Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
|Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops|
|Designer(s)||Masahiro Yamamoto (director)
Noriaki Okamura (producer)
Gakuto Mikumo (writer)
|Release date(s)||NA December 5, 2006
|Mode(s)||Single-player, online multiplayer|
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Japanese: メタルギアソリッド ポータブルオプス Hepburn: Metaru Gia Soriddo Pōtaburu Opusu?, officially abbreviated to MPO) is an action-adventure stealth game directed by Masahiro Yamamoto and written by Gakuto Mikumo, with series creator Hideo Kojima acting as a producer. Portable Ops was developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable. It is the fourth Metal Gear title for the PSP and the first one to retain the series' action-based play mechanics.
It is the first canonical outing of the Metal Gear Solid series for a portable platform, following the storyline of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Set in 1970 in South America, six years after the events of Snake Eater, the game follows the exploits of Naked Snake after his former unit, FOX, goes renegade. The game also chronicles the eventual founding of FOXHOUND and The Patriots, as well as the inspiration of the military state Outer Heaven.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops has received highly positive critical reception from critics, and is often viewed as one of the best games released for the PlayStation Portable;  it was praised for its visuals, usage of Metal Gear elements and story, while criticism was directed at the game's control scheme.
Unlike the previous titles on PSP, Metal Gear Acid and Metal Gear Acid 2, which were turn-based tactical games with stealth elements, MPO retains the action-based gameplay from the console iterations, drawing heavily from Snake Eater and utilizing the camera system from Subsistence.
The main addition to MPO is the Comrade System. Instead of the solo missions of previous Metal Gear Solid games, MPO goes for a squad-based approach, with Snake having to recruit allies and form a team of trained specialists. Before each mission, the player must compose a four-man squad. The squad is then sent into battle. Each member of Snake's squad has his own strengths and weaknesses. While some units are best utilized on the battlefield, others may specialize in producing items, healing allies, or providing intel for each of the game's maps.
During gameplay, the player controls only one squad member at a time. The squad members not in use hide themselves inside a cardboard box, and can be swapped into play when the player-controlled character finds a hiding spot, where he can hide in his own cardboard box.
Characters who are killed in combat are eliminated from the player's squad permanently, unless they are "unique characters", such as Snake. Unique characters also include team mates that are bosses or supporting characters in the story. If a special character's health is reduced to zero, they are sent to the infirmary, in order to recover. The player can also abort the mission.
A variety of methods can be employed to expand one's squad. If an enemy character is tranquilized or stunned, they can be dragged to a waiting vehicle and captured. After a period of game time, the captured soldier will become a member of Snake's team. Also, enemy characters can be dragged to an ally waiting in a cardboard box, where, through the use of a transceiver frequency, or by giving the cardboard box a "nudge", they will be ordered to transport the enemy for the player, saving stamina. Alternatively, by accessing the PSP in certain hotspots using the system's Wi-Fi feature, soldiers and even special bonus characters can be recruited. The PSP GPS Receiver can also be used to similar effect. Because some of the player's recruits include former enemy soldiers or personnel, they can walk among the enemy undetected as long as the player avoids suspicious actions.
Another new feature is the surround indicator added to the game's HUD. Similar to the radar in previous titles, the surround indicator allows players to determine the relative proximity of enemy soldiers by the noises they make. The surround indicator is composed of two circles; the outer circle displays the noises made by enemies and inner circle displays noises made by the player himself.
The game also contains a Wi-Fi-enabled multiplayer mode, which is an expansion of the Metal Gear Online mode previously featured in Subsistence. One's performance in the Online Mode may affect his performance in the single player campaign; the player can recruit and trade soldiers from beaten opponents, or vice-versa. Additionally, certain multiplayer options result in recruits being removed from the one's single player roster permanently. In contrast to the console games in the series, the cutscenes that drive the story are not rendered using the usual in-game engine. Instead, they are presented using an animated comic style consisting of hand-drawn artwork by artist Ashley Wood. This style was previously utilized in Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel. The game also features voice acting, consisting of returning cast members from Snake Eater and new actors. However, the number of cutscenes and in-game voiced sections are minimal, due to the PSP's UMD storage capacity constraints.
|Metal Gear series
Portable Ops takes place in 1970, six years after Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It follows the soldier Naked Snake (Akio Ōtsuka, David Hayter) who is forced to fight off his former unit, FOX, after they instigate a revolt in a South American base. In his fight he meets Roy Campbell (Toshio Furukawa, David Agranov), a surviving member of the Green Berets team that was sent to investigate the affair. Snake's former teammates including his commanding officer Major Zero (Banjō Ginga, Jim Piddock), Para-Medic (Houko Kuwashima, Heather Halley) and Sigint (Keiji Fujiwara, James C. Mathis III) return as the support crew as they are suspected for treason alongside Snake.
The main antagonist is Gene (Norio Wakamoto, Steve Blum), the leader of the FOX unit who seeks to establish his own military nation. He is a product of the Successor Project that aimed to artificially create the perfect commander. He is assisted by Lt. Cunningham (Daisuke Gōri, Noah Nelson), an expert in interrogation techniques. (who is later revealed to be a double agent of the Pentagon sent to tarnish the CIA's reputation) Gene also has an adoptive daughter named Elisa (Saori Goto, Tara Strong) who is gifted with extraordinary psychic abilities, implied to be the result of exposure to nuclear fallout during the Kyshtym disaster. Elisa suffers from dissociative identity disorder and has a developed a second personality called Ursula', whose psychic abilities are stronger than her "Elisa" personality. As "Ursula", she works as a member of FOX, while her "Elisa" personality is a medic who takes care of Null and an informant for Snake. Snake meets Elisa, who initially tells Snake that she and Ursula are twin sisters, only to later learn the truth. Two FOX members previously associated with Snake include Null (Jun Fukuyama, Larc Spies), a teenage assassin trained to be the perfect soldier. and Python (Yusaku Yara, Dwight Schultz), a former war buddy of Snake who was previously presumed dead during the Vietnam War.
Other appearing characters include Ghost (Naoki Tatsuta, Brian Cummings), an informant who comes into contact with Snake, revealing the existence of ICBMG, the new Metal Gear prototype, Ocelot (Takumi Yamazaki, Josh Keaton), a former Spetsnaz Major who assists Gene from behind-the-scenes, EVA, a spy for the PLA who assisted Snake in Snake Eater and Raikov (Ken'yū Horiuchi, Charlie Schlatter), a GRU Major, Teliko Friedman (Yūko Nagashima, Kari Wahlgren), the heroine from Metal Gear Acid, who appears as a hidden character.
In 1970, six years after the events of Snake Eater, Naked Snake's former team, FOX unit, has broken their allegiance with the CIA and gone rogue. Snake himself is also targeted by the FOX unit, which sent renegade FOX unit soldiers to attack and capture him. The game begins with Snake being tortured and interrogated by one of the members of FOX, Lieutenant Cunningham, who is trying to locate the whereabouts of the missing half of the Philosopher's Legacy, with the United States Government having already acquired the other half of the Legacy from the Soviet Union at the conclusion of Snake Eater. Snake is imprisoned in a cell next to Roy Campbell, the sole survivor of an American Green Beret team sent in to investigate the base. Snake learns through Roy that they are on the San Hieronymo Peninsula (a Russian transliteration of "San Jerónimo Peninsula") or "La Península de los Muertos", the site of an abandoned Soviet missile silo in Colombia.
The two escape and Snake makes his way to a communications base, where he attempts to contact his old CO, Major Zero. Instead, he is greeted by his old FOX comrades Para-Medic and Sigint, who reveal that Snake and Zero are being charged for treason and that the only way for Snake to be exonerated from the charges is to find and apprehend the leader of the rebellion, Gene. To complicate matters, Gene has also convinced most of the Russian soldiers stationed at the base to join their side by simply taking over the chain of command belonging to a former Red Army unit, which was secretly stationed inside the Colombian territory. In order to complete his mission, Snake must persuade enemy soldiers to join his ranks due to the scale of his mission.
Snake and his squad defeat the top members of the FOX unit and eventually they make their way into Gene's guesthouse. Snake learns many things on his way. Cunningham was working for the Pentagon and wanted Snake to push Gene into launching a nuke at Russia to tarnish the CIA's reputation and to prolong the Cold War. Gene was actually aware of this plan from the beginning due to information from Ocelot. Gene really wanted to launch a nuke at America to destroy the Philosophers and to make his nation of soldiers, "Army's Heaven". Snake destroys an experimental model of the ICBMG (the Metal Gear model) codenamed RAXA and eventually defeats Gene, destroying the finished ICBMG model afterward. After Gene is defeated he gives Snake the funds, equipment, personnel, and all other information regarding "Army's Heaven". On his return home, Snake is awarded for his actions, he then establishes FOXHOUND afterwards. Elsewhere, Ocelot kills the DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) and takes documents containing the identities of the Philosophers in an effort to "end them".
In the post-credits epilogue, Ocelot speaks with an unknown man on the phone, they are plotting to use the Legacy to fulfill their own agenda. Ocelot actually wanted the trajectory data of the nuke to point to the DCI, in order to black mail the DCI into giving Ocelot the documents containing the true identities of the Philosophers. Ocelot agrees to join his new employer's project under the condition that Snake/Big Boss participates as well.
The game was conceptualized when the Kojima Productions staff decided to make the first Metal Gear Solid chapter rather than another spin-off for the PlayStation Portable. Hideo Kojima had the idea of the player being able to recruit comrades with the Wi-Fi play. As a result, the game was specifically designed for the hand-held console rather than the main platform. Most of the staff had previously worked in the spin-off Metal Gear Acid 2 making Portable Ops their first time doing a main installment. Their biggest challenge was adapting the gameplay from the previous games to Portable Ops as the PlayStation Portable lacked a right analog. Since players cannot spin the camera with the PlayStation Portable the game was added a sound indicator system that helps them to see where there are enemies. Impressed with Ashley Wood's work in Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel the studio asked his collaboration to illustrate the events accompanied with voice-overs from the story replacing the typical use of cutscenes previously used.
Versions and re-releases
The game was first released in North America on December 5, 2006. In Japan, it was released two weeks later, on December 21, in two limited edition packages, with both of them sharing most of its unique bonus content, such as a special camouflage for the PlayStation Portable, as well as a set of three original lapel pins.
In Europe, the game was set to be released in April, yet it was delayed for a month. In the United Kingdom, the game could only be released on May 25, 2007, after it was revealed that the required BBFC rating was missing, forcing retailers to send back their stocks. The added features for the European release included new maps for the single-player campaign and multiplayer mode, characters, missions, player careers, as well as a new "Boss Rush" mode.
On November 1, 2009, the game was released on the PlayStation Network for download on the PSP in all three regions.
Portable Ops Plus
On July 17, 2007, Konami announced Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus (officially abbreviated MPO+), a stand-alone expansion of the original MPO, focused on online play. Among its new features, the expansion includes new generic and unique character types from other MGS titles, as well new missions, tutorials for beginners, and a new single-player mode called Infinity Mission.
In Japan, MPO+ was released on September 20, 2007 in two formats: MPO+ on its own and as a deluxe package that includes the original MPO with MPO+. It was later released in North America on November 13, 2007 and in Europe version on March 28, 2008. A digital copy was released on the PlayStation Store in 2009.
The ending theme ("Calling To The Night") was composed by Akihiro Honda and arranged by Norihiko Hibino and Akihiro Honda, with vocals by Natasha Farrow and lyrics by Nobuko Toda. "Calling to the Night" was later featured in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as an iPod track, and Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Brawl as one of the songs played on the Shadow Moses Island stage. Recently the song was adopted in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker as a playable in-game track via the Walkman tool.
The soundtrack was first released in Japan on December 20, 2006.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops received critical acclaim. At GameRankings, the game scored an average of 87.3% based on 43 reviews. IGN and GameSpot in particular both awarded the game 9 out of 10.
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- Roy Campbell: Right. But as you can see, they had already completed part of the facility. We were sent in to investigate what was going on. Before we could do that, they ambushed us. // Naked Snake: "They?" // Roy Campbell: The FOX Unit. My team was wiped out in the blink of an eye. I fear I'm the only survivor. (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Gene: (...) My goal of building a new nation of mercenaries with only the most capable soldiers is real. (...) (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Gene: (...) I was created for that purpose. // Naked Snake: Created? // Gene: Have you heard of the Successor Project? // Naked Snake: ... No. // Gene: It was a top-secret experiment conducted by the U.S. government. Its goal: To create the ultimate battlefield commander. (...) (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Cunningham: My name is Lt. Cunningham. Until four weeks ago, I was with the CIA. // Naked Snake: Cunningham? FOX Unit's interrogation specialist? // Cunningham: Ah, so you have heard of me. I'm honored, Snake (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Cunningham: All right, then, Snake, I'll explain it to you. I don't answer to Gene.
Naked Snake: What?
Cunningham: The CIA may control FOX, but I don't answer to them, either. My employer is the U.S. Department of Defense.
Naked Snake: What do you mean?
Cunningham: Everything you've seen so far -- Surely you know that the CIA and the Pentagon aren't on the best of terms?
Naked Snake: You're talking about a fight over budget?
Cunningham: No, not that. The Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961... The covert ops in North Vietnam - the influence of the CIA in America's military affairs grows with each passing year. The Pentagon brass started to feel threatened. And then they found out about the Metal Gear project. They enlisted Gene, FOX Unit's commanding officer, and had him steal it before it could be handed over to the Russians. What do you think would happen if Gene were to launch Metal Gear into the Soviet Union? The CIA'd lose face, and the military's influence would immediately start to soar. (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Naked Snake: It's... it's not like that... When I saw you at the heliport with Cunningham and the others... // Elisa: That... was my sister. // Naked Snake: Sister? // Elisa: Her name is Ursula. She's the one who's a member of FOX. I'm just a medic. (...) Ursula and I were raised in an East German lab. They sent all the kids with ESP potential there to study them. My powers are pretty weak. But Ursula is different. She's one of the most powerful psychics in all the Communist world. (...) (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Naked Snake: So this is what you were calling the Perfect Soldier? Does he have ESP too? // Elisa: No, he's just an ordinary human being. That is, he used to be... He was raised in a special way, under very special conditions: To be a great warrior. He's incapable of emotions or doubts. He's the ultimate combatant, created with one purpose only: To accomplish the mission. He has no human memories. The only things he has left are his skills in battle. (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Naked Snake: Python... So you were alive all this time. (...) // Python: (...) How long has it been since our last mission together? Nearly ten years? We were both so very young back then. // Naked Snake: Yeah... When The Boss vanished... and I didn't know what the hell I was doing... you were there to save me. (...) But I thought you were dead. You were wounded on that top-secret mission in Vietnam. (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) Kojima Productions, 2006
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Konami. "Cunningham: Simply apply the right type of pain, to the right degree, at just the right location. It's always been my policy for persuasion, and I've found it to be quite effective. The CIA only recovered half of the Legacy from the Soviets after Operation Snake Eater. And you know where the other half went. / Naked Snake: The CIA...only got half? / Cunningham: You can drop the act. You defeated The Boss and returned alive, so you must know where the other half of the Legacy is. And now...you're gonna tell me, Snake. / Naked Snake: Don't have a clue. / Cunningham: That's too bad. Because I'd hate to have to continue persuading you like this, "comrade.""
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Konami. "Campbell: Right. But as you can see, they'd already completed part of the facility. We were sent in to investigate what was going on. Before we could do that, they ambushed us. / Naked Snake: "They"? / Campbell: The FOX Unit. My team was wiped out in the blink of an eye. I fear I'm the only survivor. / Naked Snake: What's the FOX Unit doing in a Soviet base? / Campbell: Not a clue. I'd have expected you to know more about it than me."
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Konami. "Gene: The equipment, personnel, and funds I amassed in secret to build Army's Heaven. All the data is stored on that film. No one else knows about it. / Naked Snake: Why are you giving me this? / Gene: Because you and I are the same. Some day, you'll be glad you have it... The one who fights and survives must carry on the legacy. Such is our fate. Go, Snake. I've said everything I need to. You are the one who will inherit my genes. You are the true successor. Be loyal to yourself... Go forth. And find your own calling."
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Konami. "DCI: What the hell are you doing?! You're not planning to betray the Philosophers, are you? / Ocelot: Betray? No, I'm not going to betray them. I'm going to end them! Then we'll take back what you stole from us. We will carry on the spirit of the true patriot. / DCI: The true patriot? / Ocelot: It's all part of our plan to make the world she envisioned a reality. And so I've come for the other half... of the Legacy!"
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Konami. "Ocelot: Yes, the DCI's death should pass as suicide. They'll claim he did it because he felt responsible for the theft of Metal Gear. We can look forward to a major shake-up on the seventh floor at Langley shortly. It looks as if everything is going exactly the way you wanted it. When the DCI saw the trajectory data you supplied and found out that he was the target of the nuclear strike, he brought the Philosophers' documents right to me. Yes, we should have known Gene was serious about launching those nukes... Seems our insurance policy came in handy after all. He did quite well... And now I've got the Legacy. Is that all part of your script, too? Using him and the FOX Unit like that... Only you could have pulled it off. But... You won't be using me anymore ...Battle data... ...from the Perfect Soldier? Genes... genome... I see... Intriguing... I'll help you with the project. But on one condition... I want him to join us. Yes, Big Boss... So that we can become the Patriots."
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- Official MPO website
- Official MPO+ website
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops at DMOZ
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus at DMOZ