There are many games that we have seen make an impact on the industry, whether in a genre changing way or just a game that has enough impact that people remember it. Konami has been with gaming for a long time, and it was not that long ago on the original Playstation we saw the Metal Gear Solid franchise take a giant leap into areas stealth action had never gone before. Now many years later Konami and Kojima Productions are back at it again, this time for the Playstation Portable in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. The big question on many of our minds is can Konami bring it all together on a handheld device? Read our full review to find out!
A big part of any Metal Gear Solid title is really the storyline, which for each of the three games that we have seen in recent years has been more then satisfying. And this continues in Portable Ops with a story that follows the events from Metal Gear Solid 3, which as anyone who has played through that game knows is a pretty great story in itself. So without giving any spoilers away for MGS3 I will just say that the story does feel a bit misplaced at times, but for the most part gives a very smooth performance and really is a great bonus for fans of the third game.
So let’s start by talking about the single player gameplay in Portable Ops, which is going to feel familiar for anyone who has played a recent MGS title. The concepts are still much the same of the stealth/action sort of combat that has you running around different military compounds sneaking around taking out bad guys and sometimes just having to gun em’ down as well. I was surprised at how well the developers managed to integrate the game onto the PSP by using both third and first person perspectives and using a control scheme that really seems near perfect for this game. It does take a bit of time to get used to controlling the game, but after a while I think most will find it extremely intuitive.
A new big feature, probably one of the biggest new features I have seen in a MGS title, is the ability to capture enemies and then make them part of your own team. It’s an interesting twist as you can capture these enemies and then use them for missions. This also helps you to get into certain places and to spy on your enemies. This adds a new layer of depth to the game, and coupled with an extremely intuitive controls, I would this this feature could well make it on future installments.
There is also a multiplayer element to this game, which is really something that the PSP has needed for a long time. The online play is for up to six players and has a few different modes to choose from. Although I was not overly impressed with the modes, they really do get the job done and have some interesting nuances to make the games even more important. For example you can use the characters you have captured from the single player game online and can risk losing them in a match if you lose or can gain a fellow player’s character by taking them out. It’s an interesting twist and makes the multiplayer even more enjoyable.
In the end, the gameplay for MGS: Portable Ops really ends up being as close to pure greatness as you can come. Had they cleaned up some small camera issues that do cause some problems in the game, and maybe given a bit more modes online, this game would have been perfect. However I have to say the gameplay is one of the most impressive I’ve seen thus far on the PSP.
There have been very few games that have properly used the PSP’s visual capabilities to really bring their games to the next level of portable gaming. Portable Op’s for the PSP is a game that really does a fantastic job of using the same MGS style but still making it all look great on the PSP. The character models are really something with quite a bit of detail, and just a very smooth look. The environments do become a bit repetitive, however they are full with detail and usually look great from start to finish.
There are some really frustrating moments in Portable Ops that does make you cringe, however those times are also followed up by what most would consider another great MGS title. Portable Ops has one very new and unique feature in the ability to capture and use enemy forces for your advantage, which is a huge aspect of this game and works beautifully. The rest of the game is still much of a run, hide, and shoot sort of sequence that fans of the franchise have come to know and love over the years, and will continue to enjoy in Portable Ops.
In the end, Portable Ops is one of the best games the PSP has seen thus far. In fact, this is really the type of game that the PSP needs to start seeing more of because these are the type of games that drove fans to the Playstation 2, and can do the same for the lagging PSP. MGS: Portable Ops is just a great action/stealth title that should not be missed.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.