I first got Metal Gear Acid (MG:A) as something to pass the time during those long commutes to and from work, thinking I'd have it completed in a month or two. Boy was I wrong. MG:A is definitaly different from the rest of the series, but still contains all the essentials from previous games. The plot that takes place over a few hours, a revelation or two, and of course the infamous Metal Gear itself.
The gameplay is wildly different from that of the previous games. MG:A is a turn-based role-play much favoured by FFX and FFVII and incorporated into the MG series in a different if frustrating way.
MG:A uses a card system, that the player uses to make Snake move, shoot, kick and plant explosives. Tactics, intuition and a good sense of judgement are needed to play this game, and of course luck.
Although slow and sometimes infuriating, MG:A's card based system actually works pretty well here. The only problem being getting the right card at the right time. Randomness reigns supreme, and reign it does. These cards, and the decks they come from can be used to move Snake but at a cost to the player and this affects when Snake's next turn will be. Different cards have different costs and all of them can be used for their namesake i.e. grenade, to blow the enemy up. Chaff grenades to confuse cameras etc. Each time you start a level, you also start with the cards that you have chosen yourself, but shuffled so you're never guaranteed the card you actually want/need.
The levels, though deceptively simple can be excruiatingly long and you may end up restarting levels more than twice (I lay the blame on the randomness).
As always, you are the man of the hour Snake and sneaking in is what you do best, so sneak away. But it's not that easy. The A.I. though predictable, and dumb as always will call for backup and shoot at you if they can. There is still the three stages of alert, and hiding from the enemy when found is a lot more difficult to achieve here in the world of MG:A.
Tutorials, are dotted along the course of the game and so leaving you with no real need to read the instruction manual, the buttons are simple and the commands easy to follow. You are able to gain a birdseye-view of the layout of each level which helps enormously with your tactical planning. Commanding Snake (and later Teliko) also is a simple and easy thing to accomplish.
There is also the added bonus of a side menu, which allows you to command Snake to knock on walls to divert the enemy's attention, crawl around for a bit, or if you simply want to abort the mission you are on and return to the briefing menu to perfect your deck and/or purchase some extra cards, but again when buying your cards there is that niggling randomness factor which you will find exhasperating to sat the least, will you get good cards or silly little crappy ones? Who knows.
Apart from the randomness or your shuffled deck the game is in itself engrossing.
Another good point to add to MG:A is an opportunity to return to levels you have completed and take on an extra mission if you don't feel like doing the storyline just yet. These extra missions vary, from getting from point A to point B without being sighted to completing a mission without a kill, very difficult but rewarding.
Metal Gear Acid has a very long life and depending on your patience, is a good way of making the old grey matter work. Most missions are as they come, get from A to B without too much hassle, others require more patience and thinking and essentially a lot of planning and editing of your pack.
The game revolves mainly on the players ability to use the cards given to them wisely and although this may seem impossible at certain points there is always a way.
As with all games in the MG series the plot is focused once again on our man Snake and that Metal Gear rears its ugly head once more in his direction. Nothing has changed in the world of Metal Gear concerning the plot. It is still, focused in just a few hours as Snake unravels a mystery and exposes a truth at every turn. But wait! There are no voice overs, Snake doesn't have a voice! No one does! It's just line after line after painful line of dialogue, so time consuming that you start to wonder if you're playing a game or watching a silent movie. You can easily lose interest after about ten minutes of banter between Snake and the other characters he comes across. However, hope is in sight you can press the start button and skip all that, Great! Now, onward with the adventure! Failing that, there is still the network battles and a lovely surprise if you have MG3.
On the whole, MG:A would only appeal to someone who has bags of patience and a lot of time on their hands. Some of the more diehard MG fans may want to give MG:A a miss. But there may be a few of you out there that may want to try something new from the Hideo Kojima stable.
Metal Gear Acid is worth a try. It an addictive and enigmatic game, if a little frustrating and at times extremely annoying. I still enjoy it.