Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/22/05 | Genre: Strategy
Solid Snake isn't new to portable systems. Snake first appeared on the Game Boy many years ago with a title that played surprisingly well. Excitingly, for the first time on any handheld system, Konami has brought Snake to a handheld in full 3D. This isn't just a standard port of Metal Gear Solid 3 or another title from the past. Instead, the latest installment of Metal Gear is a Card Strategy game. Just the mention of hearing that this game doesn't play like a standard Metal Gear title may quickly turn some of you away. However, if you are a fan of Strategy games and take the time to play Metal Gear Acid, you will find that this is arguably the best game on Sony's new PSP.
First off, there is a well-known website that published a review of Metal Gear Acid shortly before the release of the PSP. I read their review to see what they were thinking of the game. The reviewer completely trashed Metal Gear Acid. I have a feeling he took the writing assignment based on the fact he was a Metal Gear fan and not that he liked Strategy games. His review is not a fair and accurate description of the greatness of Metal Gear Acid. I will not name specific names here but I am sure you all know what publication I am referring to.
Metal Gear games all have some strange and bizarre story elements that don't make a lot of sense. While some of these elements do exist in Metal Gear Acid, this title is not in the normal timeline of the larger-screened console versions. A Commander named Roger has called Snake out of retirement. Snake is the only man who can get the job done because of a connection he has with the enemy. This enemy is demanding that a secret project called Pythagoras be given to them. If they do not receive this, a hijacked plane carrying a Presidential candidate and several other passengers will be killed. What Snake and Commander Roger don't know is that two 즲eaky lookingolls have hijacked the plane. Metal Gear has always been known for bizarre enemies but murderous dolls? Very disturbing indeed.
Instead of using full motion cinematic sequences and voices to tell the story, Konami opted to use stilled frames with pictures of the characters talking. This isn't to say that the PSP can't handle the same sort of sequences used in recent Metal Gear games but this is much more 쨡ndheld friendlynd there may have been a concern with space with the amount of audio that would have to be used with telling the story.
As Metal Gear Acid begins, you will see that the gameplay is unlike any other game you have played before. If you took a Strategy Game like Fire Emblem, made the combat center on one or two characters, and gave them a random set of abilities to use each turn, you would start to get the idea of how the gameplay works in Metal Gear Acid. Players move around areas that look like what you would find in any Metal Gear title. You are given a random selection of cards taken from your deck to use. Some of these are weapons like guns or grenades, health packs, moving cards, and item cards. Most of the cards can either be used to allow you to walk or to perform the specific action that is on the card. For example, you could use a gun card to shoot nearby enemies or you could use it to walk to a different space on the map.
At times, specific cards are needed. This is the one drawback to having your selection of cards pull randomly from your deck. While not all levels require the use of specific cards, you will find that sometimes it is better to wait your turn out and have your deck replenished than waste health packs or weapon cards for use in moving. Overall this doesn't take away a lot from the title and is a minor complaint of the system.
While you are planning your move during your turn, you can hit the Triangle button to get an overhead view of the map. This will allow you to see where enemies are, potential hiding spots, extra hidden cards on the map, and the goal you are trying to reach.
Like in other Metal Gear games, if you are seen by enemies or a camera, you will sound the alarm. This will cause you to have to fend off countless enemies until the timer counts down. Once it is counted down once, you have a second bar that has to count down before the enemies stop looking for you. However, if you are seen again, you will start the initial timer all over.
After completing each mission, you will be given a grade depending on how well you played the particular mission. This will provide you with special cards to add to your deck and give you points that can be used to purchase additional cards between missions.
A new element was added to the US version of Metal Gear Acid that the Japanese version did not have. After a few hours into the game, a multiplayer mode will be unlocked. This will allow you to face off against another player in VR style missions. The one drawback to having this type of mode in a multiplayer game is that you have to wait for the player to make their move. Depending on how long this takes them, it can make things quite boring. That said, it is nice that Konami added this feature and it does give the game a bit more of a replay value.
While I have some complaints with the camera not providing a good view of the action from time to time and the random card pulling factor makes some missions frustrating, overall Metal Gear Acid is one of the best PSP games available. In fact, this is personally my favorite title on the console and I hope Konami will consider a follow-up in this same style in the very near future. However, if you are not a fan of strategy titles, you should probably stay away from this one or give it a rental before purchasing.