Review by Omegaforce725

Reviewed: 01/29/07

This game is a MUST for the PSP

When Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops was released, I was skeptical, as was probably many others. So far, not many PSP games have do I say...good. Especially after the card-based Metal Gear AC!D games, it wasnt looking good for Metal Gear's portable future. But boy, was I surprised (and happily so) to find what a great game this really is.

Metal Gear is back, with all the sneaking and stealthy sensations as before, but now, Portable Ops has upped the ante. Here are the top 5 reasons why you NEED to get this game if you are a PSP owner.

Reason Number 5: Control Scheme

Kojima did a great job with the control scheme of this game. Up till now, most PSP games have had awkward control schemes that differ greatly from the PS2. Well, Portable Ops has changed all that. Of course, you don't have the second analog stick, so aiming like before is a no-no. But aiming with this game is...easy! You have the option to auto-lock your target, giving you a somewhat accurate shot at your enemy. Or, go into first person by holding the right shoulder button, and you have the option of aiming with the analog stick at your enemy, and zooming in to get a better shot by holding the left shoulder button. Its quite easy to execute really. Another thing this game adds is the ability to move in first-person view. REALLY! It is somewhat difficult, as you have to walk with the directional pad, but it allows you to strafe and aim, and thats a much welcomed improvement.

The things you can do are the same, such as hugging the wall, peeking around corners, hanging off of ledges, and of course, the famous CQC. You cant cut throats in this game, but hey, that would be too easy.

Reason Number 4: Recruiting Comrades and Grade System

Portable Ops does something no other Metal Gear game has done before. In order to complete the mission, you cant go it alone. You will need to build up an army of comrades to assist you during the mission.

The way you recruit comrades is simple, knock out an enemy by chocking them to unconsciousness, or tranquilize them with special tranquilizer ammo. Then, when they are out, pick them up, and drag them back to your always-waiting truck. When the level is over, you can view the enemy soldiers you captured. It may take days to convert a soldier to your side.

Arguably the coolest thing about the game is the grading system. Soldiers you aquire will have different "grades" in different skills, with 'S' being the highest/best grade, and 'C' being the lowest/worst grade. In between are B and A. The higher your grade in a particular skill, the better your character will be able to preform with that weapon class. For example, one character has an A in assault rifles, and the other has a C. With the C character, your aim with an automatic rifle will be sloppy, and recoil will greatly affect you. With the A character, your aim will be very good, with recoil barely affecting your aim, and your ability to aim at specific locations like the head are amplified.

Characters also have different "careers". These include the ability to drag unconscious enemies back to the truck faster, being able to run faster, sneak faster, send items back to the truck, make medicines or ammo faster, and heal your troops faster.

Reason Number 3: Squad Management

Now that you have these comrades, what do you do with them? You sort them into different squads to take advantage of their skills.

There is the Spy Unit, in which you can choose comrades with the ability to lower enemy health, procure ammo from locations, or make maps more detailed, to go to specific areas in the game to gather intel. The reports they will bring back vary from weapons they have located for you to obtain, prisoners for you to recruit, or secret documents which will allow you to progress further into the game.

There are the medical and technical units. You can have 8 comrades in each unit. The medical unit is rather self-explanatory; if you have a comrade with a good grade (A or S) in the medical field, they will raise your medical score. The higher the medical score, the better your troops will be able to heal. The tech unit works the same way. The better your tech score, the more weapons, ammo, and items you will make.

The Sneak units are the units you will deploy into a mission with. You have 4 teams, Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta. Each team can have a maximum of 4 comrades. Here, comrades with good rifle, sub machine guns, pistol, sniping, CQC, heavy weapons, and throwing weapons grades will be put to good use. Good health and stamina is important. There is, of course, a prison for the soldiers who have not yet joined your cause, to be kept. There is also a unit where soldiers with no job to do are placed.

Reason Number 2: Internet/Wi-Fi Capabilities

Portable Ops does a good job of taking advantage of the PSP's internet and Wi-Fi abilities. There are many features at your disposal. You can recruit better, stronger soldiers from an AP Scan. This is where your PSP detects a wireless internet access point. Press the O Button repeatedly to boost your signal. When it reaches MAX, you get a new soldier. Some of these soldiers are different than those you can get in the game. Some come with very good medical/tech grades, and many are good warriors to be places in your sneaking unit.

The online mode is not the best the PSP has to offer, but is very entertaining, and a great way to hone your skills. Unfortunately, this game does not support the PSP headset, and you can therefore not talk to the people you are playing with. Which is okay, because many people trade soldiers instead of playing actual games online.

Cyber Survival is my favorite online mode. Here, you assemble a team of 4 (one of your sneaking teams), and you dispatch them to wander around alone on the internet. There are no players here, just AI. While dispatched, your team may encounter another player's team. When this happens, the battle will be automatically simulated, and depending on the health, stamina, weapons, grades, abilities, and experience of the soldiers on both teams, the winner will be determined.

Reason Number 1: Storyline

If you are a Metal Gear Solid fan, this is the main reason you got this game. If you aren't a fan of the series, or you haven't played any MGS games before, this is a nice surprise. With an intelligent storyline that doesn't seem too impossible, Portable Ops continues the Metal Gear storyline while filling in a few blank spots. Overall, the game is worth it for this alone.

There you have it. 5 reasons why this game is great. If you have a PSP, get this game NOW. Need I say more?

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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