View Full Version : Game Review: Metal Gear Acid 2 (PSP)

April 9th, 2007, 18:58
Metal Gear Acid 2
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Kojima Studios
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Reviewed by gdf

Coming across like a bizzare cross between Advance Wars, Yu-Gi-Oh and the original Metal Gear Solid, Acid 2 is the second MG game on the PSP. Following on from the original Acid (though not plot wise), numerous changes and tweaks have been made and new features added. The basic idea is that you have a deck of cards and each turn you have to use those cards to perform various actions, such as moving, shooting, healing and disguise. At intermisson you can edit your deck and add new cards you have found in game.

Acid 2 is a very tactical game. You have to decide which cards you will sacrifice for movement most turns as the dedicated movement cards are pretty limited in number. This is where the AW comparisons come in. The areas are split into blocks and you can only move so many at a time, and when you engage in battle the camera zooms into the action. Mostly the gameplay is good enough fun and particularly good for long journeys because of the slow burning nature. There is a surprising amount of skill involved in negotiating the levels and avoiding being spotted, along with fair supplies of luck and strategy.

Sadly it isn't really Metal Gear. The plot is stand alone and is pretty weak if the truth be told; It is something to do with Snake having amnesia and...snore. In comparison to Solid, the story is really uninvolving and dull, with the famous cutscenes replaced by speechless drawings. There isn't even much movement to watch, just scrolling text, and after a while it becomes easier just to tap square and skip the scenes all together. Fans of MGS will feel disappointed as the plot doesn't fit anywhere into the complex timeline; it could be anything, even a VR training program or Raiden's wet-dream. Surely filling in the backstory of a character like Revolver Ocelot or Vamp (or even Liquid), or covering the events in the period between MGS3 and the 1 would have been preferable, if just to appease MGS fans. Some would argue that the game isn't called Metal Gear Solid, so therefore doesn't need to be part of that series and while this is true to an extent, anything with the name Metal Gear comes with certain expectations of plot and production values and Acid doesn't satisfy in those areas.

One thing you will notice is the striking visual style. In a departure from the serious look of Acid 1, the game looks like a cartoon. The cel-shading is very nice looking and helps the game feel more fun overall, if only because you are slaughtering characters that look like refugees from Gundam. The colours look quite odd to start with, all black, yellow and purple, and while at first you can be irritated you will soon get used to it. Overall the graphics are one of the best elements and help give the game a distinct identity, unlike the very grey Acid 1.

Thankfully there are more positives to be found in the gameplay itself. Given the deeply tactical, turn by turn style of play, Acid is one of those "Dip-in-dip-out" games that games journalists seem to clamour for on PSP. Play it for five minutes and get bored? Put the console to sleep and come back in half an hour. Another good thing about the game is that, aside from the first Acid, it is a very unique experience. It isn't quite an RTS, but then it isn't an Action or Card Game either. For tactics fans it is one of the only options on PSP too.

As mentioned previously, there are numerous changes and tweaks over the original. Forgoing the obvious visuals, the gameplay has been subtly changed to make it a little more friendly. For starters you can now pretty much move as you like, crouching and crawling away. Elsewhere more cards have been added in order to vary the gameplay a little. There are some neat bonus features like the "Solid Eye". Basically a pair of 3d goggles, they let you view movies so they appear to have depth. This is all very well, but sadly the twat who traded the game in forgot to put the goggles in the pack, so when I boughty it I never got them. Crossing my eyes gave me an idea of how it should look, if a slightly blurred, pupil cramping idea...

In intermission you can buy cards from a shop, either as individual cards or full theme packs (MGS3, for instance, contains things like "The Fury" and "The End"). From there you can organise your deck to include which cards you want, with a minimum limit of 30 cards and a maximum that changes as you progress. Sound in the game is a mixed bag, with some neat effects hampered by the total lack of dialogue. The game will keep you going for a while and it is worth returning to levels to find all the cards or complete them in a different way. Overall MGA 2 is competent enough and well worth a look, especially as you can find it quite cheap now, but there is a certain spark missing and although it is original and looks great, it just doesn't feel quite right. MGS veterans will be disapointed, however Metal Gear virgins and strategy fans could do much worse.

Replay Value 3/5 Worth going back for all the cards and should keep you occupied for a while.
Sound 2.5/5 Good effects but total lack of speech.
Graphics 3/5 Looks very good and highly stylised.
Gameplay 4.5/5 Odd mixture but engaging nonetheless.

Solid in some ways, but not nearly enough in others (get it?). Metal Gear newbies or tactics heads could add a couple of points to the overall score.