Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Reader Review
Portable Ops looks and sounds fantastic, especially for a portable game. A lot of the environments are pretty basic, but the character models are really impressive, especially for Snake, with his shiny, new sneaking suit. Bloodthirsty MGS fans may be disappointed by the lack of blood in this game, which is noticeably absent after MGS3's somewhat gruesome throat-slashing moves. This game is still rated M for Mature, but apart from some stylized violence in some of the cinematic cutscenes, it's not clear why. The Metal Gear Solid series is renowned for the quality of its presentation, and Portable Ops lives up to this high standard. Likewise, the audio is excellent, particularly the cinematic musical score that sounds straight out of a spy thriller. The many original compositions are right on par with the excellent music from MGS3. David Hayter reprises his role as the voice actor for Snake and once again puts in a strong performance, with that affected low growl of his. The voices for some of the villains are even better, and help give these characters their distinct personalities.
Ever since 2001's stupefying Metal Gear Solid 2, this series has strived to be more coherent in its storytelling without sacrificing the sheer detail and convoluted tone that MGS is known for. At the same time, the gameplay has continued to become more and more freeform, letting you choose how best to approach a tactical situation rather than forcing you to figure it out through trial and error. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops features some great new ideas along these lines, along with a story that will have fans of the series talking for months. Though clearly best suited for Metal Gear Solid fans, it's one of the best, most ambitious games to date for the PSP.
The Good: Excellent, thought-provoking story capably reveals much more about Snake; complex, open-ended gameplay has been updated to best suit a portable game; fully featured multiplayer options include game sharing, online play, and more; excellent presentation, including superb graphics, sound, music, and speech; high replay value. The Bad: It's missing MGS3's incredible 3D cutscenes, full speech, and blood effects; complicated control scheme has a steep learning curve.
9 / 10