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Old 07-20-2010, 08:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Semi-Related Rambling (review follows shortly):
Now, I know some of you saw the name Demon-Mask by the review of a Metal Gear game and though "Damn it, another fanboyish review, only revealing the good things about the game, and ignoring the flaws."

Well, I am still going to say why this game is good, but I am going to mention the flaws and view it as just a regular game, not bringing in my strong love of the Metal Gear series in.

There will be a section near the end of the review talking about the standalone expansion of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, the expansion is called Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops+

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Review:

Story:
4
Set in 1970, around six years after MGS 3.
Big Boss awakens in a prison cell in South America, a man with a prosthetic leg, last name Cunningham, walks in and reveals that he is with the FOX unit (the very one Big Boss served in years before) and that they are looking for the other half of the Philosopher's Legacy. Cunningham tortures Big Boss, who persists that he has no idea what the hell is being asked of him. Cunningham leaves, and the man in the cell across the way reveals that he had been held in the cell prior to the arrival of Big Boss, and that he had taken off the cover to the ventilation system. Big Boss goes to the next cell over through the air-shaft and finds one of the FOX unit sneaking suits in just his size and puts it on. The man who told Big Boss reveals himself to be a young Colonel Roy Campbell. He also goes on about how cool it is to meet Big Boss, but Big Boss says something along the lines of "Just call me Snake".

Snake insists upon helping Roy escape, but Roy complains of a messed up leg, and a nasty fever so Snake escapes and clears a path for Roy to limp out so he can steal a truck. Roy now drives Snake around from mission to mission, because it apparently doesn't take legs to drive. The first mission has Snake scouting for information about what the hell is going on, it turns out FOX has gone rogue or something and are going to steal the very first model of Metal Gear to be produced, and many of the soldiers of the Red Army stationed in South America are in are opposed to this plan, conceived by the leader of FOX, who's named Gene. Snake and Roy then realize they can capitalize on the disdain for Gene and convince soldiers to join them in the fight to stop the FOX unit. Snake and Roy kidnap a young soldier named Jonathan, who reveals that despite the disdain for Gene, everyone loves him and his plan because he is a hero for soldiers everywhere and is trying to make the country into a nation for soldiers, the nation is to be known as "Army's Heaven". Eventually, they convince Jonathan to join up with them and fight against Gene.

Turns out Roy's fever was malaria, and so Snake sneaks into a hospital to steal medical supplies, where he meets up with a young girl named Elisa, who gives him the medicine without Snake needing to bring it up, because Elisa has psychic powers caused by a nuclear explosion. She also talks about the perfect soldier who is housed within a hyperberic chamber type thing.

Now, I am not going to go into many of the specifics of the story beyond this point, because there is too much to give away, but I will explain a few more things at a lower level of detail.

Snake infiltrates a ship docked in a port, and he comes across a prisoner who used to have a ton of power as a commander, but was relieved of the power

When Snake makes it to the hangar where Metal Gear is supposedly being held, he tries to destroy the control panel with some TNT, but a man named Python comes out of nowhere and freezes it. Snake knows Python from a previous mission where Snake presumes Python is dead, and so Python is left behind. Python somehow survived this, but his body lost the ability to regulate it's temperature, and would burn up if not regulated by a special liquid Nitrogen suit. Snake defeats Python in battle.

Snake also meets the perfect soldier, known by the codename of Null, turns out Null is a child solider Snake had met years before, the child soldier used to be called Frank Jaeger.
( Click to show/hide )
Grey Fox is a name he goes by in Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, and Metal Gear Solid

Null complains about not being able to kill Snake for the entire rest of the game.

At some point Snake is captured, and Elisa helps him. Snake eventually gets to Metal Gear, which is being controlled by Elisa's twin sister Ursula
( Click to show/hide )
Elisa and Ursula are the same person, but separate personalities, Ursula has no emotions and better psychic powers, and Elisa actually has emotions, but weak psychic powers.


That Metal Gear gets destroyed, and it is just a test model.

Snake is trying to find where the real Metal Gear is and is conducting reconnaissance everywhere. Snake finds and infiltrates the area where Metal Gear is being housed and prepared for launch and has to face off with Cunningham, and later Gene. Cunningham reveals himself as working for the US military to stop the FOX unit. Gene reveals himself to be a genetically enhanced male clone of The Boss from MGS 3. He got all the superior soldier genes (just like Liquid Snake does later on in the series). He also was given the "Gifted Voice" which allows him to control people. Snake kills Gene and gets to Metal Gear too late to stop the launch, so he shoots an RPG at it, which stops it from actually being launched.

All in all, it's a very good story, with all the double-crossing triple agent drama and nuclear Cold War stuff going on you'd expect from the sequel to MGS 3.

I just scratched the surface with the summary, a whole lot more is going on.

Gameplay: 4

( Click to show/hide )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqaoCGxBRvA&feature=related

( Click to show/hide )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSXJ5ipxN4I

( Click to show/hide )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz0oeHxoj4A&feature=related

The controls are a bit awkward at times, and take a little adjustment. Analog stick to move, D-pad to adjust camera. R button for first-person view, L button to hold weapon at the ready. Circle button to open up the inventory menu. X button to crouch or dodge-roll when you are moving. Square button to use CQC, and fire your weapon if you are in first-person view or have L pressed down. Holding L while in first-person view to aim down sights on certain weapons (like assault rifles).

Instead of just taking Snake into a mission, you can take up to four soldiers in. To get soldiers, you must knock them out and drag them to one of the boxes where a comrade is hiding, or the truck you rode in on.
Soldiers can take quite a while to actually join you, as they do take some convincing.

Camo is back to the old system from before MGS 3, if you are in the open, you can be seen potentially. If your soldier blends in though, he can pass without problem. You know you blend in by a chameleon icon on-screen.

If a normal soldier dies in battle, they are gone for good.
If a unique soldier (like one of the bosses you can recruit) dies in battle, they are put out of action for some time while they rebuild their strength.
If Snake dies in battle, he is given back to you with a very small amount of health left.

Each person can carry up to four items into battle, this includes: weapons, cardboard boxes, riot shields, rations, med-kits.

Snake is always in one of your Sneaking teams, except when he is kidnapped.

There are several different units a soldier can be in:
A Sneaking team: A team of up to four members that is sent into battle, you can have four different ones set up.

A Spy unit: A unit of up to four members that conducts surveillance in their assigned area. Some members of a spy unit improve map-data on the area, some weaken enemies, some make weapons more common in the area, and some procure items. They get you reports of side missions you can do. There is room for one spy unit per area.

A Tech unit: Researches stuff, makes weapons and can allow you to carry more ammo with a gun, and more ammo in a clip. Assigned to a level of up to 99, which determines what they can make. Room for one unit of around 15 people (unsure of exact amount).

A Medical unit: Produces Rations to restore stamina, and Med-Kits to restore health. Assigned a level of up to 99, which determines how much health and stamina recovers between missions. Room for one unit, same max number of people as the Tech unit can hold.

Every soldier has several stats to deal with: Life, Stamina, Handgun skill, SMG skill, Assault Rifle skill, Shotgun skill, Sniper rifle skill, Knife/CQC skill, Heavy weapons skill, Grenade skill, Trap skill (TNT, Claymore), Med unit skill and Tech unit skill.
Life and Stamina increase upon deployment into the field, though it is usually by a menial amount.

The game is broken down into areas, which you choose from a main map, as opposed to one massive area with a bunch of rooms. This makes backtracking easier than before, as you can just be in the area, instead of having to go through seventeen different rooms two ways each.

There is a very good multiplayer which you can play with someone sitting right next to you via Ad-hoc local connection, or over Wi-Fi with people all over the country.
The multiplayer is up to six players, and has Deathmach, Team Death Match, Capture, and Team Capture. Capture is like capture the flag, but with a Kerotan frog symbol instead.
The online connections are not generally laggy at all.
The online mode has VR and RC modes, VR means that the match has no impact on your online rank, and no impact on your team. If you die in RC mode, same deal as in the story mode, you lose, you lose.
There is also access point scan and GPS scan methods of obtaining soldiers, access point scan you just find a Wi-Fi connection and boost the signal by pressing circle a bunch, GPS scan requires some GPS thing made for the PSP.

Graphics: 4

Nearly on-par with MGS 3 in terms of detail, but concessions were made. No more blood sprays or blood stains, to prevent slowdown.
There is some slowdown when there is multiple enemies on screen and an explosion at the same time.






Instead of being rendered with the in-game graphics engine (like other MGS games), the cutscenes are presented with art in a graphic novel style, but with some nice animation. It looks good and suits the story nicely, but is also a bit of a disappointment because I always applauded the MGS games for simply using the in-game graphics engine for cutscenes.

( Click to show/hide )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slNAKgByNRU


Sound:
3

( Click to show/hide )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o64whfBjhXc&feature=related

( Click to show/hide )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Yq8-UFz0CA&feature=related

The game has a different composer than other MGS games, and a bit of the musical appeal is gone. The music feels more like it belongs in the background than before.
Voice acting is still at the high quality of MGS games, but it is limited to: Cutscenes, grunts, deathscreams, random quips from guards ("who's footprints are these", "what was that noise", etc.), the well known voice the guards contact that has always been HQ ("The enemy is still nearby, pursue and engage him"). Random things bosses say during battle ("Take this", "Impossible", etc.) The music is just a bit weak, that's all.

Replay Value: 4

There's always one more soldier type to recruit, one more level to gain with your med unit and tech unit (if you get med to 99, you get Elisa to join you, if you get tech to 99, you get stealth camo). When you beat the game, which doesn't take too long, you can restart with all of your units (except Jonathan, he's special), meaning you can play through and get more units that you only see in one specific mission. Also, to recruit some unique soldiers, you must be on your second playthrough. To get Null, you have to stamina kill him the first time you fight him, and he will join when you start a new game, to get Venus, you need a save from Metal Gear Acid 2 when you start a second playthrough. Several soldiers come from having save files on different games. By second playthrough, I mean loading a save file that has been saved after the credits, it starts a new game, but carries over your stuff.
You can also always play online.

Challenge: 3

Mostly easy, story mode is pretty short.
Some boss fights are hard, but it is generally an easy game.

Overall: 4

A damn good game with some minor annoyances like the ability to only take in four items per soldier, and controls that take a lot of getting used to.

The good definitely outweighs the bad here.


Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops+

( Click to show/hide )


At $20 this game is a good deal, but it is more centered on multiplayer.

Tech units and Med units are rendered completely useless, and there is no story, except for a quick exposition explaining that the game takes place after Portable Ops.
The only single player modes are Infinity Mission and Boss Rush mode, with some crappy training missions you can play. Infinity Mission must be played from Easy to unlock Normal, Normal to unlock Hard, Hard to unlock Extreme.
You do not start with Snake.
When a character dies, including unique characters, they show up as random prisoners in the level you lost them in, no hospitalization.

Infinity mission has you simply finding a goal, or doing something specific then finding a goal, you play through several missions before the end. They are random, what map you play, what enemies there is, how many enemies, where the enemies stand, where the advance and reverse points are.

A ton of new soldier types and even a couple of unique soldiers are added.
The soldier types include:
Genome Soldiers, Seal Team 10, Gurlokovich's Mercenaries and Arsenal Tengu.
None of which make sense in 1970.
The new unique characters are as follows:
Old Snake(MGS 4), Raiden(MGS 2), Roy Campbell (his Portable Ops appearance).
None of these make sense, not even Roy, because of his inability to walk due to his bad leg.
There is also a secret, super-rare soldier that appears as a random prisoner in Infinity Mission, it is Johnny as he appears in MGS 3.

The only unique soldiers you can get without a save from Portable Ops are the one's from infinity mission, and Gene by completing Boss Rush.

You can bring over your soldiers from your Portable Ops save, and by having a Portable Ops save, you get Snake and Boss Rush mode from the beginning.

Portable Ops+ has a more advanced stat system, where each individual stat can increase by experience or by using textbooks you find lying around. After a round of Infinity Mission, you are given a certain number of points for support units (Med, Tech, Spy) soldiers in the truck (dudes you have captured) and your Sneaking team.

The Spy unit now follows all the same rules as the Med an Tech units, which means one unit, with around 15 members. Spy unit is assigned three different levels out of 99. One for how detailed your map will be, one for how much assistance will be given (lowered enemy health, less enemies, more weapons just sitting there), and a number that is an average of the two.

There are many more multiplayer modes and more options as to the rules of each mode (like disable surrendering).

I cannot list all of the multiplayer modes added, but they are pretty solid.

I only suggest this game if you are low on money but want to play Portable Ops to some extent, or if you want to put your soldiers on a team with cooler soldiers and do new stuff online with the team.

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Old 07-20-2010, 10:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

I wanted to review this game...

Oh well. I guess I'll be doing Peace Walker, which is way better than Portable Ops.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

I haven't had a chance to play Peace Walker yet, is it really that much better. I played the demo a while back and it seemed alright.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

The bosses are epic, and it has a Monster Hunter mode thats good and the box tank:

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Old 07-20-2010, 11:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

But what if I didn't like Monster Hunter all that much when it was in Monster Hunter?

I do like the cardboard box tank, it looks funny.

---------- Post added at 08:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:06 PM ----------

Wait... is that the same Miller as in the first Metal Gear Solid?
I thought his name was McDonell Miller.
Also... He sounds stupid in Peace Walker.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Keyword good Demonmask.

And it's the same Master Miller, his father's name was McDonell.
And Otacon's father is in Peace Walker, Huey.

---------- Post added at 03:20 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:15 AM ----------

I love the dialogue between Snake and Chico:
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Nice review Demon! I might pick this game up considering I've been looking for games to play on the PSP
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

This game is a good choice for the PSP, as is Peace Walker from what I've heard.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Good stuff DM. Lots to read but it didn't get boring. Good job!
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

I'm just not sure about the controls, if they will get too annoying or not. I could probably adjust though.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

The controls do take a bit of adjusting, but they work once you get it down.
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Ok cool, are you able to customize controls? Like switch what the buttons do to make it a bit easier for the player to control the way they like it?
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

You can change the control scheme as you wish, no limits to how you can change them, except that firing a weapon is always going to be the same as using CQC, and you have to use a lock-on button to actually fire. Other than that, you can put the equip button where you want and stuff. You do have to pick the movement/camera configuration first, there are around five configurations for those, like using the face buttons to move and the analog stick to control the camera, or using the D-pad to move and the face buttons for the camera. Customizing the controls makes it much easier to adjust to.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Oh, thats even better. Thanks for the info
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

You're welcome, always glad to help.
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