James MacKenzie On March 27, 2008 at 8:14 am

Metal Gear Solid is a franchise that has been around for quite some time, first on the Sony Playstation, then the PS2 and now the PSP. Metal Gear Solid previously arrived on the PSP in Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops. This is a repackaging of the game with new missions, new weapons and new characters. The game does not require the original to play, and does allow you to play against players who have the other game, as well.

I think full disclosure is necessary, here: I have not played any of the previous MGS games. With that out of the way, let’s get into the game itself.

When you begin the game in single player mode (called Infinity Mission), Roy Campbell gives you a mission briefing for each level. The game has 8 teams you can equip with different soldiers. You start with 3 soldiers in Team Alpha: Dingo (Sergeant/Rescuer), Nighthawk (Sergeant/Deliveryman) and Hamster (nicely known as Bait). You have the ability to switch between any of the members on your team at any time during play.

In the first (Easy) mission, Roy takes you through the ropes, teaching you the key combinations necessary to disable enemies, pick up weapons, climb, crouch to go through low places, etc. Once you disable an enemy, without killing them, you have the ability to add them to your team by dragging them back to a truck that your team controls. There is an indicator on top of the truck that shows how many you have captured in this way. Once you complete the current stage, you have the ability to add those men to your team. This is one of the most important things to do in this game, as it allows you to build your teams with soldiers of different abilities. You also have the ability to have a teammate drag the soldier back to the truck for you by dragging them over to where your teammate is and telling your teammate to do so.

Your screen contains a Surround Indicator, which has an outer and inner ring. The outer ring shows waveforms to display the sounds you hear around you (and their general direction), while the inner ring shows the sounds you are making. When you get near to the generator of the sound, the outer ring becomes red.

Your objective in most stages is to get to the red Advance Point. This completes the stage and takes you to the next one. After you get through a stage or two, at the beginning of the next stage, a blue Retreat Point appears which will take you back to the last stage. In some stages, instead of getting to an Advance Point, you will have a specific objective, such as killing/capturing a specific number of enemies, or surviving for a specified amount of time.

Playing the single-player game allows you to build up your teams and your abilities. Each character used in a mission builds experience in different areas, and your team is given a rating at the end of each mission as well. There are several skills you can increase the level of, including handgun, submachine gun, assault rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, heavy weapon, knife, throwing weapons, traps, technical skill and medical skill. Your character also has a career associated with it; briefly mentioned above. Some of these are “athlete”: runs faster than normal soldiers), “rescuer”: drags enemy soldiers at a faster pace, “arms specialist”: increases max ammo count of all players, “engineer”: increases battery life for items, and “doctor”: improves the effectiveness of medicines.

Once you get through the short “Easy” mission, a “Normal” mission is unlocked. You will have to use all of the skills you’ve learned in the “Easy” mission to get you through the “Normal” mission, and, once completed, a “Hard” mission is also unlocked. You can go through any of these missions multiple times, if you wish.

You have the ability to trade comrades with other players if you are in the same room together by going into Trade mode. You can also put your PSP into Trade (Sleep Mode), which you can use to “automatically” trade players while you walk around with your PSP. You choose a character to trade away, and once another PSP in trade or trade (sleep mode) is encountered, the trade happens. You can also trade online.

An interesting mode of the game is called Cyber-Survival+. This allows you to connect via the Internet, deploy a team out on the server, and disconnect. The team will “wander the server and fight against other teams it encounters.” You later reconnect and withdraw your team. Experience may be earned this way, as well as new people for your rosters. You also have the ability to view a battle report, to get up-to-date information on how your team is doing.

There is a training mode, which allows you to practice the controls and learn to use specific weapons (you choose which one from an in-depth list). Personally, I found this section lacking, and didn’t use it very much.

For multiplayer online play, 5 different types are available. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture Mission +, Team Capture Mission, and Shooting Range. In Shooting Range, players are divided into two teams and compete for the most targets in a set amount of time. A chat room is also available to communicate with other players.

Overall the game is good, graphics are smooth and I didn’t see any graphical glitches. One problem I did have with the game is that once inside buildings, some of the places you get yourself into are quite tight, and swinging the camera around to get a decent idea of your surroundings takes a bit of time. Another thing in this game, and I believe the year IS 2008…invisible walls exist here…Running around the maps, there will appear to be an open area to go into, and BAM…no can do. Personally, it would have made more sense to me to just have it appear all walled in, but the artists decided not to do so. This is a minor thing, but it did bother me on several occasions. One other slight complaint is when you are on the ground, it takes two presses to get yourself back to standing. If you hit the button once, you do get up slightly, but if you start to move again, you are back down on the ground. This got me into some sticky situations when I needed to move out of a place quickly.

As someone who had not played any of the other MGS games, I would say if you were looking for a decent portable FPS with some strategy sprinkled in, this would be a good game to get. If you’re already an MGS fan and own the original PSP game, this does have some updates, but you’ll have to weigh whether the new features make it worthwhile to purchase the game again.


Overall, this is a very decent FPS. AI good although sometimes a bit TOO good. Many maps to go through and the skill/career options help add to the game.


The graphics are quite good…nothing super extraordinary, but they fit the feel the game is going for. No slowdowns or glitches seen.


The overall sound quality throughout the game is good. There is nothing spectacular here. I would have thought there would be more voice acting during the Infinity Mission, as in the Easy stage there is a lot of text to read…would have been nicer to have it spoken as well.


If you are an MGS fan, and want to get into MGS on the road, this would be a good selection. If you already own MGS Portable Ops, you might want to rent this first, to see if the new features are enough to make you want to shell out for this game.
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