Metal Gear Acid
As a game player, I'm always on the look out for a game that moves into a new area of gameplay, or grows past the limits of its own genre. Such a game is Metal Gear Acid, one of the new launch titles for the PSP, which presents, for the first time, the adventures of Solid Snake as a tactical stealth card game. That's right, a card game. While on the surface this looks like your copy of Metal Gear Solid, under the hood it's anything but. Rendered with similar quality to the console version Metal Gear titles, you control Snake in a 3/4 view environment that's laid out in a grid. You move through this grid, and use your cards to do anything from shoot an opponent to donning a box or even calling on the cyborg ninja for help in a pinch. It's strange, and takes some getting used to, but is well worth it. Try it and find out.
Reborn on the PSP, Snake has been dispatched to a small research facility to stop a band of terrorists. Well, they aren't quite terrorists, but you'll find out more later. Armed with a deck of cards that represent your movement and actions, you've got to stop them single handedly, a familiar element in these games. Metal Gear Acid's card game is complex and easy to learn. It's also powerful and something you can learn more about each time you play. The most interesting features I found were the cost system, which determines the relative order of actions in the game, and the equipment bonuses, which can vary depending on how you equip each item in relation to another item. About the cost system, you'll use a card and it adds to your cost, which roughly put, is an initiative order system. The higher your cost, the later in the round you go. This adds a strong strategic element to the game. Last, after a few levels of the single player game, you'll unlock multiplayer, which lets you play wirelessly with any friend playing Metal Gear Acid on their PSP.
Graphically, the game looks amazing. Although I'm not reviewing the PSP here, I've got to say, it's amazing what something as small as the PSP can do. You don't really know how pretty it looks until it is in your hands. The only real knock against Metal Gear Acid that I can make is the audio. There's no recorded dialogue, likely because you can only fit so much on the 1.8gig UMD format that Sony chose for the PSP titles. That aside, it's a pretty enjoyable game, and if you purchase one game for the PSP, you won't go wrong with Metal Gear Acid.