Review by youngfrankenstein
"Wait a while for it to sink in."
First off, let me say that I'm not the biggest Metal Gear fan out there- in fact, I've always been a Nintendo kinda guy (until just last year, where I've gotten into Sony) but I have played Metal Gear: The Twin Snakes for the Gamecube and was impressed. It was like an action movie, with the Matrix-cut scenes and stylish voice acting an' all. When I found that Metal Gear was coming for the PSP I thought to myself "Wow. Now there's a game I need to get! If it has 'Metal Gear' in the title, the lads who own that particular franchise would never release any Metal Gear game that was short of excellent!" Now was I right or wrong?
Set in the future (2016 to be exact) an airplane carrying an important American political figure- one who may become the future president- has been hijacked! In exchange for this fat-cat industrialist, the terrorists demand that the Americans give them sommat called 'Pythagoras,' which is being held in Africa. This does not bode well for the Americans, as they don't have any jurisdiction there.
The African government refuses to cooperate with the American government, which results in the States sending over an elite commando squad thats decimated almost upon arrival. With 'tyme' running out, the Americans deicide to use their 'Ace in the Hole'- legendary mercenary Solid Snake.
YOU are Solid Snake. You must infiltrate the grounds, rescue the hostages and find out just what Pythagoras is. Excitin', eh?
Well my son, ah'm afraid thats where the excitement holds! Y'see, after reading the manual and firing up the game, your in for a very long, very clumsy and ultimatley slow-paced experiance.
The game (as you've probably heard) uses an 'all new' card system revolving around COST- "the weight of your actions." Each card has its own particular cost and depending whether you use that card or use another, or even do nothing, the COST is balanced at the end of you turn, determining when you can go again. Each character on screen lives by COST,as they all play by decks o' cards as well.
You'd think balancing and managing the COST would be fun but its not. I had a friend who described the whole thing as 'cyber chess' and had he been in the room with me and not online over MSN, I woulda slapped him silly!
I like chess but I don't like having it compared to MGA. You play chess for thinking- you play Metal Gear for sneaking and shooting. That said, there is a degree of strategy to this game but it falls short in presentation. The 'knock' option, where Snake leans against a wall and makes a noise (which draws in a curious convoyer) has made it into the game but I have NEVER USED IT ONCE.
The usual Metal Gear rules apply to the game: if Snake is discovered an alarm goes off and all enemies are suddenly aware of your location. In order to return to safe condition, you either evade enemy detection until the alert is cancelled, or eliminate all enemies. Its way easier just to eliminate all the enimies- after a while, they stop showing up. Plus, you have much more health than they do, so if you have alot of gun/ammo and health-plus cards in your deck, you can simply wait it out until your alone.
It can redeem itself though, as it is a brutally hard game- especially if you beat it and then replay it over. They allow you to play from the beginning with all the cards you've collected- and trust me, you'll need them. This actually makes the game better, because it FORCES you to sneak instead of shoot. This saves the gameplay score from utterly failing.
PLAY TIME 7/10
I'd like to say N/A because theres a good deal of work to do in there, but its drawn out gameplay and having to do things over an' over is a major contributing factor. Theres probably 8-10 hours of gameplay, which is impressive for a handheld and thats why it gets a seven. But, as I've already said, alot of this time is WAITING for it to be over. Really, its a chore to play and ought to get six because of its low replayabilty.
No voice acting. NO voice acting! Negative one point just for that alone! The character's mouths don't move when they speak! Negative two! And have you ever watched a grenade being thrown and then seen it blowing up? The frame-rate drops consideringly, especially noticable when the room fills up with enemies; negative three. And half the musical tracks aren't too good either- negative four.
However, the sound effects are well done (explosions, gunshots, etc.) very crisp, very real. The intro theme and alert-music are well done as well, so it redeems itself this way. The character models are blocky though, looking nothing like their drawn counterparts in the manual. On top of that they move and turn very unrealistically. I'm sorry guys, but I expected better.
I hope I don't sound like I'm bashing the game, but the PSP is a handheld system. You play it while waiting for the bus or when your bored and stuck some place. MTA has the potential to be engaging and interesting, but it just wasn't for me- maybe its for you. I don't think this game would've been as popular as it was had it not had 'Metal Gear' in the title.
Make sure you RENT THIS GAME, there's a strong chance you'll be glad you didn't go out and buy it on the spot.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/27/06, Updated 08/14/06
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