Metal Gear Acid 2 Hits Shelves

PS Gamer

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Mar 1, 2005
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#1
A great article up on gamespot, about the new Metal Gear Acid. From the looks of it, Its going to be a good game. I might have to import it to rate and review.


Gamespot said:
Metal Gear Acid 2 Import Impressions
The Japanese version of Acid 2 has hit store shelves. We take a look at the retail version of the game that will be coming stateside soon.

To say that Metal Gear Acid was an acquired taste is a bit of an understatement. When it shipped alongside the PlayStation Portable at the handheld system's launch, many players saw the name, figured that it would incorporate the gameplay style of the console games, and picked it up, only to be surprised to encounter a turn-based card game that focused on strategic thinking instead of quick gunplay. If you enjoy turn-based strategy games, though, it was a pleasant surprise and a unique experience, and apparently enough people enjoyed it for Konami to put out a sequel, appropriately titled Metal Gear Acid 2. We have the retail version of the Japanese game in hand, so here are some first impressions of it.


In a neat, new addition, using character cards like Cyborg Ninja will now play a relevant movie clip from the game in which they appeared.

Of course, the first thing you'll notice about the game is that there is a Solid Eye peripheral that comes with the box, in a separate sleeve. These are the 3D glasses that you can affix to your PSP in order to play in faux 3D. This is possible because the game has what's called Solid mode, which will split the screen in two and replicate the same image on both sides. When you look at the screen through the Solid Eye (which can be attached to the PSP via a small Velcro flap), you'll be able to get a slight sense of depth when you play the game. It's not as pronounced as the 3D effect that's produced when film is also split into different hues and you watch it with red and blue glasses, but it is fairly neat. The Solid Eye is somewhat bulky, though, so if you're playing on the go, you'll probably want to leave it behind and simply play the game in the regular widescreen mode.

When you first enter a new game, you'll see a menu option that will let you search your memory stick for saved games from Metal Gear Acid. While our Japanese is a bit rusty, this will apparently let you gain bonus points to spend on the cards that are available in MGA2, so you'll have a bit of an advantage right off the bat. We didn't have any saves handy, and the game seems to interpret this as an admission that you never played the first game, resulting in a tutorial that can't be skipped. We discussed the tutorial in our Tokyo Game Show 2005 write-up; suffice it to say, even in Japanese, it wasn't too difficult to navigate through the cards and perform simple actions like knocking on walls to avoid guards or equipping weapons. It's also helpful that you can now skip dialogue with the triangle button, which lets you quickly breeze your way through cutscenes or radio communications that pop up.

After you're done with the tutorial, the opening cutscene plays out, which sees Solid Snake in a plane, doubtlessly on his way to a mission, only to be arrested when he hits the ground and shackled to a table while a gruff-looking agent interrogates him. Of course, this is all in Japanese, so it's difficult to know precisely what's going on, but it would appear that Snake's mission here is taken on even more reluctantly than his other missions are. Soon enough, you find yourself outside some kind of military facility, taking on highly trained guards.


There are some new animations as well, including this brutal neck-snapping close-quarters move.

It's immediately apparent that the designers of MGA took to heart some of the gameplay complaints that people had with the first game. In addition to the ability to quickly skip through dialogue, there are some noticeable changes to the movement and pickup systems. For instance, when moving Snake, you now guide him through each square that you wish to move through, instead of simply picking a path and watching him move afterward, as in the first MGA game. The main benefit to this is that you can now move to a door, open it, and then continue moving through it in the same turn, whereas the first game would force you to end a turn in front of a door and move through on your next turn. This also applies to items; you can walk over them in the middle of a normal move and you'll pick them up without having to stop on top of them. This can lead to some problems, though, such as when you lay down a land mine. Since you don't get to choose your path before confirming it, if you walk on top of a mine by accident it'll go off immediately, even if you haven't completed your movement and confirmed it.

Besides that, the core gameplay seems intact, so if you disliked the relatively methodical turn-based gameplay of MGA, it's doubtful that you're going to be overwhelmed by the sequel. There are graphical improvements, however, especially when you consider the more colorful palette used in the game. Gone are the dark blue and brown overtones that dominated the first game; in their place are a whole lot of yellow, red, and other primary colors. These work well to make the game visually appealing without being too overwhelming. In addition, the 3D modeling of the first game has been enhanced with nice-looking cel-shading. It's not Dragon Ball Metal Gear, though; the effect is subtle enough to somehow fit into the Metal Gear ethos without feeling too cartoony. Further, the frame rate problems of the first game seem to have been taken care of, although we weren't able to reach any huge rooms with multiple enemies, which is where the first game typically started to bog down.


The Fury card may be overkill for this lowly soldier, but it's still amusing to temporarily channel the bosses you've fought in previous Metal Gear games.

After playing through a level, you're taken to the new menu system, where the map select, deck editor, and other features are located. A few of the options here, such as the shop that lets you buy more cards, are initially blocked off, but even the options that are present have undergone some changes. The deck editor, for instance, now features a card upgrade system, allowing you to select cards that you own and spend cash to convert them to more powerful cards. For instance, a GRU movement card that lets you move four spaces might be upgradable to a GRU+ card that lets you move five. Special cards like The Fury can be upgraded as well to have a higher hit percentage and deal more damage, whereas weapons can be changed to give them percentage chances to react, and so on.

The map selector still lets you select older missions to play through, but instead of being randomly assigned a challenge for older maps, you can now manually select a specific type of challenge that you want to play. There are sneaking missions, where you have to get to the end of a level without being seen; elimination missions, where your task is to kill all of the enemies on a map; and the apparently new trial missions, where you're given a custom-made deck and tasked with performing the objective assigned to you. These appear to be something like puzzles, where you have to figure out how to perform your task with the resources allotted to you.

All in all, it seems that Metal Gear Acid 2 is an excellent update to one of the most unique strategy games of 2005, with plenty of small additions that should make it a much smoother and easier-to-play experience. The US release of Acid 2 is currently scheduled for March 2006, though, so you still have a few months to go before you can play it for yourself.