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Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus review

Big Boss is back to recruit a whole new army in this multiplayer-focused expansion

Pros

  • Badass new characters to recruit
  • Cool new multiplayer modes
  • Playing as Old Snake is sweet

Cons

  • Most levels recycled from first game
  • No storyline to speak of
  • Playing Infinity Mission gets boring

Nov 13, 2007

Given that it's been almost a year since the awesome Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops came out, you could be forgiven for thinking that Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus is the expanded edition that seems to follow every MGS release. It's implied right there in the title, after all. In reality, though, Portable Ops Plus is more of a companion to the original; it features the same fully 3D, stealth-action gameplay, but ditches the story mode in favor of a ton of improvements to the game's multiplayer modes. Which isn't a bad thing, so long as you're not looking for the definitive PSP Metal Gear.

In place of a story is the new "Infinity Mission" mode, which puts players through a set number of short, randomly generated missions set in partial levels recycled from the first Portable Ops. Although these still put you in control of four-man "sneaking teams" (which you'll control one at a time, while the rest hide in boxes), most of them just revolve around finding an exit while evading (or killing, or recruiting) guards. A few will require you to take down every enemy in the level, stay alive through a timed alert or try and find the exit while sneaking through a ton of automated traps, but in general they're pretty cut and dry.

The problem with all this is that, while it's fun in short bursts, Infinity Mission gets boring after a while. This is partly because all the sneaking and shooting is really just a means to an end, which is the amassing of cool new characters and interesting junk to equip them with. Like in the first game, your main goal is to build an army, which you can do by knocking out your enemies (ideally with badass Close-Quarters Combat moves) and dragging them over to a waiting truck for re-education. (You could also just kill them, but that's kind of a waste.)

Assuming you already did that a lot in the first Portable Ops, you'll be able to import all your old troops into the new game. And because you probably don't want to give any up, Portable Ops Plus expands your available roster to 200 soldiers, enabling you to start recruiting like crazy regardless of how many you'd collected before. You'll also be able to bolster your private army just by completing missions, which nets everyone experience points and boosts their stats, giving soldiers with puny health and stamina (which is most of them) a chance to toughen up.

Nov 13, 2007

Given that it's been almost a year since the awesome Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops came out, you could be forgiven for thinking that Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus is the expanded edition that seems to follow every MGS release. It's implied right there in the title, after all. In reality, though, Portable Ops Plus is more of a companion to the original; it features the same fully 3D, stealth-action gameplay, but ditches the story mode in favor of a ton of improvements to the game's multiplayer modes. Which isn't a bad thing, so long as you're not looking for the definitive PSP Metal Gear.

In place of a story is the new "Infinity Mission" mode, which puts players through a set number of short, randomly generated missions set in partial levels recycled from the first Portable Ops. Although these still put you in control of four-man "sneaking teams" (which you'll control one at a time, while the rest hide in boxes), most of them just revolve around finding an exit while evading (or killing, or recruiting) guards. A few will require you to take down every enemy in the level, stay alive through a timed alert or try and find the exit while sneaking through a ton of automated traps, but in general they're pretty cut and dry.

The problem with all this is that, while it's fun in short bursts, Infinity Mission gets boring after a while. This is partly because all the sneaking and shooting is really just a means to an end, which is the amassing of cool new characters and interesting junk to equip them with. Like in the first game, your main goal is to build an army, which you can do by knocking out your enemies (ideally with badass Close-Quarters Combat moves) and dragging them over to a waiting truck for re-education. (You could also just kill them, but that's kind of a waste.)

Assuming you already did that a lot in the first Portable Ops, you'll be able to import all your old troops into the new game. And because you probably don't want to give any up, Portable Ops Plus expands your available roster to 200 soldiers, enabling you to start recruiting like crazy regardless of how many you'd collected before. You'll also be able to bolster your private army just by completing missions, which nets everyone experience points and boosts their stats, giving soldiers with puny health and stamina (which is most of them) a chance to toughen up.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionA multiplayer-focused expansion of Portable Ops that delivers endless multiplayer possibilities and random stealth-challenges, but zero story.
Franchise nameMetal Gear
UK franchise nameMetal Gear Solid
PlatformPSP
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating
Alternative namesMGS: Portable Ops Plus, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus
Release date:13 November 2007 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:PSP
Genre:Action

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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