Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

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wur1
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Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Postby wur1 » January 2nd, 2007, 11:00 am

So a few weeks ago I picked up a PSP, mainly to play this game.  In my book, it's not quite in the league of MGS1&2 (both are A+ games), yet it is much better than MGS3 (which I'd give a "B", due to the annoying camo/food/medical system and terrible camera angles).  I'd say MPO is a solid (hoho) A-.

 

While I don't think this will convert any Metal Gear haters, I'm find that this is the most "gameplay" oriented of the Metal Gear Solid series (what a concept!); there are cutscenes, but none are more than 5 or 10 minutes in length.  It took me a while to get into, do to the difficult control scheme in the action segments and the strategy/RPG elements. 

 

In fact, I think this game should be practically dubbed a "shooter-action RPG" rather than "stealth action."  A large amount of your time is spent recruiting new characters ("increasing your party"), and paying attention to numbers and statistics. (eg, checking to see if you should equip a character with an Ak-47 and put him in your battle squad, or rather put him in the medical unit, based on his weapons handling and medical abilities)  There's also an aspect where you can dispatch spy units to different areas, which gives you clues where to procede next, and unlocks side missions.

 

Some other RPG influences I see: there is a strong emphasis on exploring every nook and cranny of every level, as to find hidden items and weapons.  There are optional side missions.  In some segments of the story, the cutscenes will be different depending on what you do.

 

In regards to the "action" segments, they remind me a bit of Goldeneye, if just a bit.  Generally, you're given one or two mission objectives (eg, "blow up the supply trucks with TNT", "find the government agent and interrogate him", etc).  You send out a squad of four characters after equiping them with the proper gear (you can toggle between any of them), and complete the objectives.  The controls are fairly unique; I hated them with a passion the first few days, but then realized it was the best the developers could do with the PSP's limited control pad.  The camera follows your character over the shoulder, while the analog stick controls the character.  Pressing the "L" button locks on to the nearest enemy and recalibrates the camera, "R" is for first person view, and square fires (or is used for hand-to-hand combat and melee attacks if L is not held down).  X is for ducking,  triangle is the generic action button.  Circle is for weapons/item selection and reloading, and the D-pad controls the camera.

 

These are my main issues with the "action" parts: it's too hard to be stealthy without the bird's eye camera.  (which essentially throws stealth out of the window and makes these segments into a third-person shooter)  Also, occasionally when you lock onto an enemy "above" you, and he remains off-screen while you shoot him. (ideally the camera should re-calibrate at an angle so that you can see him)  One small thing: when you run out of ammo, your character automatically reloads it, even in the heat of battle, and you can't just switch over to another weapon.  This got me killed a few times.

 

Also, there's online multiplayer.  It's basically your standard FPS type multiplayer (deathmatch, capture the flag, etc.) with a Metal Gear twist.  There are lots of cool things that make it worth while; this is the only deathmatch I've seen where rubber duckies and porn magazines are optional weapons!  Other additions are using CQC and tranquilizer darts.  One cool tie-in with the single player is that certain powerful weapons, items and characters are only useable in multiplayer if you've unlocked them in single player.  It's fairly configurable, and shows me how limited Metroid DS really was in regards to multiplayer.  (Apparantly, there's some weird online RPG mode as well, which I haven't tried)

 

In sum, while this isn't the best Metal Gear, it's very good, and stands head-and-shoulders over MGS3.  It's probably the most re-playable Metal Gear game in the entire series (I've sunk about 35 hours into it and still haven't unlocked/discovered everything!), and the most "gameplay" driven of the series.  (as opposed to story/graphics driven)  I'd recommend it to Metal Gear fans first, as well as open-minded FPS/stealth fans, and action RPG fans.  It takes a solid five hours to "get into" this game though.

 

Final grade: A-.

 

(Postscript: One of the cool additions to this is that the cutscenes are a semi-animated comic book, rather than done in-engine as in other Metal Gear games.  I thought this gave it a very unique feel apart from other games.)


Sut
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Postby Sut » May 31st, 2018, 3:19 am

After getting Metal Gear withdrawal symptoms since Phantom Pain. I’ve decided to check out some of the ‘side’ stories (Gaiden ?) in the MGS game library.

Playing portable ops on the Vita.
Echoing much of the above reader review, I enjoy the bite size missions, the game is definitely a proto Peace Walker though everything here is done better in Peace Walker.

But the controls are a constant battle and this really becomes apparent in action sequences. Also as Wur stated stealth is almost a no go because of the camera and controls so I’m resorting to camouflage most of the time and dragging soldiers to recruit into your truck gets tiresome quick.

I’m probably over emphasising the negatives this is still a fun Metal Gear game but certainly a notch below Peace Walker and the main series.

If I was to score it at the moment it would be a C+ as usually this could change the deeper I get.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Postby Retro STrife » May 31st, 2018, 11:15 am

I played Portable Ops on the PSP years back. I remember the story getting pretty interesting, so I stuck with it and finished it. But I definitely got tired of the mission structure too, and dragging recruits back to the truck. Scoring this in the C range definitely sounds about right. I agree with you about the negatives sticking out way more than the positives.. yet somehow it's still enjoyable enough to keep playing. I think the problem is that I just expect better from a MGS game. Another problem: this game has scared me away from ever trying Peace Walker, even though I know Peace Walker is better.

Sut
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Postby Sut » May 31st, 2018, 3:43 pm

Retro STrife wrote:Another problem: this game has scared me away from ever trying Peace Walker, even though I know Peace Walker is better.


Peace Walker is definitely an evolution from this game which fixes many of this games wrongs. But I still didn’t connect with it as much as the numbered games in the series. But unlike Portable Ops,Peace Walker’s story ties in with the rest of the series much stronger.

And this may seem a strange statement for a video game but I feel Snake lacks some charisma in these portable offerings.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 1st, 2018, 1:36 pm

So this is nothing like Metal Gear Acid?

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Retro STrife
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Postby Retro STrife » June 1st, 2018, 2:01 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:So this is nothing like Metal Gear Acid?


No, not at all. Despite being a huge MGS fan (it's my favorite series), I've never played the Acid games, because they sound boring and they're not part of the main MGS story. However, I just read your Metal Gear Acid review for a refresher on that game, and I see that it's based on cards. MGS Portable Ops and MGS Peace Walker are much different and not based on cards at all. Both games are on the PSP, but they are more like traditional MGS games, but on a smaller scale, and divided into short missions to accommodate portable play. If I recall correctly, both games also have a strong focus on building a team of soldiers to use to fight with you. If that structure sounds appealing, don't get your hopes up too much. These games aren't as good as the main console-based series, and I know you have your reservations on those. Between these PSP games, Peace Walker is better than Portable Ops, and both are much better than Acid. But if you do try a new MGS game, I'd recommend MGS V: Phantom Pain for the PS4 or Xbox One. It completely revamped the MGS gameplay, so you might find it a lot more appealing now. Got really good reviews too.

theenglishman
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Postby theenglishman » June 6th, 2018, 5:30 pm

If you're looking for a good Metal Gear spinoff, I'd highly recommend Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It's both an excellent character-action game and a love letter to the franchise (PlatinumGames developed it, with Kojima Productions producing)


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