Game Review: Metal Gear Acid (PSP)

by Pat Johnson

When I bought the PSP I really didn't think through the game options. I knew there was a Twisted Metal game, an Ape Escape port and a Metal Gear game. I bought all three, trusting in the legacy of their predecessors. However, when I started playing Metal Gear Acid, (which I knew was a strategy game) I figured I'd either love it or hate it right away. And I was right. I hated it. I found the card system confusing and after a sampling of the plot, I was reminded of how stupidly confusing Metal Gear games could be. Anyone remember the end of Sons of Liberty? So I put it away until I flew down to Aruba, where I had 8 hours of plane travel to kill. I was craving a strategy combat game and figured that with a little time, maybe I would warm up to the card system. And I was right again. I got horribly addicted. Before I knew what was happening I was ignoring my PS2 for the a little MGA on the PSP.

Basically, the game is like a hybrid between Magic the Gathering and Metal Gear. You have various cards that can be used for their primary function or just movement. For example, you can use a ration card to get life or move three spaces. It's turn based and the order of events is based on how many points (or card value) you spend on your turn. Because the game is such a departure from traditional Metal Gear games, it manages to both succeed and fail in extremes. The story has moments that are interesting, but usually it's a mess. Graphics are solid (pun intended) and only the camera could be criticized. Game play can be extremely satisfying, forcing you to consider all the variables in a fight (such as card cost, special effects). And finishing off a particularly difficult level has a high level of satisfaction. However, on the flip side, there are a few levels where the game forces you to play and die several times before you know the cards you need to win. The final fight with Metal Gear ranks up there as one of the most annoying boss fights in recent memory. While there are parts that will scare some people away, there is much to be enjoyed and I for one am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

7 silenced head shots (out of 11)