Review by AC_Blaze

"MPO is a great game, but why Kojima?"

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Story (Spoil-Free)
The story, absolutely incredible like all Metal Gear Solid games. Any plot twists? MPO has many of plot twists. The cutscenes are not very long, I'd say about 5 to 10 minutes when you are brought deeper into the plot. Five to ten minutes is not too short or long, it's just right for a PSP game. Kojima Productions are trying to please some of the fans that don't like long cutscenes. Will this have any connection with MGS4 on the PS3? Of course it will, it is a definitely a must play MGS title. For fans who have followed the series from the beginning and read all the official documents on the characters and interviews, this game will shock you with all the new facts. The amount of time of completing the story mode is between 15-20 hours, minus the side missions on your first play through. You get to see some new and old characters from the series, All of them will have a huge impact in MPO and change what you know in MGS1,2,3 and later 4.

Controls
The controls is quite similar to the console MGS games, but with some changes because of the lack of a few buttons. Without the L2 and R2 shoulder buttons to change weapons or items, you have to hold down the O button. You can only carry 4 weapons/items now, but you also have 3 other characters on the field that carries 4 weapons/items. To be fair, you actually carry up to 16 weapons/items, but just divided up among the characters. It may take some people a bit of time to get used to the controls, but I have to say it works well, and if you don't like it, you can customized the controls. I found it to be easy to learn the default. There are a couple of missing moves you cannot do in MPO, such as throat slitting and snapping necks, I really missed those, especially snapping necks.

Features
The surrounding radar is a great and new feature for the series, works very well for a MGS portable title. You can say it's the new "Soliton Radar" because it works in a similar way. Instead of being able to see the area layouts, enemies, and enemies' field of vision like in MGS1 and MGS2, you only get an idea of where the enemies are located by the sound of their movements and actions. Basically it's like having the Soliton Radar, but at the same time you feel like you're playing Subsistence, you still have the challenge of finding where the enemies are. With this new radar system, you probably won't even care for a second analog nub. All you have to do is face to the direction where you think a soldier may be and tap the L button to see what is really over there. You'll be doing that a lot, but that's how it is, it's the PSP's fault for missing a couple of buttons. It will take some time getting used to the surrounding radar, but once you've understand how it works, it will be a second nature, and you'll be perform efficiently throughout the game.

Recruiting soldiers is a neat feature, it brings something new to MGS series. If any of your favorite recruits die in MGO or the story mode, they are gone, but not completely gone forever. If you can go back to the same exact location that has a WIFI access point, you can download that soldier back into your game. The max amount of recruits you can have is 99, be sure to discharge the worthless soldiers and don't forget to take their equipments before you do that. Each soldier has their own unique stats. Some are maybe great or poor at using handguns, submachine guns, assault rifles, shotguns, heavy weapons, CQC, throwing weapons, etc, and they are graded by letters. Besides those skills, they also have unique traits that may help you in a mission, such as a athlete, quarterback, artist, scout, spy, arms dealer, politician, etc. You can also "recruit" boss characters and other major characters from MGS3.

There are so many new features in the game, and I don't want to make this review any longer than it should be for you, readers, so I'll lists other features you can expect and trying to explain each of them. There are new weapons/items, day and night feature, you now have to keep stock of your inventory, real/virtual and cyber-survival online matches, and chameleon system. I think that all of the major features added to MGS. Real and virtual online matches allows players to either play the traditional way or by MPO rules, Cyber-survival allows you to send your squad online, and they will fight on their own with other AI squads of other players, and you may gain a new recruit or lose your own soldier to a squad.

Overall
Gameplay wise, MPO is a great game, while that might seen unfair for me to say that since I'm a big MGS fan, but I really think it's that great; however, the story on the other hand may upset some MGS fans. The story is also great, but there are many unnecessary changes to the series, it raises more questions, and made the plot even more confusing than MGS2. Don't get me wrong, the storyline in MGS2 is my favorite out of the 3 MGS games on the Playstation consoles. If you have truly kept up with the storylines and know a lot about every characters in the series, then you might be disappointed in the changes Hideo Kojima has done to the series with MPO. And when I say by truly keeping up with this series, I mean by reading the Official MGS Hand Book, In the Darkness of Shadow Moses, Document of MGS2, understanding the plot inside and out of every game already made, and reading interviews with Kojima. Be prepared to accepting the changes of not just one, but several characters and the story. It will make you rethink the story of the past games.

Pros:
Fast loading time
Great replay values
Online battles
Many new weapons and items
Playing as special characters in both story and online mode
Easy to learn the controls
The story

Cons:
The story, unnecessary changes to the series

I give MPO a 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/11/06, Updated 12/13/06


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