Metal Gear Acid (PSP) review
"As a longtime fan of the Metal Gear series, I met Metal Gear Ac!d for the PSP with a mixture of joy and reservations. On one hand, I was getting a full-length, portable Metal Gear experience with all of the crazy plot twists and characters that I’d come to know and love—so I thought. On the other hand, I walked in knowing that not only was the story not part of the series canon, but that instead of the Tactical Stealth Espionage Action that I’d come to love, the game would be played through a ca..."
As a longtime fan of the Metal Gear series, I met Metal Gear Ac!d for the PSP with a mixture of joy and reservations. On one hand, I was getting a full-length, portable Metal Gear experience with all of the crazy plot twists and characters that I’d come to know and love--so I thought. On the other hand, I walked in knowing that not only was the story not part of the series canon, but that instead of the Tactical Stealth Espionage Action that I’d come to love, the game would be played through a card system.
My initial reaction was that of annoyance and disgust. Not a fan of card games to begin with, I couldn’t believe that they’d tainted my precious Metal Gear with it. But I tried to be fair-minded, and give the game a chance. I had the opportunity to play through it at no expense to me, and figured I owed it to myself to at least experience the game one full play through. One play through turned out to be more than enough for me.
Not to say that Metal Gear Ac!d is a bad game, necessarily. It isn’t a bad game, but it does have numerous flaws that I couldn’t bring myself to get past. To my shock, the card system was not one of them; it worked surprisingly well, although several nuances of the systems were either not explained at all, or inadequately. For example, the game’s Equip System is very poorly briefed to the player, leaving him or her to struggle through their first few maps until they learn to do it themselves through trial and error.
But in spite of lack of thorough telling on how to navigate the card system and utilize it properly, it works just fine. There are a multitude of cards to collect and build into your deck--over 200--that will undoubtedly earn massive replay points for people that have to ‘catch ‘em all’. The cards themselves highlight history of the MG series and even include other Kojima works, like Zone of the Enders, Snatcher, and Solar Boy Django.
More issue can be found with the game’s storyline, which is a proverbial clusterfuck even by MGS standards. Many people found the plot of MGS2 to be a noodle-scratcher, but Ac!d puts it to shame and then some. Far into the realm of frustration, this tale of ridiculous coincidences, uninteresting characters, idiotic plot twists that seemed to be thrown in for pure shock value, far too many games of who’s who, and an overflow of weirdness snowballs any real chances of enjoying it. To further compound story problems, the Snake in Ac!d does not even act like the Snake series fans know and love. At all. It’s like he’s some spineless Yes Man cosplaying as Snake. Nor do any series regulars make any appearances (though this reviewers favorite character, Colonel Roy Campbell, at least merits a few mentions).
In place of the colorful cast the series is renowned for, Ac!d forces us to deal with bores like La Clown, who would appear to be little more than a Decoy Octopus doppelganger--which is ironic. And Roger, who is a poor substitute for Roy. Let’s not forget Leone, who’s about as generic a villain as they come. There are a few bright spots in that of Teliko and the entertaining creepy dolls--and Alice to a degree--so it’s not a total wash, but for the most part I either disliked the cast or simply didn’t care about them.
Sadly, the game’s titular ‘character’, the Metal Gear itself, sports a very bland and boring design, and is possibly the least threatening of the game’s bosses. I definitely had more trouble with the first two than this final walking WMD.
On the sunnier side, the game’s graphics are finally detailed for a PSP game, almost on par with the PS2’s MGS2. The Snake model in both games look nearly identical to one another, which was a surprise. There are some minor issues with jaggies and texturing at times, but it’s rarely noticeable, as the game’s camera keeps things far and away from your character.
Sadly, it also rarely is focused on your character when it is their turn. The sadistic camera enjoys relegating Snake and Teliko above the top of the screen, forcing you to use the aerial view (a much higher viewpoint, found under the triangle button) over and over again. I loved the aerial view; it came in very handy when scouting the map and the like, but I shouldn’t need to use it just to see my character, or to make sure they're positioned in the right direction. It was a huge problem, that camera, and limited my enjoyment of the game to a significant degree. This horrid effect is multiplied when controlling a Nikita missile, occasionally needed to take out an electric floor.
One map in particular requires precise controlling of the missile, and in my efforts to fight the sucktacular camera with the shoulder buttons and analog nub it took an eternity to direct the missile where I needed it to go without hitting a wall or getting picked off by gun cameras. Much to my chagrin, I found that despite my best efforts I couldn’t get the camera to simply show my character/missile when I needed it to the most; instead, the camera decided I should focus on the corner they were somewhat near to, leaving me in the dark. It’s like the cameras are double teaming you in that stage: the ones in-game, and the thousand-fold more annoying one that’s part of the interface, which sometimes changes orientation on its own accord.
Suffice to say the !@#$! camera easily knocked off a whole 2 points from the final score all on its lonesome.
All of the standard MGS sound effects are in place to help you feel more at home, though; expect explosions, gunfire from familiar weapons like the FAMAS and M9, enemy grunts, and of course the traditional ! discovered noise to all come through loud and clear. On the downside, no familiar series tracks could my ears pick up on--though what they had felt in tune with Metal Gear--and no voiceover work at all to be found. This is strange, considering the recently released Portable Ops features a great deal of it. Even more baffling is the fact that they don’t even feature pained grunts or any sounds from Snake at all (or Teliko). Couldn’t they have easily placed some stock grunts that Hayter had recorded for a previous game in there?
I’d recommend that casual fans pass this up unless you can pick it up at a bargain. For the hardcore fans that have to play it all, even things that don’t actually happen in the series storyline, I tell you that I too am one of those fans, but I have no intention of playing this game beyond beating it once.
And better become real good friends with that triangle button fast; the game’s abysmal in-turn camera--possibly Solid Snake’s most troublesome enemy yet--will make it happen if you don’t.
Community review by turducken (February 15, 2007)
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