Metal Gear Acid 2 Review
I was never a very big fan of the Metal Gear series on the consoles. I really didn't have much in the way of patience - I would never wait long enough and some enemy would shoot me to bits or call hundreds of his buddies to, well, shoot me to bits.
However, I do enjoy card-battlers and games that are similar to the Final Fantasy Tactics series. When the PSP first released, I decided to give Metal Gear Acid a try. I'd always heard the stories in these games were neat and, this time, the gameplay style was right up my alley. No matter how much I tried, though, the 'acid trip' was never really enough to get me hooked.
Recently, I've purchased a PSP again as I wanted to try the new Syphon Filter game. Well, I've also heard that Metal Gear Acid 2 improves a lot on some things I disliked about the original game. I decided to pick it up and, while I'm still not totally into the series, Metal Gear Acid 2 has made some significant improvements over the original.
The first, and one of the best, improvements I saw was in the movement engine. Before, turning was a movement in and of itself - you couldn't do much of anything other than move after using a card for that purpose. Now, though, you can do a lot - duck, crawl, walk, turn around and (at least in your mind) do the hokey pokey with a single move card usage. No more will you have to blow most of your cards just trying to get Snake to lay down.
Something else I really liked was the addition of the Close Quarters Combat system. Before, you had to expend a card to do something as simple as breathe. With the new system added in, however, you can now throw out a 3-attack combo once per turn. This added element really can help out with the strategy of the game - if you're low on cards, you can try to knock an enemy out for a bit to get a new hand to move on with.
Card selection has also vastly improved. You'll have a large chunk of cards to earn throughout the game's levels - over 500 of them are available to you. You can also import cards from the previous game if you so desire and even choose to upgrade them. Tailoring your deck is a huge part of the game's strategy and rightfully so - this is a card battle game after all.
I really enjoyed the first impression the game gave me. Cel-shaded graphics, when used in the right context, are fun and engaging. Metal Gear Acid 2 manages to use them well - it really fits with the game's title and overall feel. The graphics have a tendency to allow for more expressive characters and Konami has really used this to their advantage.
You can also turn the game 3D with the included 3D...box? Goggles? Glasses? According to the actual... 'thing', they are goggles but they seem to be more box-like. While they were pretty simple to put together, an even simpler set of glasses would have likely worked just as well. Once you do get the contraption assembled, though, you can turn on 3D mode in the game with a simple menu option. While you'll likely find it fun for a bit, it ends up not being much more than a gimmick.
The game's sound is a mixed bag. While I did enjoy the techno soundtrack and felt it fit the game well, there was one severe omission - voiceovers. Reading text on a screen was one thing when cartridges didn't have room for actual voice on them. I can also understand text only when a game comes from a small development house. Konami, though? Give me a break - to put it bluntly, this game should have had voiceovers, no questions asked whatsoever. If there is a Metal Gear Acid 3, please please please make sure there are voiceovers.
The game also had some other problems. First of all, the card upgrade system is lacking. Sure, upgrading your cards is nice (particularly the one card you bring over from the original Metal Gear Acid). The problem is, boosting it up in power will cause the cost to shoot through the roof, making it near unusable. Sure, having an uber-powerful card is fun and nice - but it causes problems when you're sitting there twiddling your thumbs while your enemies examine you closely for the most efficient way to turn your body into a mass of bloody chunks.
Another area in the game that has issues is the multiplayer. See, you'd think that you would have the chance to craft multiple decks in an offline mode to get ready to take on other people. Based on your opponent, you'd pick a deck to best counter their playstyle. Multiplayer, then would not only be a game of skill but would also involve your deck building abilities. It doesn't work that way, though - you're not going to be able to custom-tailor your decks for individual opponents in multiplayer
The final question is, though - is the game fun? The answer on that one is a mixed bag. At times, the game is a blast - the strategy elements have been refined this time around and some of my gripes with the original game have been fixed. And, for big fans of the series, you can watch video from Snake Eater and the MGS4 trailer in glorious 3D. The sound is good and the graphics are pretty neat too.
Of course, I also had some major gripes with the game. First of all, the 3D goggles are horribly awkward - you have to slip them over the PSP. That alone makes the 3D mode unusable in any place but the comfort of your own home. I wouldn't be caught dead walking around with the goggles attached to my PSP. The card upgrade system also has some issues as does multiplayer. The lack of any voiceovers also really hurts the game.
In the end, the game comes out as nothing more than average. Fans of the Metal Gear universe will want to pick this one up as will those that enjoyed the first game. If you are looking to try out the series, this is definitely the better version. If you absolutely hated the first, though, nothing here will change your mind.