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MGS Portable Ops PAL bonuses

And it's out in April.

The European version of PSP title Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops will be released in April, Konami said today, and will boast a range of features that weren't available in the US and Japanese versions released last year.

These will include 12 addition characters, two more multiplayer levels and a Boss Battle mode, which ought to help make up for the traditional several-month delay between the game's completion and its release here.

MGS PO, as Konami likes to call it, has won plaudits for bringing traditional MGS gameplay to the handheld whilst also heading into new territory - with a system of recruiting and fielding a range of comrades on the game's small stealth levels, and even using the PSP's Wi-Fi features to search random access points for bonus characters.

Characters recruited in-game or downloaded by "hacking" access points have various attributes, and can be used in-game (switching between them using the menu, with inactive characters hiding in cardboard boxes, obviously), and the 12 additional characters in the European version should help give your squad a bit more depth. Careers of existing characters have also been expanded, to help highlight key attributes like athleticism and physical strength - obviously rather handy depending on the situation. Boss Battle mode, meanwhile, will allow you to relive tussles with the game's typically flamboyant master-villains.

MGS PO also boasts an online mode, allowing you to go on the Internet and play against friends (and enemies) in a similar manner to that of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence on the PS2, and to this end two new multiplayer levels - for a total of ten - ought to help things last. As well as simply putting your team up against others, you can also risk losing members to your adversary in certain game modes.

For more on Portable Ops, which we're definitely keen on, in case you were wondering, look forward to our import review in the very near future.