But given the slow and imprecise way you have to target shots using the face buttons, sloth-like, stupid enemies are probably all Gabe can cope with. Using the analogue nub to move and the fact buttons instead of a console’s right stick to target might mirror the way things worked on the a Dual Shock, but they don’t make it any easier to turn quickly or keep a moving target in your reticule. Often, Logan’s Shadow leaves me wishing for smarter, faster opponents and an auto-assisted sight to help you track them down – a bit like the console versions of Call of Duty 2. It might help keep the action that bit more fluid, and it might also make the game a bit more rewarding to play. In a game this linear, and with less emphasis on interesting puzzles or using Gabe’s collection of cool spy gadgets this time around, the quality of the combat sometimes lets things down.
Still, let’s not get too downbeat. No, I wouldn’t play Logan’s Shadow if I could be playing CoD4 or Crysis instead, but when I’m away from the big screen it’s still the most convincing handheld action game to date. I can forgive the poorly pre-rendered cut-scenes, the shockingly generic characterisation and some of the most clichéd, third-rate-copy-of-a-Tom-Clancy-book dialogue I’ve heard in ages just because I find myself more and more gripped by the game as it goes on. Who is the mysterious Chinese agent? What was the mysterious cargo in hold 5 of the USS Mount St Helens? Will Gabe ever find his lost personality? All of these, bar the last, will be answered by the time the game ends. As the action moves fast from exotic locale to exotic locale, it’s a bit like watching a Bond movie from the later Roger Moore period: you know the acting will be questionable and the storyline is only going to get more ‘bobbins’, yet it’s strangely exciting, nonetheless.
Bung in enhanced multiplayer facilities (both ad-hoc and online) and you still have one of the few PSP action games you’ll be delighted to play through right to the end. I suppose I’ll never stop hoping that PSP developers might one day stop trying to squeeze console titles onto a handheld and start thinking outside the box instead, but if this is the way they’re still going, then at least Logan’s Shadow is the best attempt yet.
Hardware limitations still damage the overall brilliance of Logan’s Shadow, but we can safely crown Logan’s Shadow as the new king of action games on PSP.