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Metal Gear Acid 2

By turning the sneaking action of Metal Gear Solid into a card-based strategy game, Metal Gear Acid instantly became the most divisive title on the PSP. Its strategy approach was interesting, sure, but even those who ended up enjoying its odd new direction often got frustrated with the slow pace, endless text tutorials and conspicuous lack of neck-snapping.

Strategy-haters probably won't be much happier with Metal Gear Acid 2 when it hits on March 28. But thanks to a few sweeping changes, the game is simpler, more visually appealing and faster-paced than the original. A side story unconnected to the Metal Gear Solid canon, Acid 2 features a version of Solid Snake who fights as a mercenary and wears what appears to be a puffy shirt under his body armor.

This time around, the superspy has lost his memory and has been pressed into service by the FBI to infiltrate a defense contractor's facility. Joining him is Venus, a femme fatale who takes over for Acid's Teliko as the second playable character. Story aside, Acid 2 is still a turn-based strategy title, and you'll still need to collect and expend "cards" to move, shoot things or use gadgets. However, the whole experience has been reworked and streamlined to the point where it almost resembles Metal Gear Solid.

Well, maybe not quite. The art style certainly doesn't resembleSolid, as the game shoots off in its own direction with a surprisingly cartoony look. It might seem out of place for a Metal Gear, but the comic-book-style graphics look great and make the game feel more frenetic than it actually is. And with the included Solid Eye peripheral (a fold-up box made of flexible plastic that fits over the PSP's screen), you can see it all in true 3D. It's a pretty cool effect, and while it sacrifices the widescreen to create two slightly different images (divided by the Solid Eye), it's much more convincing than those old red-and-blue glasses. Konami doesn't let it go to waste, either, throwing in unlockable 3D bonuses like cinematics from Metal Gear Solid 3 and a few cheesecake videos courtesy of Japanese lad mag Sabra.

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