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Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus Review

11 January 2008

As most of you know, here at PSU.com we like to structure our reviews so the story element of the game is brought to you quickly from the get go. After all, it’s such an integral part of the game, correct? Yeah, we thought so too, until we put this UMD into the PSP. What was Kojima Productions thinking? They released a marvelous title with a plot that featured plenty of twists and turns within Metal Gear Solid Ops; however, within its expansion pack that is also a standalone, there is none to speak of.

For those of you expecting some incredible journey that is a continuation of the first or even maybe hints at some things from the first, give up on that now. This game is as bone dry as a 60-year old woman in the winter. We understand that maybe having a well thought out story may have been asking for too much in an expansion, but even a nursery rhyme plot could have helped push the title forward. This game was definitely geared towards the die-hard Metal Gear Solid fan who just wanted to complete random objective filled missions without much else.



The game starts out by giving you the option to name your character with only capital letters. To us, this was tedious considering it meant you had to press extra buttons just to get to them each time. Just so you know, I, personally, hate text messaging as well. Afterwards you’re given the option to import your character and the units from the first game into this one. Unfortunately, it fails to bring over your extra stamina or life. The voice-overs to get into the game are well done, if slightly overdramatic, although they are the only voiceovers to feature throughout the entire game.

The game then goes through some text instruction bringing you up to speed on what the game is all about. After that you’re thrown into checking out the menu. The menu is actually one of the bright points to the game considering how simple they chose to make it. In return, this creates a menu that is easy to navigate, as well as to use. From this point you’re forced to play the game from easy and to work your way up. However, Veteran Portable Ops users who are well acquainted with the games mechanics are likely to find this all to simple to accomplish. If you just so happen to be a newbie to the series, you’ll quickly learn that the game itself does have a small learning curve, but it’s easy to get over.

The gameplay itself is very smooth and works well on an overall view. The fact you’re still able to knock enemies out and recruit them in the game is still very enjoyable. The fighting sequences are fine, though they could use a little work here and there, but overall the feel to it is very well done. One of the bright spots we noticed was the realistic recoil on the weaponry you’re using. It’s not overdone but gives you the perception that you’re actually firing a weapon. One thing that boggled us was why it took so many bullets to down an enemy. Sometimes you can unload 10-20 bullets into a regular soldier and he’ll get back up. It’s like dealing with a Terminator villain.



Controlling the camera could have been set up a bit differently. Moving with the analog and using the D-pad for the camera is a little awkward since some of us enjoy tweaking it as we move. Fortunately though, this small niggle doesn’t detract from the overall gameplay.

In-between the infinite amount of missions, you’ll have the ability to manage your units and to break them up. This is also done very well as its easy to understand and get a feel for right away. During this time, it’s best to make sure your crew’s stamina and health has been restored as well. They play a huge role in the game itself.

Unlike the first game, this one allows you to capture up to 200 soldiers. They’re then split into different teams much like the first game. The functionality of these teams works quite the same as well. The medical unit helps create and develop items that will aid you in the health and stamina departments, as well as others. The technical unit will help create more advanced weaponry for your soldiers to use. Your spies will supply you with details regarding the maps and where enemies may lie, and finally your sneaking team delves into the game and completes the objectives.



The mission objectives generally very bland and dry. They also get very repetitive after awhile. Each mission has you try to reach and advance point which will take you to the next mission area. Your goal is ultimately to reach the end point of each mission. These objectives can be as tedious as not being detected, subduing an enemy, and finding out information, etcetera… They are all relatively short objectives, which serve no greater purpose at all.

A lot of other sites and gamers were reporting that you could simply just power-level your character in MGS: Ops+, so we decided to give it a shot. At first I was confused because I had never played an RPG MGS game before, but then I quickly realized this wasn’t supposed to be one either. Well, we’ll confirm for you right now, the rumor and evident complaining is more than true. After 3-4 hours of doing the same thing a couple of times over, our guy was buffed up and ready to go.

Just think of Jason Bourne on steroids. As a result, we started taking it to the enemy head on and it was all downhill from that point forward. The game became drastically easy to the point of it being pointless to even play. Yes, this ability is great for people who want to take their player online against the world; however, it completely destroys the very essence of the offline campaign.



That brings us to the online portion of Metal Gear Solid Ops+ that we personally were hoping would give the title a reasonable reason to play. Disappointed with the offline performance, we figured that sometimes games are just geared more towards the online aspect. Well, during our first match online, we lost not only the bout, but our character as well. Naturally, we were surprised by this revelation, although apparently, losing in an online battle involves also losing the character you just put several hours into. That only raised one question in our minds, “Why even take it online?” With this huge downfall being one of the primary reasons of logging this game online, why even bother?

Don’t get us wrong, the online portion of the game still offers a substantial experience. They have included in things such as a beginners lobby, new modes and maps. Some of the smaller additions include the ability to salute in new ways. They’ve also added in a chat room where you can banter with other individuals. One of the cool new modes added for Portable Ops Plus is called, “Shooting Range.”

Shooting Range gives you a set time to run through a stage and take out targets turning them to your teams color. The only issue with this mode is the fact that there is no ammo cases spread out throughout the stage. Therefore, unless you bring a team that is carrying some serious lead, chances are you may run out. This really hurts what otherwise could have been a very enjoyable mode to play. It was a great idea, just poorly executed. Portable Ops Plus will have you more than likely just sticking to the core game modes such as Team Deathmatch or Solo mode.



The score to this game was a simple port from the original. Obviously this doesn’t leave much to be desired as it’s quite easy to just enjoy it for what it is. As far as the sound effects for the specific game go, we were a tad disappointed. With Kojima being a known lunatic for perfection, it saddened us to see such bland and sometimes unrealistic sound effects taking place. A good example of this is a frog-like sound that more resembled a dying llama. Also, for those wondering if the terrible visual tearing still exists, then yes, sadly it does. Elsewhere, the load times on the other hand aren’t too bad to speak of, taking roughly anywhere between 10-15 seconds.

Overall Portable Ops Plus is a near disappointing experience. With a lackluster offline game, people who aren’t Wi-Fi equipped at home may find this game a waste of money. Ops + could have been made a lot better and you’ll probably find yourself scurrying back to the original for a better experience throughout.

-The Final Word-

With Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops as great as it was, this game is going to do nothing but collect dust. Unless you’re a die-hard MGS fan, you’ll have no reason to really own this title at all.
  • Quality visuals
  • Realistic weaponry
  • Online play
  • Some visual tearing
  • Repetitive mission objectives
  • No storyline
5.5
Platforms reviewed : PSP
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