Better graphics don't make it a better game
About 3 years ago I got man hands on Meta Gear AC!D, a card-based strategy game for the PSP set in the Metal Gear universe. While heavily criticized by nearly every review crew on the planet, I still really enjoyed it and it was one of the few titles I really found the motivation to finish. On my trip to the Czech Republic and Germany I took the successor to this game with me ...
Metal Gear AC!D 2 is set after the first game but with some time between those two. Gameplay-wise it is still a turn-based strategy game where the possible actions of the player and NPCs are determined by a deck of cards. These cards can represent everything from rocket launchers to cardboard boxes which you can use as cloak. So the gameplay of part two is more an evolution than a revolution. You can now enter close-quarter combat with an enemy and the whole interface just feels more intuitive by not putting every possible action onto one button, but using all the face buttons.
If you've played the first AC!D, you might remember the somehow strange story involving a research facility somewhere in Africa ... While not really mind-blowing, it was IMO a quite good plot. Not so this time. You learn quite a lot about Snake and what happened right after the first game ended. But everything just doesn't feel right and after the first couple of story sequences I stopped really caring. Not even the characters were as interesting as in the first game. The story is told in still images with speech boxes. While simple, they give the game a quite decent atmosphere.
So while some of the gameplay mechanics are new, the graphics engine was revamped and the story is also at least not totally boring, the bossfights are. I only played it on the Easy mode, but I quite expected at least some trouble. The problem is: If you've played the first game, you will at least know how to fight one the bosses since it's exactly the same (no spoiler here ;-) ). And also the other bosses are way too easy in this mode. Because I'm not really a great gamer or something like this, I normally play every game I get first on the easy level, but I never felt bored ... until AC!D 2 :-(
Metal Gear AC!D 2 looks more like a fanservice than a true evolution of the first game. Too much content is copied between those two and also within the 2nd game. While the gameplay mechanics really make the game entertaining, the strange story and the lack of interesting characters nearly killed it for me.
(This is a repost from my site where I wrote about it in July 2007)