April 16, 2009

iPhone App of the Week: Metal Gear Solid Touch

Kojima Productions and Konami made a big fuss out of the gaming world with a teaser that somehow implied that Metal Gear Solid would be ported to the Xbox 360. Everyone thought wrong when the reveal was made: Metal Gear Solid was getting an "installment" on the iPod touch and iPhone.

So now that it has been released for quite a few months, people have voiced out their critical opinions, and many say that the app just isn't worth the hype, and frankly, it's quite true.

But before I give my reasons, let's run through the way you play it first.

After you select a mission, you get this still image depicting a part of the story. True, it may not have as much impact as say, an animated video, but with the iPhone's bad 3D graphics, this'll do. Pressing "Next" will then give you the story in text, and when you press "Next" yet again, the game loads and finally starts.
Basically, all the objectives of all the missions involve "defeating" (a word we shall be replacing with "killing" from this point on) troopers from various groups in the Metal Gear Solid saga, and it's pretty much just that. Kill this number of troopers, kill this number of soldiers, it goes on and on.
This is the part where you take control of the crosshair. While you will control Snake, you can't control the direction he's gonna run because he's always just going to stay in cover. The movement that happens, happens off-screen, meaning that all that running with Big Boss' body just happen in the text you'll read. So, you just move your finger to move the crosshair then you tap the screen to shoot until the enemy's life gets drained. If you don't shoot them early enough, they'll shoot you back, but they'll only do so when a white meter (which turns red) fills up. However, there are also allies who come into the mix. If you shoot them, you lose a life. In short, it's kinda like Hogan's alley for the NES.
There's not much variety in that, so Konami decided to at least make a bit of an effort to put just that. Some mechanics include:
1) Pinching the screen to activate the sniper which enables you to shoot enemies that are too far for your ordinary gun.
2) Ducks and frogs you have to shoot for life bonuses and bazookas/invinsibility respectively
3) Just one different kind of enemy that is vulnerable to shots in the foot and spine, but they don't appear often.
4) The Drebin Shop lets you buy MGS art using "Drebin Points" you collect from each mission.
Perhaps the Drebin Shop is the only saving grace for the game, but even that thing only caters to Metal Gear Solid fans. I'll bet the diehards are the only ones who'll bother to collect "Drebin Points" to unlock all of the wallpapers, because frankly I've only been able to "buy" the Snake wallpaper, and I don't intend to go any further than that.
In the end, you'll find the rewards of the Drebin Shop to be pretty lame, because you can just collect them off the Internet and call it a day. Hell, to add to the fan service, there's even an "MGS History" which summarizes the stories of all the past Metal Gear Solid games!
So I'm not necessarily recommending this app for iPhone/iPod touch owners, but I'm recommending this for diehard Metal Gear Solid fans. Still, if you've got nothing to do, this game is pretty playable, and you don't need to read the story parts to play this, as the story doesn't lend to much in this decidedly action-oriented game. It's only pretty good, and the game doesn't really go beyond "pretty good". In fact, it dangles in between the line of "pretty good" and "really lame".

Rating: 6.5/10

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