Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel

Ever since the series hit the big time in 1998, we've gotten used to multi-year waits between Metal Gear games. But thanks to the PSP, the series is blowing up. Between the two strategic Metal Gear Acid games, and the upcoming Snake Eater sequel Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, there's already plenty to choose from.

But you don't want to forget about Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel. It tells the story of the original Metal Gear Solid through stunning, traditional artwork. Perhaps even better, it offers up a ton of background info to help you understand it completely.

A couple of years ago, comic books retelling the story of Metal Gear Solid were released. But, let's face it, not everyone who plays games reads comics. The idea of the Digital Graphic Novel, then, is to take that pre-existing 2D comic artwork, spice it up with 3D graphic techniques, and give it to PSP gamers hungry for more Metal Gear. The only reason it doesn't smack of cheap profiteering is that they've done such a damn good job with it, from what we've seen so far.

Many scenes have been expanded with full 3D graphics and motion. The original comic artwork is then cut up and put on these objects. This retains its essential looks while offering more depth and cinematic flair. You can watch the comic play out automatically, or move forward at your own pace with a push of the button. This isn't a simple recreation of a page-turner.

But, as cool as the comic looks in motion - so cool that they've adopted the visual style for cutscenes in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops - this isn't something you'll just quickly read and be done with. As you page through the comic, you can pause and scan the scenes for objects and people important to the MGS story.

It's almost like a sniper scope - and very similar to the scanners in Metroid Prime or the new Tomb Raider. Once you zoom in and capture some data, it's added to the game's data banks. You can then accessthat database and the information it contains - mostly images with some descriptive text attached -at any time by hitting the triangle button.