While there’s plenty of action, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is still mainly a stealth game, so be ready to spend lots of time under tables and stuffed in lockers.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Rating: M - Mature 17+
Game type: Action
**** (out of 5)
• What’s the premise?
Covert agent Snake is back in action — and this time he’s got friends. Portable Ops, the sequel to 2004’s Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for the PlayStation 2, is set in 1970 and sees Snake trying to prevent a devastating attack on the Soviet Union by a group of rogue special agents.
But he can’t do it alone and, with the help of a captured Green Beret, begins recruiting and/or deprogramming brainwashed soldiers, medics and others to his cause.
The result is the first Metal Gear team-based action game.
• This game is most similar to…?
It plays like Metal Gear 2 and 3, but with more players than just Snake to worry about.
• Can I let my kid/kid brother play it?
Snake uses a tranquilizer gun for most of the game, which makes it seem benign, but the digital comic book cut scenes by artist Ashley Wood are pretty intense — featuring graphic scenes of torture — and that should make you want to keep it away from the young ’uns.
• One player or more?
There are some awesome online multiplayer options. Not only can you play the usual death matches and capture the flag, but you can also send your team of characters out onto the ‘Net to fight without you. If they’re good enough, they’ll return with more stuff and maybe even new allies.
• The (not-so) secret to success is…?
Be as sneaky as the main character’s namesake. While there’s plenty of action, MPO is still mainly a stealth game, so be ready to spend lots of time under tables, stuffed in lockers and hiding under Metal Gear’s trademark cardboard box.
• What’s missing?
The plot revealing scenes by Wood are pretty cool and are voiced by returning talent like David Hayter (Snake), but they are few and far between. Much of the game is just reading line after line of text. More voices would’ve made it a little less dry.
• And in the end?
This fourth all-new Metal Gear Solid game, the first original action title for PSP in the series (after three strategy games), is engrossing and highly addictive.
It’s just enough MGS action to tide you over until the long-awaited release later this year of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots for PlayStation 3.