Metal Gear Acid
The classic stealth series makes its debut on the PSP, but not in the way you'd expect. Let's deal some cards, shall we?
I don't know why, but card games never did and still don't appeal to me. While my peers were graduating from Go Fish to Poker I was still trying to figure out War, so when Konami rolled out Metal Gear Acid for the PSP and asked me if I wanted to play cards I was a little skeptical. Hideo Kojima's games are about shooting people in the face and breaking their necks, not about rearranging one's card deck! However, after test driving Acid for a few rounds, I can happily say that this is one game of cards I'm looking forward to playing.
Acid's best feature is that nothing was compromised in order for it to exist. While on the surface the game is radically different than the other Metal Gears, fundamentally it's exactly the same. You still play as Solid Snake, and you still run around shooting bad guys, laying mines, hiding underneath a cardboard box, and talking to someone via codec for 13,284,123 hours at a time. The only difference is how you do these things, which really isn't as intimidating as you might think.
A game of strategy, Acid is a card-based title that requires you to pick and choose the appropriate cards that relate to specific in-game actions. For example, if you want Snake to shoot someone, just select the SOCOM weapon card if it's in your deck. Similarly, whip out the box card if you want to disguise yourself, and go through the deck as you and your AI opponent duke it out until there's a winner.
It really didn't take too long to adapt to the card-based system. Although you'll need to play a card for what seems like every move in the game, Acid still looks and plays like all of the Metal Gear games that came before it. You're still sliding along walls and diverting a guard's attention so you can sneak by, among other slick moves.
Also, the story is just as intriguing as previous titles. In Acid, there's this plane that gets hijacked by two freaky-looking puppets that threaten to kill its crew unless some rare artifact known as the Pythagoras is handed over to them. Snake is sent in to investigate, and the story pans out through tons of codec conversations, though with some corny dialogue here and there.
If you can imagine a Metal Gear that looks like it falls between the two PlayStation home consoles, that'll give you an excellent idea of Acid looks like. It's got all of the cool particle effects from the PS2 games, though it can look a little rough around the edges.
However, since a lot of the game seems to take place with the camera zoomed out, I didn't really notice Acid's deficiencies. This is especially true with the cutscenes, as Konami went with 2D storyboards that feature some fantastic artwork. This is the sort of stuff you wish you could get as a desktop wallpaper.
Acid represents transition, though it's core feels like the same Metal Gear we love. It's much like coming home from school and discovering that you're mom has rearranged the furniture. Some things look and feel different, but it's still home. If you're still on the fence about the game, just remember that analogy. The more things change, the more they stay the same.