting target. The first two can unleash a small explosion or a cloud of nerve gas, both of which will take out any nearby enemies in addition to the one you shot, and the third delivers a powerful electric shock that'll drop even the toughest enemies quickly.

Even without his guns, Gabe's no slouch - if you're sneaky enough, you can creep up behind an enemy and either knock them out or grapple with them, with the latter choice initiating one of the Simon Says button-pressing sequences that are so popular these days. Pull it off successfully, and your former enemy is now your human shield. Alternately, you can justslithisthroat with Gabe's knife, or shockhim at close range withGabe's taser until he starts to smoke. (Apparently, the game's T rating makes bursting into flames a no-go, although you can mash your enemies' faces into hot stoves if you're close enough for an environmental kill. Huh.)

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionGabe Logan returns to action yet again, this time to track down his missing partner, Lian Xing.
Franchise nameSyphon Filter
UK franchise nameSyphon Filter
PlatformPSP
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating16+
Release date:2 October 2007 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:PSP
Genre:Action

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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