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Metal Gear Ac!d 2
Score: 88%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Media: UMD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Strategy/ Card Games/ Turn-Based Strategy

Graphics & Sound:
Metal Gear Ac!d 2 does away with the series' drab, military look for one that is brighter and cel-shaded. It is a move that is sure to tick off a few of the series' more hardcore supporters (“OMG!! Snake is the kiddie!!”), but it actually makes sense -- if only in a philosophical, artsy way. The Ac!d series’ gameplay is different than other games in the series, so why shouldn’t it look different?

Whether you like the cel-shaded looks or not, Ac!d 2 is still a great-looking game. The series' art style is still well represented; things may be brighter, but they’re still recognizable.

The visuals may look a bit like a cartoon, but the sound doesn’t sound like one. Music takes the same tone as other games in the series. Outside that, things are neither good nor bad and just sort of there.

While the series is significantly different in play style from other Metal Gear games, it still holds on to many of the series' hallmarks. Story is still central to the game. After returning from a mission overseas, Snake is seized by the FBI and forced to go on a mission in order to regain his freedom. He is transported to a military complex and given orders to obtain information on a weapons system. Once in the base, the game evolves much like any other game in the series, though not as tripped out as the first’s "dolls taking over airplanes" plot.

Story goes hand-in-hand with game play. It is faster paced and easier to understand. Mission goals aren’t as convoluted as the first game and are always kept at the forefront. Because of this, Ac!d 2 is a little more player-friendly. It is not enough to make the game accessible to everyone, but it just might snag a few hardcore Metal Gear players who are intrigued enough to give the Ac!d 2 a shot.

Matches are turn-based and take place on a grid. Each character is allowed a set number of actions per turn with cards making up the actions you can take. Most matches require you to simply clear a map, while others feature some sort of twist. How you complete each mission is up to you and your deck build. You can always try the “kill everyone” approach, though this usually brings in backup guards. The stealth approach is also valid, though this method requires a little more thought and patience. Either way, you are in for a challenging experience.

Missions can be replayed with new objectives, offering an opportunity to improve your skills and deck before tackling a tough mission.

Difficulty really comes down to how well you put together your deck. Early on, you won’t have as many options, so matches seem hard. Once you’ve got a handle on deck building and upgrading cards, things become much easier. The bigger challenge is how well you adapt to the always-changing randomness of card games. No two situations will ever be exactly the same.

Game Mechanics:
The deck building and card mechanics aren’t much different from the first game. You collect cards and build a deck with them. This deck is your main arsenal during levels. There are over 500 cards available in the game, and include characters, items, weapons, traps, movement and healing. New to the series are linked cards, which activate automatically once an event takes place. Also new is the ability to “level up” cards, altering the card’s ability (and in turn, your deck). Cards can be leveled up by spending points which are earned by clearing stages. Points can also be used to purchase booster packs between levels, giving you more cards.

During matches, you have control of two characters, Snake and a new character, Venus. Each character has their own deck that can be customized any way you want. You’ll generally want to design each character’s deck to allow them to function independently of one another, though there were a few times that I managed to sneak in a few useful combos between the two. Of course, building your deck around a certain combo isn’t the best option; the odds aren’t in your favor. Like cards, characters can also level up, increasing their health and the number of cards in their deck.

Though it does make a few slight improvements, Metal Gear Ac!d 2 doesn’t alter the first’s formula in any drastic ways. At its core, it is still a turn-based card game with a few minor tweaks to make it more accessible to more players. Still, if you didn’t find the first all that appealing, you will probably want to pass on Metal Gear Ac!d 2 as well. If you liked the first, you’ll like the sequel.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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