‘God exists. He’s Japanese and his name is Hideo Kojima’. These were my exact thoughts when I finished playing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. With the release of MGS4, Hideo Kojima had not only set a new benchmark in gaming, but had left a craving in the minds of gamers, who were mesmerised by its brilliance. From the gorgeous cut-scenes, to the story and characters, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a game every gamer needs to play.
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‘War has changed’, said Snake and, with the release of Metal Gear Solid: Touch on Apple’s iPhone/iPod Touch, the platform has changed too this time around. MGS: Touch lets every casual gamer experience the world of Metal Gear Solid on their handheld device. Doing this was not easy, especially on a platform that boasts no buttons and relies solely on a touch screen for inputs. Unfortunately for hardcore gamers, who have high expectations from any Metal Gear Solid game, this experience will be a bit of a let down.
[singlepic id=1190 w=250 float=left]If you’re still wondering what exactly MGS: Touch is all about, in a nutshell, it is MGS4. It is not an alternate story surrounding Snake or a new one altogether. But while Snake is back, the experience is a bit different this time. For starters, Metal Gear Solid: Touch is not a stealth-based action game, but is in fact a shooter. The reason for this is that it would be easier to play it while travelling. While this may ruin it for some, it makes sense, especially for a handheld which is carried around everywhere.
The entire game has been split into five acts, with missions in each of them. The ‘Special’ menu option includes the entire back-story of the Metal Gear Solid series. So even if you’re playing an MGS game for the first time, you don’t have to worry about the complexity of the back-story and can easily dive into the game with ease. Everyone who’s played MGS4 will be familiar with ‘Drebin’s Shop’, but it’s a little different here. Instead of selling guns and other items, players can use Drebin Points (DP) to unlock new items like wallpapers and art work for their device.
The story is expressed in text format over still images instead of video. The game can be broadly described as easy and interesting, yet disappointing in a way, because it’s in 2D, rather than 3D. Finger taps are used for shooting. Enemies approach from all sides and once you’ve selected an enemy to target, you’ll need to tap the screen continuously to keep shooting. Pinching the screen will bring up the scope, allowing you to snipe the enemy, killing him with a single shot. You also get some grace time before the enemy starts shooting.
[singlepic id=1192 w=250 float=right]Expect enemies to be of all shapes and sizes including regular soldiers, Gekkos, choppers and familiar bosses from MGS4. The gameplay is unique in a way and is represented well keeping the platform in mind. In the beginning of every mission, a goal is laid down; this can vary from killing ten soldiers to taking down two choppers. Once this has been done, the mission ends, showing statistics like gameplay time, score, Drebin Points earned etc. When all the levels are completed, a survival mode is unlocked, which is a nice addition.
Anyone who has played Metal Gear Solid games would recall the brilliant OST that accompanies each of them. Music is an important aspect in any game because it helps the player to get into the mood to play the game. Try imagining playing Metal Gear Solid 4 without the music; that’s what you get with Metal Gear Solid: Touch. As mentioned above, the graphics are disappointing and can’t even be compared with Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops on the PSP. While it’s clear that the handheld lacks physical buttons, one can’t help but compare this with other games from publishers who have done much more innovative work with the touch screen.
To conclude, it is indeed nice to see such a game on a platform like iPhone/iPod Touch. But while the game is packed with lots of extra content and has good replay value, the gameplay itself is repetitive. Hardcore Metal Gear Solid fans should simply avoid this as it strays quite a bit from the MGS experience. For casual gamers, who’ve always wanted to know what Metal Gear Solid was all about, but either never owned the console or were intimidated by it, should definitely try this game and use it as motivation to play the real Metal Gear Solid games. Is it worth paying $8 for this game? Probably not, and it isn’t even available on the iTunes India Store.
(+) Includes complete back-story of Metal Gear Solid
(+) Lots of extras to unlock from Drebin Store
(+) Good replay value
(+) Easy controls
(-) Very short; barely lasts for an hour
(-) Lack of cut scenes
(-) Signature MGS music missing
Title: Metal Gear Solid: Touch
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch