Gangs of London


posted 10/3/2006 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
Because of the shorter missions and the lack of a full city to navigate, the game ends up being pretty short. You can easily bust through all of the missions in less than ten hours. I suppose I shouldn't complain about the length, I can't say that I am all that interested in playing another ten hours in this world. But considering that most of the GTA-type games top 20 hours, this one just seems a little too short for comfort.
The game's controls are all over the board. The game handles fine when you're driving about town, but the moment you get out of the car and try to run around the city everything falls apart. The game stumbles at even the most basic movements, like strafing or just shooting at your foes. Worse yet, it seems like the targeting system goes out of its way to be difficult. There are too many situations where you need to target an enemy that is shooting you at close range, but instead of locking onto that guy it targets somebody that is off in the distance minding his own business. Add all of this together and you have one of the most frustrating experiences you can possibly have on a handheld game system.
While the single-player missions are fairly boring and can be beaten in short order, the real fun (actually, the ONLY fun) of Gangs of London comes in the mini-games. Perhaps the designers knew that they had a short and shallow game on their hand, because Gangs of London is crammed full of fun mini-games that can be played solo and with friends. There's so much here that you might actually spend more time playing these "casual games" than you will going through the full story.
In the pub you can play a bunch of cool parlor games, like darts and billiards. In fact, the game comes with two different types of billiards, both UK 8-Ball and an American equivalent. There is also an arcade machine with an interesting take on the classic game Snake. These games play surprisingly well and are a highlight of Gangs of London. You can play each of these games with multiple people, and even transfer them to your friends PSP via game sharing. Game sharing is the type of thing I want to see more of in PSP games … I just hope that it's used in better titles.
Along with the pub is something called Gang Battle, a turn-based puzzle game that acts like a form of Risk. There's a steep learning curve associated with this mode, but it's ultimately worth your time and effort. This mode is so much fun that it almost makes me want to recommend the game … almost!
The biggest problem with Gangs of London is not the terrible controls or the boring missions; it's that the entire package is no fun to play. With games like Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories on the PSP it's hard to recommend a game like Gangs of London. Heck, it would be hard to recommend this game even if these games didn't exist. After three failed versions of The Getaway one has to wonder what Sony is thinking, I certainly hope that they aren't planning on shoving these titles down our throats each and every time they have a new system to promote. Avoid this game, just like you avoided all of the other games in this series.

I would like nothing more than to tell you that Gangs of London takes The Getaway series in a brand new direction that breathes fresh life into the franchise. But that would be a lie. This game is just as bad as it was on the PlayStation 2.

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