Review by americansamurai
"Get your RPG-7 Ready its Metal Gear Solid Time!"
Since its inception the PSP has been in dire need of a killer application. There have been plenty of games that have shown off the PSP's graphical prowess but there really hadn't been any games that made the PSP seem like a worthwhile purchase. That was until Metal Gear Portable Ops was released. This game is without a doubt the best thing released on the PSP and it's about time. It even tore me away from Twilight Princess...how bout that.
Metal Gear Portable Ops takes place shortly after the events in MGS3 Snake Eater. You once again take control of Big Boss as he attempts to escape from a prison and clear his name. Of course the story is much more complicated than that but I'm sure if you're a Metal Gear fan that you already knew that. Speaking of the story it's excellent and really helps shed some light on the events leading up to Metal Gear. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't pick up this game just for the story alone.
The game play controls very similarly to MGS3 Subsistence. The controls are a tad different and the camera requires a bit of attention but it's not detrimental to the games experience as it becomes second nature within minutes.
The game is also quite lengthy for a Metal Gear. It took me about 18 hours my first time through on easy. This is mostly due to the games new play style. While it's still the stealth action experience you've come to expect the game is much more strategic than its predecessors.
This is due in part to the new soldier mechanic. BB must go out into the field and acquire soldiers to join his small militia group to help him escape his new hell. This is done through several methods the easiest of which is to simply knock out a soldier and drag him back to your truck. Other methods include an access point scan which looks for any Wi-fi connections and has you mashing the circle button in to boost the signal. Once past a certain line you acquire a new soldier. The game also makes use of the new GPS peripheral; unfortunately I haven't had a chance to use this feature.
Soldiers can be placed into one of four squads to accompany you to the filed or they can be placed into your med squad to attempt to make healing items or your tech squad to make new weapons items and equipment.
Each soldier can take four items into combat. This can be restricting but it helps make you be more thoughtful and strategic about your execution.
The game is broken up into small missions. This enforces a highly portable level of game play. The later missions take a bit longer but for the most part the mission can be anywhere from 3-10 minutes long (The last one clocks in at about 20 minutes)
The game is also more difficult then any other Metal gear I have played. Normally I could tear easy mode apart with little effort in about 7-8 hours. Not this time. On a side note all your soldiers and equipment carry over into your next play through even on different difficulty levels.
The online play is great. It plays a lot like Subsistence's multiplayer but there are differences. First off you use the soldiers you acquired through the single player campaign as well as your weapons. The game is played in wither VR mode or Real Combat mode. These are pretty much Unranked and Ranked matches but in real combat mode any soldiers that die you lose all except major characters like Snake or the secret characters. The game modes are you're basic fair with things like Death match and team death match with a few others.
The graphics are excellent and the frame rate is good with little to no slow down. The sound and music are great and amazingly the load times are practically non-existent. You'd be hard pressed to find any at all.
All the games cut scenes are done in an animated comic book style and they have this sort of gritty flare that's just fantastic. All the dialog and voice acting is great as well. I can't really find a single thing bad to say about this game. If anything it would be that it's a little tough to get used to at first but really after about an hour of play everything is second nature. I was hopping around micro managing my units searching for new soldiers collecting Intel and rocking in online games without more than a second thought.
If you have a PSP and like Metal Gear you have to buy this game. Don't even second guess just run out and grab it now. GO!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/11/06
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