Gangs of London is a PSP-exclusive spinoff of Sony's Getaway series. The game takes place in London, albeit a less graphically impressive version, which is still good considering the fact the game is running on the Playstation Portable system.
Gameplay in Gangs of London is generally very straightforward. To begin with, you select a gang to play as (each gang has different characteristics), and then you proceed to complete missions. These missions can range from suicidal - such as entering a nightclub with a jackhammer, to kidnapping, and onwards to protection missions, and also races. Completing these missions advances the story and also will anger other gangs.
Driving in the game is reasonably arcade style, and vehicles are not licensed, which is different to The Getaway game series. Many of the vehicles in the game draw clear influences from real life cars, however, which makes it still seem real enough. Regardless of what gang you select to play as, the game opens with a tutorial mission where you are breaking into an airport. Naturally the break-in goes wrong, and you have to escape. This also gives an opportunity to learn how vehicles handle and how to approach a police pursuit.
As well as the standard story mode, there are also additional modes. These modes are:
Speed Trap mode is based on the same premise as the film 'Speed'. You are in a car with a bomb, and must not slow below a set speed or it will detonate. You must try and hold out without the car detonating for a set amount of time, which varies from level to level. Of course, the amount of traffic also varies from level to level...
A free roaming mode, where you are free to explore London. However, gangs are still present and active in this mode, and they can attack you. Free Drive allows you to explore all of London, with the added threat of police and gangs. As you play through the game, you earn more character models to select from.
You are armed with a selection of weapons, and given a time limit to score as many points as possible. Scoring points involves killing pedestrians, police and gangs, as well as blowing up vehicles. This mode is similar to Mayhem in Saints Row and Saints Row 2.
London Tourist mode is similar to Free Drive. However, you play as an American tourist and are challenged to find and take photographs of different landmarks around the city of London. In this mode, gangs are not active, and this can make it much easier to simply explore freely. You start initially with a car resembling a Mini, but can take other vehicles on the streets. The initial vehicle is invincible, however, meaning that it is ideal for zipping around in.
Four Weeks Later
Four Weeks Later mode pits players against waves of zombie attackers. The aim is to either protect yourself, or to protect your gang boss from the hordes of undead. The name of this mode is a clear reference to the films "28 Days Later" and "28 Weeks Later".
Riot Control mode allows you to play as an officer of the Metropolitan Police, and to deal with riots. The aim is to arrest or 'neutralize' rioters.
This mode challenges you to survive a police pursuit for a set amount of time. Police are extremely strong in this mode, so it is all a matter of skill and talent, rather than luck.
The Knowledge is a mode where you must drive customers around in a taxi and earn cash from these fares in a set amount of time.
Pub Games is an entire sector in itself, so for ease of reading, it is broken down to the different options below:
- 8 Ball (US rules)
- 8 Ball (UK rules)
There is no 'real' story in Gangs of London. Each gang has the exact same story, albeit with different missions. Actually, that might not be correct. The missions are the same, but they simply involve a different gang. The story can be simplified with the factors that each gang simply wants to take over London. Each gang's motivation starts out differently. For example, the Talwar Brothers seek control of London after the brother of the gang boss was arrested during a botched drug deal.
There are 5 gangs featured.
Morris Kane Firm
The longest-established of the London gangs, Morris Kane's men are famed for their brutality. The Firm, as they are known, are a well established and dangerous gang. They can take a considerable amount of damage and deal it out in equal measure. Kane's gang generally drive luxury four door sedans. Like their drivers, these cars can take damage and dole it out in equal measure.
The EC2 Crew is arguably the 'Yardie' style gang of the game. The gang is mainly influenced by drug dealing, and they wear yellow. They drive yellow sedans that are both fast and nimble. Their downsides are their low vehicular strength.
The Talwar Brothers are a Middle Eastern-based gang, who generally wear purple. They drive modified purple four doors, which have the best handling, and are average in all other statistics. The Talwar Brothers are a relatively new gang, but they are becoming a well known operation quickly.
The Zakharov Organization is an Eastern European group of fighters. They are well trained and are occasionally compared to a private military force. The Organization is very ruthless, and stop at nothing. The Organization drive dark green SUVs. They are the strongest gang v ehicle in the game, but they are also the slowest gang vehicle in the game.
Water Dragon Triad
The Water Dragon Triad is a Chinese gang that are based on the foundations of loyalty and respect. The gang drive fast Japanese cars, which are the weakest vehicles in the game, yet also the fastest.
As well as the gangs you can select to play as, there are several other gangs. The most prominent of these other gangs is Andy Steele's gang, which you frequently encounter in missions.
There were two different box arts made for Gangs of London. One was used for the US version of the game while the other was used for the European release of the game. The US box is white, with red writing. It features an image of a silver pistol
with smoke coming from the barrel. From this smoke the gang leaders are formed. The background also features an image of two different vehicle scenes. The boxart looks much more similar to that of the Playstation 2 games (the US has redesigned PSP game boxes to tie in with the design used for the PS3 Slim boxes).
Meanwhile, the UK boxart is red, with white text. The box
art shows smoke over London, and in particular, over Big Ben and Westminster. Like the US box, the design retains the older style (European PSP games still have the PS2 styled strips at the top).
According to Metacritic, Gangs of London has earned a score of 52/100. This score has been calculated from 47 critic reviews. The top rating was given by GamingTrend, who scored the game 80/100 and have been quoted to have said:
The length of the missions works well for a portable game, and having relatively short load times helps.
Meanwhile, the lowest score given was dished out by 1UP, who scored the game with a horrendous 20/100. Their quote reads:
A truly awful experience. Put simply, it's a portable piece of ugliness that lacks any humility or wit. It is singularly unpleasant in the way it handles its subject matter, and lacks the style or panache to carry its inadequacies with any dignity.