Love it or Hate it, Metal Gear is Here.
Metal Gear Acid isn't Metal Gear Solid. But it is Metal Gear. Let's just look at our Metal Gear check list:
Leone's Metal Gear-Franchise Check-List™
- Focus on Stealth? Check.
- Over the top bosses? Check.
- Over the top plot? Check.
- METAL GEAR!? Check.
As many people who were following the news about this game quickly found out though, it wasn't the action game everyone thought it would be. Instead, Metal Gear Acid is a Turn Based Strategy game. "Hm, well, it could work" thinks Joe Anybody. But then everyone found out it was also a Collectible Card game. "WHAT!?" thinks Joe Anybody. It's true, Metal Gear Acid is a Turn Based Collectible Card Strategy game. Or TBCCS. Go Kojima!
Joking aside, I was hesitant like many others when I popped in this UMD along with my brand new PSP on launch, but after the obligatory long cutscenes, I grew to like the system. It worked, and that is all I asked for. It was different, to be sure, and there was a lot to figure out, but once you got it, it worked. And it worked well. That's not to say this game is for everybody. It does take awhile to get used to everything, and learning the finer details of the system can be overwhelming at times, but it does add to the depth of the game. And for the completionists out there, there are two hundred and four cards to nab, so get going. One unfortunate fact is that this IS a collectible card game, and that entails the unrelenting storm of booster packs, and with no dedicated singles shop, collecting every card can be a long trial of resetting your PSP, or a lot of points spent getting countless duplicates.
The story is told and broken up over missions that are revealed as you complete each one, and occasionally you have to backtrack with new equipment that you have obtained in order to further the story. Outside of the story though, you can repeat any mission for points and cards. Boss fights are exceptionally Metal Gear, large, bulking and often times bizare. Take my namesake for example: Leone is the leader of a mercenary group you encounter. He is a hulking man who can wield a PTRS1942 anti-tank rifle with one hand and use it to deflect bullets. Seriously, how many other franchises are there where you come to expect something like that?
You'll spend a lot of your time modifying, rebuilding, and adding to your deck to improve your efficiency in a mission. Once you're in a mission, your deck is "shuffled" and you are dealt a hand of cards, any of which can be used during your turn. Cards range from movement (but all cards can act as a movement card, albeit not always wise to do so), COST reduction (COST is what governs the turn order- the higher your cost, the longer it'll be until your next turn), weapons (anything from a katana to the RPG7 and Solar Gun), and character cards (with special abilities depending on who it is: IE Metal Gear REX will crush foes in a certain area, while Fortune will allow you to reflect bullets for a few turns). My main gripe is that sometimes you need a specific card to advance in a mission, so you'll spend turns standing and discarding cards while you wait for it to come around.
For a first generation PSP game, the visuals are tight and what you would come to expect from a Metal Gear game, and while there isn't voice acting in most of the cutscenes (yup, text boxes are in), the music in game is nice, the cards have flashy sounds when you activate them, and character cards will generally have footage relating to that specific card when you activate it (All of which can be skipped if you're getting sick of it) and everything else sounds as it should.
If I could give this a 75%, I would because Metal Gear Ac!d definitely is not a game for everyone. I won't beat around the bush, this is a "Love or Hate" kind of deal; you'll either want it to get a 0 or a 5, so it is hard to assign a middle ground. But that doesn't mean it is a bad game by any standard. It is a great game once you get into it and get the hang of things, and you will get a ton of playtime out of it, especially if you have a friend that has it as well because there is multiplayer which consists of mainly pitting your Snake and support character (AKA your deck), Teliko that you meet in the story against his (deck) in a duel to the death. Or something like that.