Metal Gear Ac!d Review - 10/09/2007

The name Hideo Kojima sells games. Forget that, he sells consoles! His games are the main pieces of software that lead people to buy Sony consoles. The PS2 had MGS2, the PS3 has MGS4, and their little PSP brother has Metal Gear Ac!d. If only that were true.

On paper, Ac!d looks like a sure fire hit. With its slick MGS feel and its tactical card elements, it seems like Kojima had done it again. You see, MGA doesn’t have the normal stealth action from the previous games in the series, it’s a card game. It’s focused on tactics, so it gives a different experience to the player. Giving an emphasis on strategy rather than stealth was a risky move by Kojima, and he pulls it off…sometimes.

The game is split into stages in contrast to the other games, which allows for quick bursts of gameplay. Add this to the ability to save at any point and you’ve got a great handheld skeleton. Each stage is basically a battle, or major event, in which you have to perform a given task. This may be eliminating an enemy, or getting to a door. At first this system is great, but as the game progresses these tasks become more difficult and often boring, which is due to the fact they repeat themselves again and again. There are no memorable sections, except for the bosses. These are remembered for how amazingly impossible they seem to be. You will be stuck on a boss for hours on end and defeat them by luck after the 100th time.

The gameplay is like any tactical game. You move; you act; your opponent moves… you get the picture. This works solidly but never develops with realistic actions, as you’d expect from MGS. Each of your actions is picked through use of a card, whether that be shooting an enemy or simply moving one space. You can only use a certain number of cards per turn, and so you must pick them wisely. Each card also has a number, which is used to calculate how long you will have to wait for your next turn. This can get annoying when you have a great card but have to wait for days to use it.

Characters will stand in one spot, staring straight in front of them, while getting shot. The fact you have to wait for your turn makes the game lose the urgency needed in an action game. If you’re dying, you can’t do anything. Snake would never let that happen to him. Or would he?

MGA is set in a completely different world to MGS, with the only similarity being the main characters name. He’s a different man to the Snake we all know and love, and throughout the story you discover lots of things about him. The game's story is told through a series of detailed cut-scenes, all of which feature no voice acting. This is a huge disappointment for any people wanting to see all that the PSP can give. If you can bear reading loads of text then you’ll love the story. It’s possibly more confusing than MGS2 and so you’ll need your clever head on to follow it. The story is definitely the highlight of the game though, and will make you see the game through.

As a launch game for the PSP it is probably the best one of the selection. That said, it still disappoints on most levels, leaving you with a bitter taste of what could have been. If you’re a true fan of Metal Gear, then try it out. Just don’t expect a masterpiece.

- Sam Atkins



Konami JPN