Metal Gear Acid 2
Metal Gear Acid 2 is a reborn sequel- what the original should have been.
I've said it before, and I'm going to go ahead and say it again, even though I sound like some kind of physics professor. You mess with a successful formula and you're bound to run into a sea of complaints. Take Metal Gear Acid, for example. Instead of taking the traditional route of previous games in the long-running series, Konami instead opted for a card-battling system, and the line was quickly divided between those who could put up with the game's tedious pace and find gold underneath, and those who didn't want to bother after finding it just wasn't their style of game. It could've seen some improvement, though.
Thankfully, that field of improvement is expanded upon in the sequel, Metal Gear Acid 2. We've already described a number of features that the game carries within it in our expansive, exclusive preview a few weeks back, and, thankfully, they've all made the cut into the final game, which is a far better experience than the first one would be. That line that divided so many gamers seems to have gotten thinner here, and only those who positively can't stand card-battle games will shy away. Everyone else will find plenty to savor.
The card battle system has seen a revamping so you have a bit more real-time control over Snake, being able to move him around without going through a tedious movement system. You also have the ability to crawl and put yourself up against surfaces to get the edge on an opponent who has not yet seen you, and then either try to take them out with a distance attack shuffled in your deck, or a close proximity attack, which is the most joyous and up-close-and-personal of the attacks you have on hard. Card management is still very important, however, so don't go all gung-ho into every battle. Strategy is still a heavy element here.
Another big problem that killed the first game's momentum, I think, was the visual appearance. It just never really got off the ground or divided itself apart from previous Metal Gear games, like Snake Eater did moving into a vibrant jungle setting. Acid 2, however, has a nice new approach with its cel-shaded graphics, with characters that move vibrantly through an array of environments that offer much more hustle and bustle. There's interaction with objects as well, including a level where a speeding train is liable to hit everyone across the board unless you find that coveted hiding space. The game looks reasonably better, especially when you throw on the Solid Eye peripheral that's packaged with the title. (More on that in a second.)
Sound has also been boosted significantly, thanks to a music score that manages to stay true to the formula (Shuichi Kobori does a great fill in for Harry Gregson-Williams), and the sound effects, from the familiar Metal Gear intercom chirpings to blazing weapon effects, fit the bill nicely. Trust me when I say you should wear headphones for this one, to get more immersed into the experience.
The game also features a much more capable version of AdHoc multiplayer this time around. Instead of a boring, slapped-together mini-game that's barely interactive, Metal Gear Acid 2 has head-to-head battles that are mixed up rather well. Furthermore, you have access to 500 cards right from the get-go, as well as the ability to import one card from your Metal Gear Acid save (including, if you want, Metal Gear Ray, a massive card), and there's several more slated for download somewhere down the road. There's lots of replay value here, if card-battling is your speed.
Now let's talk about the Solid Eye for a minute. This is a strange little device with a divider that allows you to see the game in 3-D. It takes a little getting used to, especially with setting it up just right so you don't give yourself neck cramps peering into it while bending over or whatever, but it is a nice touch by Konami and a splendid idea. Playing through the game in 3-D adds a whole new dimension, literally, and makes you feel more in touch with the action. But the real treat here is gaining access to a number of cut scenes from past Metal Gear games, as well as being able to view a bunch of virtual honeys and the full Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer in 3-D. That alone should make Solid Snake fans froth at the mouth on command.
Metal Gear Acid 2 may not be the full-on action opus that so many fans of the series clearly wanted, and it'll still have those skeptics that just don't get the pleasure of drawing a battle card and then watching it be acted out. But it is a fleshed-out sequel that's a lot more fun, thanks to a revamped gameplay system, a wide assortment of cards, and the kind of presentation and goodies that will keep people drawn in until the final chapter eventually arrives for the PS3. Kudos to Konami for delivering a winning hand.
What's Hot: Refined gameplay fixes original's flaws; superb use of 3-D gimmick.
What's Not: Some still may not like the card-battle system.